Cycling is a popular mode of transportation in Ottawa. We have many bike paths, lanes, and trails throughout the city. Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is considered a vehicle which has its own set of rules that must be followed. As the weather is getting warmer, it is important to know and follow the rules and laws of the road to stay safe and avoid accidents. In this blog post, we will discuss the cycling rules in Ottawa and provide tips on how to be safe when cycling.
Use bike lanes when available: Ottawa has many bike lanes throughout the city, so it’s important to use them whenever possible. Bike lanes are designated for cyclists. They make it safer for cyclists to ride and also help reduce the risks of collisions with cars.
Follow traffic signals: Obeying bicycle traffic signals is an essential part of safe cycling. In Ottawa, cyclists must follow the same traffic signals as cars, including stop signs, red lights, and yield signs. It is important to always stop at red lights and stop signs and check for oncoming traffic before proceeding. Cyclists should always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and pedestrian crossings. In some cases, there may be designated bike signals. Cyclists should pay attention to these signals and follow them accordingly. By obeying bicycle traffic signals, cyclists can help reduce the risk of accidents on the road and ensure their own safety as well as the safety of others.
Wear a helmet: It is highly recommended to wear a helmet when cycling in Ottawa. If you under the age of 18, you must by law wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet can prevent head injuries in case of an accident.
Use hand signals: Just like drivers, cyclists must use hand signals to indicate their intended turns or stops. Use your left arm to signal a left turn and your right arm to signal a right turn. To signal a stop, use your left arm to point downward.
Stay visible: It is important to wear reflective clothing or use lights when cycling in low-light conditions. This makes it easier for drivers to see you on the road.
Be aware of your surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings when cycling. This includes watching out for cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists on the road.
Ride predictably: Avoid weaving in and out of traffic. This makes it easier for drivers to predict your movements and avoid accidents.
Stay alert: Avoid listening to music or using your phone when cycling. Stay alert and focused on the road to avoid accidents. To avoid dooring accidents, it is important for cyclists to ride a safe distance away from parked cars, especially when riding in bike lanes or on roads with heavy traffic. Cyclists should also stay alert and watch for any signs that a car door may be opening, such as brake lights or a driver or passenger’s movement inside the car. Additionally, drivers and passengers in parked cars should always check for oncoming cyclists before opening their doors to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
Maintain your bike: Regularly maintain your bike to ensure it is in good condition. This includes checking your brakes, tires, and other components regularly.
Choose the right route: Some roads in Ottawa are safer for cycling than others. When possible, choose a route that has bike lanes or is less busy to reduce your chances of accidents.
Cycling is a great way to get around Ottawa. However it is important to follow the rules of the road and take safety precautions. If you have been injured in an accident as a cyclist, contact Burn Tucker Lachaîne to schedule a free consultation. You can text us at 613-777-0992 or call us at 613-706-0808. Stay safe and enjoy the warm weather!
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