It’s finally starting to feel like spring. With leafy buds poking through and sidewalks appearing as the snow melts away, the temptation to whip out our bikes is stronger than ever.
Though many Canadians choose to cycle through the snow, biking is quite often put on hold during the winter chill and resurrected as soon as all the ice melts. No matter the season, with the choice to cycle comes the responsibility of following cycling road rules and understanding how to maintain your own safety and the safety of others.
Did you know that it’s against the law to ride your bicycle on most sidewalks? Since bikes are considered vehicles in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, they are only allowed to be used on the road and on sidewalks where it is permitted by official or authorized signs. This means you must ride on the roads in a designated bike lane or as close to the right side curb as possible if space permits. If there isn’t enough room to ride to the right of larger cars or trucks, follow the rules of the road the same way you would while driving a motorized vehicle. Remember your hand signals and to observe road signs and traffic lights.
According to the Highway Traffic Act, there are equipment requirements for your bicycle if you ride between 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise or anytime visibility has been reduced to the point where you cannot see 150 metres ahead. Your bike must have a working bell or horn, at least one braking system on the rear wheel, a white front light visible from a distance of at least 150 metres, a red rear light or red rear reflector, two strips of white reflective tape on front forks and two strips of red reflective tape on rear forks.
The Highway Traffic Act does not openly prohibit side by side cycling but cyclists travelling in a group should not organize themselves on the road in a manner that blocks faster-moving vehicles.
Being a CAA Member can definitely come in handy for those of us who prefer to ride our bikes than drive our cars. With CAA Bike Assist you can ride near or far and we’ll always be a phone call away to pick you up if your bike breaks away from home. For inter-city cyclers, having a CAA Classic Membership will get you and your bike towed up to 5 kilometres, in case you’re ever stranded. CAA Plus and Premier Members who love to make long-distance bike treks will receive up to 200 kilometres of towing as well.
Are you a cycler in need of CAA Bike Assist? Check out our Cycle into Spring campaign for savings on an annual CAA Membership.