Summer is finally here! With the arrival of warm weather, many find cycling an irresistible form of leisure, exercise and transportation around the city. However, it is extremely important to be mindful of where you ride your bike and the consequences of not obeying the laws.
The Highway Traffic Act (HTA), defines a bicycle as a vehicle that operates on the road, which means cyclists must use the roads with motor vehicles instead of the sidewalk. However, riders aged 13 or younger are allowed to ride on the sidewalk. While this rule is not listed in the HTA, it is a Toronto by-law and there is a fine of $60 if you are older than 13 and are caught riding your bike on the sidewalk.
It is important to keep in mind that there are certain roadways where cyclists are not allowed to ride. According to the HTA, a person is not allowed to ride their bike on provincially controlled access highways such as the 400 series Highways, the QEW, the Ottawa Queensway, the Kitchener-Waterloo Expressway and any roads that have `No Bicycle` signs posted. You could be looking at an $85 fine for doing so.
If you find yourself riding on a shared path with pedestrians, always be sure to ride at a slow speed and use your horn or bell to alert pedestrians if you are passing them from behind. Keep in mind, there is an $85 fine from the HTA for not having a horn or bell on your bike. Additionally, when intersecting with pedestrians on shared paths, always give pedestrians the right of way. Under the HTA, you could be faced with a $150 fine if you fail to do so.
Driveways and laneways are another area that requires riders to be alert and ready to respond to drivers and their vehicles. Err on the side of caution, as it is possible that the drivers are not being cautious when backing out of their driveway or making a turn from a laneway.
When riding on the street, always remember to keep a distance of 1 meter between yourself and the curb or parked cars. Maintaining this distance is recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, but is not officially a legal requirement for cyclists.
In addition, it is also important to remember when riding on the street to always travel in a straight line on the road so that drivers are able to predict your movements more accurately. Cyclists should behave as diligently as drivers in obeying all the traffic signs and bicycle control signs.
Finally, NEVER ride your bike across a crosswalk. There is an $85 fine under the HTA for doing so. Bikes MUST be walked across crosswalks.
Ride safe this summer!
For more comprehensive information on bicycle safety please visit:
Singer Kwinter will be contributing a few posts to BikingToronto over the next month in honour of Brain Injury Awareness Month.