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On The Road

As a cyclist, the best way to stay safe is to know your rights and responsibilities before you head off on your bike.

Cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as a driver of a motor vehicle and must obey the same rules when travelling the road.  For example, cyclists must yield to pedestrians, stop for stop signs, and travel with the flow of traffic.  If you are riding a bicycle, you are considered – by law – a vehicle on the road. If you dismount and walk alongside your bicycle, you are considered a pedestrian and have the same rights as a pedestrian.

Where Cycling Is Permitted

Roads

Always follow the rules of the road when riding on city streets or rural roads.

Sidewalks

Check with your community’s bylaws to determine if cycling is permitted on sidewalks. Some Canadian communities only allow sidewalk riding by children on bikes with wheels less than 50 cm in diameter. It is recommended you walk your bicycle on pedestrian crosswalks and overpasses.

Trails

Cycling is permitted on trails designated as bicycle routes.  Always obey trail and park closures posted on signs.

Parks

Check with police or park rangers regarding any rules for cyclists to leave the park by closing time.

Intersections & Turns

Entering the Street from a Driveway

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1. Come to a complete stop.
2. Look left, centre, and to the right.
3. Shoulder check to ensure there are no other vehicles or cyclists.
4. Hand signal your intentions.
5. Look well ahead. When clear of vehicles and pedestrians and safe to do so, proceed to the right hand lane of the street.

Note: Cyclists exiting private property, a driveway, or an alley must yield to all road users.

Alley or Parking Lot

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1. Come to a complete stop.
2. Look left, centre, and to the right.
3. Shoulder check to ensure there are no other vehicles or cyclists.
4. Hand signal your intentions.
5. Look well ahead. When clear of vehicles and pedestrians and safe to do so, proceed to the right hand lane of the street.

Note: Cyclists exiting private property, a driveway, or an alley must yield to all road users.

Right of Way

Pedestrians

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1. As you approach a controlled or uncontrolled intersection, scan left, centre, and right for pedestrians.
2. If there is a pedestrian waiting to cross or crossing the street, come to a full stop and yield the right of way to the pedestrian.
3. Wait until the pedestrian is clear of the crosswalk.
4. Scan left, centre, and right for any other road users.
5. Proceed through the intersection when safe to do so.

Emergency Vehicles

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If you hear sirens and/or see flashing lights from an emergency vehicle:

1. Slow down and shoulder check to determine where the emergency vehicle is coming from.
2. If the emergency vehicle is approaching, hand signal your intentions.
3. Move over to the right hand side of the lane, slow down, and stop.
4. Wait until the emergency vehicle passes. Shoulder check, hand signal your intention, and proceed when safe.

Yield Sign

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1. Slow down as you approach a yield sign.
2. Scan the intersection left, centre, and right.
3. Yield to other road users approaching the intersection or already in the intersection.
4. Continue riding when the intersection is clear and safe to do so.

Four-Way Stop

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1. Stop just before the stop line or crosswalk.
2. If more than one cyclist or vehicle arrives at the intersection, the cyclist or vehicle that stops first should go first.
3. If more than one cyclist or vehicle arrives at the intersection at the same time, the cyclist or vehicle on the right should go first.
4.Scan left, centre, and right.
5.Make eye contact with the other cyclist or driver of the vehicle.
6. Proceed through the intersection when safe to do so.

Scanning

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1. Look at least one block ahead.
2. Keep your eyes constantly scanning for hazards on or beside the road. Scan for any activity in and around parked vehicles.
3. Look left, centre, and right prior to crossing an intersection.

Travelling Straight

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When cycling on city streets:

1. Ride in a straight line.
2. Use the right-hand curb lane, staying at least one metre from the curb to avoid roadside hazards.
3. Ride in a straight line at least one metre away from parked cars to avoid drivers who may open their car doors.
Cyclists tend to travel slower than other vehicles on the road. As a result, remember the following general road rules:
• Slower traffic stays right.
• Slower traffic must give way to faster traffic when safe and practical.

Right Turns

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As you approach an intersection to make a right turn:
1. Scan left, centre, and right.
2. Hand signal your intention to turn right.
3. Shoulder check right to ensure it is safe to turn and no other road users are beside you.
4. If safe to do so, turn into the first available lane and if proceeding straight ahead, stay in the right-hand curb lane.

Left Turns

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Pedestrian Left Turn

When an intersection is very busy and it appears unsafe to move into the left turning lane:
1. Ride straight through and completely clear the intersection.
2. Dismount from your bicycle at the corner of the intersection and walk the bike across the street as a pedestrian.
3. Remount your bicycle.
4. Scan left, centre, and right.
5. Shoulder check to ensure there are no vehicles behind you.
6. Hand signal your intention to pull away from the curb.
7. Shoulder check again to ensure it is safe to go.
8. Proceed on the right hand side of the lane.

Left Turning Lane

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When an intersection is not as busy and it appears safe to move into the left turning lane, use the following steps to change to the left-hand lane to make the left turn:

1. Scan left, centre, and right.
2. Shoulder check to ensure there is no traffic behind you.
3. Hand signal your intention to turn left.
4. Shoulder check again to ensure it is safe to go.
5. Move and position your bicycle just to the right of the centre line.
6. Turn left when safe to do so.
7. After you make your turn, shoulder check, hand signal, shoulder check again, and move to the far right-hand lane.

Changing Lanes

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The procedure for making a lane change is:
1. Shoulder check for a gap in traffic to change lanes.
2. Hand signal your intention to move the right lane.
3. Shoulder check again to ensure it is still safe to change lanes.
4. If safe, steer into the lane and continue on your trip.

Intersections

There are two kinds of intersections: controlled and uncontrolled.

Controlled Intersections

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Two or more roads come together with some type of traffic control device. These devices may be signs or traffic signal lights.

1. Before entering a controlled intersection, scan left, centre, and right.
2. Enter the intersection either ahead of or behind vehicles to ensure that motorists see you.
3. Watch for traffic signals and be prepared to stop.
4. Remember to keep eye contact with all motorists.

Uncontrolled Intersections

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Two or more roads come together with no traffic signs or traffic signal lights.
1. Before entering an uncontrolled intersection, scan left, centre, and right.
2. The cyclist/vehicle that arrives first should go first.
3. If two or more cyclists/vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the cyclist/vehicle on the left should yield to the cyclist/vehicle on the right.

Turning Lanes

Right Turn Only

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When approaching an intersection, you may come across a turning lane. If you come across a right-turn only lane and you wish to go straight:
1. Scan left, centre, and right.
2. Shoulder check for vehicles on your left side and behind.
3. Hand signal your intention to change lanes.
4. Shoulder check again.
5. Move to the adjacent through lane when safe.

Right Turn & Straight Through

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If you come across a right-turn lane with an option to continue going straight through the intersection:
1. Scan left, centre, and right.
2. Shoulder check for vehicles on your left side and behind.
3. Move to the middle of the lane before proceeding.
4. Proceed through the intersection when safe to do so.

Sharing the Road

Large Vehicles

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Be extra cautious when riding next to large vehicles such as trucks, buses, vans, SUVs, or recreational vehicles.
1. Scan left, centre, and right.
2. Stay well behind large vehicles because they may not see you.
Tip: Large vehicles have huge blind spots. The driver may not see you or hear your bell, so always stop or slow down to stay well behind a large vehicle, especially when it is turning right.

Pedestrians

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Always yield to pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable and least trained of roadway users. They may not know or obey traffic rules or signals, or understand visibility restrictions of drivers at night. Pay attention to small children as they are more difficult to see and their behaviour can be unpredictable. If a pedestrian has entered a marked or unmarked intersection:

1. Stop before entering the crosswalk.
2. Yield the right of way to the pedestrian.
3. Allow the pedestrian to cross the street.
4. Before proceeding, scan left, centre, and right to ensure there are no other pedestrians crossing the crosswalk.
5. Shoulder check to ensure it is safe to proceed.
6. Proceed on your way.

Trains & Streetcars

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Many railway crossings are unmarked. As you approach tracks:

1. Look ahead and plan in advance where to cross the track.
2. Approach slowly and look both ways before crossing the track.
3. Ensure you cross the track at a right angle so that your tires do not get

Note: Be extra careful when crossing tracks during wet or icy conditions.

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