Cycling and the Law
Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles using the road. These responsibilities are defined under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
HelmetsIt's the law in Ontario for cyclists under the age of eighteen to wear an approved bicycle helmet (HTA 104).
Bell or Horn
A bicycle must have a bell or a horn. It should be used as a warning and also as a courtesy to alert pedestrians or other road and trail users of your approach (HTA 75).
Cyclists must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. A cyclist is not permitted to ride a bike in a pedestrian crosswalk or crossover, he or she must walk across with the bike (HTA 140 and 144).
Traffic Lights and Signs
A cyclist must stop for red lights (HTA 144) and stop signs (HTA 136) and obey other road signs. Make eye contact with the driver before proceeding to cross a street.
A bicycle must have at least one brake system on the rear wheel. When these brakes are applied, the bike should skid on dry, level pavement (HTA S.64 (3)).
No passengers are allowed on a bicycle designed for one person (HTA 178).
You must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflective on your bike if you ride ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise or anytime visibility has been reduced (HTA62).
A cyclist must only ride in the designated direction on one-way streets (HTA 153).
A cyclist must identify himself or herself when stopped by the police for breaking any traffic laws and must give his or her correct name and address (HTA 218).
Failure to follow these rules of the road significantly increases the likelihood of injury or death to yourself or others.
For more information, check out the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s safe cycling information (e.g. bicycle rules, safety tips, license and registration, etc.) at www.ontario.ca/safecycling.
The Ministry of Transportation has recently updated information about sharing the road with other road users, which is available in the Ontario Driver’s Manual at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section2.3.2.shtml.
Last modified on: February 23, 2018