Following the Law: On your Bike Edition
Cycling can be a fun and eco-friendly way of commuting to work, the grocery store, or just to a friend’s house. But even though you feel like a small fish in the big pond that is our roadways, cyclists need to abide by the same rules as cars and trucks. The tips outlined here may help you feel more comfortable on the road, and let you have a fun and safe summer while getting your exercise!
Here are a few tips on how to outfit your bike to be road ready.
1. You need a bell or horn – Having a way to alert other cyclists or pedestrians on pathways that you are near is crucial to increasing safety. Not only are you able to communicate with others, but it is required by law.
2. You need lights – The law requires you to have a front white light that is visible up to 150 metres and a red rear light or rear reflector. These pieces of equipment have to be used if you are riding up to a half-hour after sun up, and a half-hour before sun down. But that’s not all! Reflective tape is required by law on the front (white coloured) and back (red coloured) of your bike when riding. Each strip of reflective tape should be 12.5 cm x 2.5 cm.
3. You need brakes! – By law, you bike needs to be equipped with a rear brake. The Highway Traffic Act goes into more detail, stating that your bike must have a rear braking system that causes the rear wheel to skid when fully applied on dry pavement.
These rules not only make it safer for you, but they also make it safer for other people using the road. It is important to remember that bikes and cars share the road according to the Highway Traffic Act. In addition to the above mentioned tips, make sure that you are abiding by all the rules of the road, including: Traffic lights, traffic signs, posted limitations, and sometimes speed limits!
A few other things you can do:
Educate yourself on the rules of the road by looking them up online. The internet is a great resource to get the facts from the horse’s mouth so to speak. You can access the Highway Traffic Act, the City of Ottawa website, and the Ottawa Police Service website.
Wearing bright coloured clothes and a bright helmet help to increase how visible you are while on your bike. Wear yellows and oranges and reflective materials.
Visit this link to ensure you know the facts and familiarize yourself with the cycling rules of the road!