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Cycling and Sharing the Road

Published on May 27, 2021   Safety Cycling

Cyclists and drivers have the same rights, same rules, and same responsibilities when it comes to sharing the road. Like drivers operating motor vehicles, cyclists must obey all signs and traffic control devices and travel in the same direction as traffic. The only rule unique to cyclists is that they must position themselves along the right curb of the roadway. Drivers should always ensure that cyclists are given the courtesy and space they need to ride safely. 


Motorists need to be cautious, respectful, and share the road with cyclists. It is recommended that drivers provide at least one metre of space between their vehicle and a cyclist. Depending on circumstances and the cyclist’s position, you may need to change lanes to pass safely.

When a cyclist is on the road, drivers must
  • Reduce their speed.
  • Leave a safe following distance.
  • Avoid using their horn.
  • When turning left, watch for and yield to oncoming cyclists just as you would to oncoming motorists.
  • When turning right, yield to any cyclist traveling on your right.
  • Pass at a safe distance – leave space to breathe!
  • Look for cyclists before opening your car doors.

Remember that children on bicycles can be unpredictable - expect the unexpected and slow down.

Cycling hand signals

Cyclists should use hand signals to communicate with drivers and other road users. Hand signals should be used well in advance of any turn, be specific and clear. Like drivers, it is important for cyclists to always shoulder check before signaling and again before you change lanes.

The proper signaling sequence is:

1.   Shoulder check.
2.   If it’s clear, make your hand signal.
3.   Before changing lanes, shoulder check one more time.
4.   If it’s safe, change lanes or make your turn.

Road position

It is illegal for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk. So, cyclists are to ride as close as practicable to the right-hand side of the road. However, they are also using their best judgment and may find it necessary to move closer to the middle of the lane. If a cyclist is too close to the curb, they run the risk of swerving left to avoid hazards, possibly obstructing the path of other traffic.

When there are parked cars on either side of an intersection, unless turning, cyclists should continue riding in a straight line. They should not weave in and out of parked cars and should try to stay at least 1.5 meters away from the parked cars to avoid any potentially opening car doors


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