Bicycle Safety

Cycling guides

Learn more about safe cycling:

What is a bicycle?

A bicycle, or bike, is a vehicle that:

  • has one, two or three wheels (a unicycle, bicycle or tricycle)
  • has steering handlebars and pedals
  • does not have a motor. For motor-assisted bikes, read about electric bicycles or scooters and mopeds

Licence and registration

Bicycles do not require:

  • registration
  • licence plates
  • vehicle insurance
  • a driver’s licence

People of all ages can ride a bike.

Rules of the road

As a cyclist, you must share the road with others (e.g., cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, etc.).

Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck.

Cyclists:

  • must obey all traffic laws
  • have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers
  • cannot carry passengers – if your bicycle is only meant for one person

Riding on the right

You must stay as close to the right edge of the road whenever possible, especially if you’re slower than other traffic.

Where you can ride

You can ride on most roads, except:

  • controlled access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways
  • across a road within a pedestrian cross-over – you must walk your bike to the other side

Bike helmets

Children and youth

Bicycle helmet

By law, every cyclist under age 18 must wear an approved helmet.

Riders under 16 years old: a parent or guardin must make sure their child wears a helmet.

Adults

Helmets are not compulsory for adults over 18; but a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide. It is strongly recommended that all riders wear helmets.

Types of helmets

The best helmets:

  • are made to meet strict safety standards
  • fit properly when worn correctly

Bicycle safety resources

For more information about cycling safety, check out:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the fine for not wearing a bicycle helmet?

All bicycle riders under the age of 18 need to wear an approved bicycle helmet when travelling on any public road. The total fine is $75.

Q2: How do I know which bicycle helmet to buy?

Look for a helmet that fits comfortably and meets safety standards. Check the inside of the helmet for stickers from one or more of the following organizations:

  • Canadian Standard Association: CAN/CSA D113.2-M89
  • Snell Memorial Foundation: Snell B90, Snell B90S, or Snell N94
  • American National Standard Institute: ANSI Z90.4-1984
  • American Society For Testing and Materials: ASTMF1447-94
  • British Standards Institute: BS6863:1989
  • Standards Association of Australia: AS2063.2-1990