Norfolk County, ON - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Norfolk County detachment
would like to remind everyone that we all share the roadway with different vehicles
and bicycles are included. Public safety is the OPP's top priority and we want to
ensure that we prevent collisions before they occur.
Cycling is a fun, healthy and an inexpensive way to get around, whether you cycle
to and from work, school, or for recreation. Hazards can be avoided when you have
good handling and traffic skills
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) defines the bicycle as a vehicle that belongs
on the road and riding on the road means mixing with other traffic. This is only
safe when all traffic uses the same rules of the road.
When everyone operates under these rules, actions become more predictable. Drivers
can anticipate your moves and plan accordingly. Likewise, you too can anticipate
and deal safely with the actions of others.
The bicycle, by nature, differs from most other vehicles in two important ways.
First, the bicycle is very narrow. Consequently, where most vehicles use a full
lane, the bicycle uses only a fraction of a lane.
Second, the bicycle is often slower than most other vehicles. In urban areas, cyclists
generally move at one-third to two-thirds the speed of the traffic around them,
except where traffic congestion slows cars and trucks. However, in rural areas,
or on faster roads the difference is much greater. How a cyclist manoeuvres in traffic
will depend on their speed in relation to motorists.
Dealing With Other Vehicles
As in urban areas, drive as close as practicable to the right side of the road,
shoulder check, signal and shoulder check before attempting a lane change and obey
all traffic signs, signals and laws. In less densely populated areas, motorists
may not be anticipating cyclists, so drive defensively.
On two lane roads, watch out for motorists travelling in the opposite direction
overtaking other vehicles by moving into your lane. Because bicycles are relatively
small, they often can't be seen from a distance.
Anticipate such situations and take steps to make yourself more visible by wearing
brightly coloured clothing and helmet
Travelling In Groups
There are a few safety tips to keep in mind when travelling in groups.
- Ride in single file on the road.
- Keep at least a metre apart from other cyclists in the group and keep several lengths
apart when going downhill at high speed.
- If you are travelling in a large group, break up into smaller groups of about four
to six. Keep about a kilometre between groups to allow traffic to pass.
A bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This means that,
as a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic
laws as other road users. The following are key sections of the HTA concerning cyclists.
HTA 144/136 -Traffic signals and signs - stop for red lights and stop signs and
comply with all other signs.
HTA 153 - One ways streets - ride in the designated direction on one-way streets.
HTA 147 - Slow moving traffic - any vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic
speed should drive in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right
edge of the road except when preparing to turn left or when passing another vehicle.
For cyclists, you must ride far enough out from the curb to maintain a straight
line, clear of sewer grates, debris, potholes, and parked car doors. You may occupy
any part of a lane when your safety warrants it. Never compromise your safety for
the convenience of a motorist behind you.
HTA 142 - Signalling a turn - before turning, look behind you and signal your turn.
Cyclists can use their right arm to signal a right turn.
HTA 140/144(29) - Crosswalks - stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and walk your
bike when crossing at a crosswalk.
HTA 175 (12) - Stopped School Buses - stop for stopped school buses when the upper
alternating red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out.
HTA 62 - Lights - a bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector
if you ride between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise.
HTA 62 (17) - Reflective tape - a bike must have white reflective tape on the front
forks and red reflective tape on the rear forks.
HTA 75 (5) - Bell - a bike must have a bell or horn in good working order.
HTA 64 - Brakes - a bike must have at least one brake system on the rear wheel.
When you put on the brakes, you should be able to skid on dry, level pavement.
HTA 218 - Identification - Cyclists must identify themselves when stopped by police
for breaking traffic laws. The police officer will ask you for your correct name
HTA 185 - Expressways - Bicycles are prohibited on expressway/ freeway highways
such as the 400 series, the QEW, Ottawa Queensway and on roads where "No Bicycle"
signs are posted.
HTA 178 - Passengers - Passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one
HTA 178 - Attaching to a vehicle - You are not permitted to attach yourself to the
outside of another vehicle or streetcar for the purpose of "hitching a ride".
HTA 104 - Helmets - Every cyclist under the age of eighteen must wear an approved
bicycle helmet. Parents or guardians shall not knowingly permit cyclists under sixteen
to ride without a helmet.
HTA 179 - Dismounted bicyclist - Cyclists are required to ride on the right-hand
side of the road. If you are walking your bike on a highway where there are no sidewalks,
you are considered a pedestrian and you should walk on the left-hand side of the
road facing traffic. If it is not safe for you to cross the road to face traffic,
you may walk your bike on the right-hand side of the road.
"Bicycles are one of the smallest vehicles on the road, it is important for cyclists
to be as visible as possible to other road users at all times. This means wearing
white or bright coloured clothing when you ride. A helmet with reflective material
on it also helps to make you more visible and we want to ensure that the motoring
public and cyclists share the roadway and responsibilities so everyone remains safe,"
comments Inspector Zvonko Horvat, Norfolk County OPP Detachment Commander.
OPP Contact Information