Community Action

Cycling Safety in Ontario.

Whether on two wheels or four, you can help drive road safety.

We're all trying to get to places safely. As more and more Ontarians rely on both cars and bikes to get around, we need to do our part to share the road.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act considers bicycles to be vehicles. That means cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. In June 2015, changes were made to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act that affect how drivers and cyclists must share the road safely.

By law, the changes require proper lights/reflectors on bicycles, and drivers must leave a one-metre distance when passing a cyclist. Also, fines and penalties for “dooring” convictions have increased to a minimum of $300 and three demerit points. “Dooring” is opening a vehicle door directly in the path of an oncoming cyclist.

For more details about the new laws and penalties, visit the CAA Heads Up! website.

Tips for Sharing the Road.

  • Keep a safe distance.

    When driving behind or in front of a cyclist, keep a safe distance to ensure there is enough space for everyone to maneuver safely. Drivers must keep a one-metre distance when passing a cyclist.

  • Be visible.

    Drivers and cyclists must use full lighting systems at night or on foggy days. Bicycles must have a white front light and red rear light or reflector.

  • Be predictable.

    Drivers and cyclists must always signal their intentions and obey traffic signals and signs.

  • Be aware.

    Pay attention and make eye contact. Be courteous and do not use headphones or mobile devices while driving or cycling.

  • Wear a helmet.

    Cyclists should always wear a helmet. They can reduce the risk of severe brain injury for cyclists by 63 to 88 percent.`

  • Ride with traffic.

    Riding against the flow of traffic is dangerous, illegal and the leading cause of car-bike collisions. Clearly marked contra-flow bike lanes are the only exception to this.

Watch for Bikes Program.

CAA's Watch for Bikes program reminds motorists to always look carefully for cyclists approaching from behind. The penalty for obstructing a cyclist's path with a vehicle door is a $300 fine and three demerit points.

To help raise awareness and remind motorists to stay alert, CAA gives away Watch for Bikes decals at CAA Stores across Ontario. The decal is to be placed on your side mirror as a reminder to check your mirror for cyclists and other traffic. Visit one of our CAA stores to get your free decal.

In Your Municipality.

Municipalities are taking the message seriously by outfitting their fleet vehicles with CAA Watch for Bikes decals. Oakville was the first municipality to show their commitment, with Barrie, Cambridge, Markham, Vaughan and Waterloo joining them more recently. Check out how to share the road safely.

Cycling Resources.

For cycling information, including safety information, skills and riding tips and equipment maintenance and care, visit thE CAA Bike Safety website.

To learn about recent changes to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, visit the CAA Heads Up! website.