Cycling is a fun, healthy activity and an inexpensive way to get around.
In Ontario, anyone under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding a bike. However, even adults should wear helmets for their own safety.
We work with our partners to promote safe and active transportation. The information below will help you make your next ride enjoyable and safe.
Wear a bike helmet
- Learn how to wear it properly and when you should replace it. Wearing a helmet reduces your risk of brain and head injury from a crash or collision.
- In Ontario, anyone under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding a bike. However, even adults should wear helmets for their own safety. Remember, you are your child’s best role model. You may not realize, but your skull is only 1 cm thick! Head injuries are the most common cause of injury to kids on bicycles. A properly worn helmet protects your most important organ!
- Visit this page for more information about bicycle safety.
- Wear bright clothing, preferably with reflective stripes. This is especially important if you are riding after dark or in fog or rain.
- Make sure your bike has a bell, reflectors and reflective tape, as required by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. If you are riding at night, your bicycle must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector, as well as white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on the rear forks.
Dress for the weather
- If it is cold, wear several thin layers of clothing. It’s easy to remove a layer if you get too warm.
- Light-coloured clothing will also help reflect the sun and keep you cooler.
Protect your eyes
- Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
- Wraparound sunglasses or ones with side shields are your best choice for protection against UV, dust, insects, and debris.
Know the rules
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA, a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck. Therefore, road rules must be followed.
For most cyclists, road rules such as the slower traffic staying to the right and yielding to faster traffic when safe and practical, are common sense. However, just like car drivers, cyclists can be charged for disobeying traffic laws. Fines can be for:
- not obeying a traffic sign or signal
- riding the wrong way down one-way streets
- failing to signal a turn
- riding on a crosswalk
- not yielding to pedestrians
Fines are usually $35 to $400, plus a $20 victim surcharge.
In Ontario, anyone under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding a bike. However, even adults should wear helmets for their own safety. Remember, you are your child’s best role model. Click here for information on helmet safety.
Before hitting the streets on your bicycle, it is important to learn how to ride your bike. One of the best ways to ensure your safety is to get trained. Cycling courses are offered to teach people how to ride their bike. This allows cyclists to feel more comfortable and confident when riding. These sessions are offered to all ages in different levels. They include kids bike learn sessions, women cycling sessions and commuter and recreation cycling sessions.
Know where to ride
Because bicycles usually travel at a slower speed, there are two rules of the road to which cyclists must pay special attention:
- Slower traffic stays right
- Slower traffic must give way to faster traffic when safe and practical
You can ride on most roads, except:
- controlled access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways
- across the road within a pedestrian crosswalk – you must walk your bike to the other side.
Click here to learn more about where to ride your bike.
Other relevant resources
This item was last modified on August 20, 2019