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Bike Guide
Ottawa > Sports > Bike Guide > Ottawa Bicycle Laws

Ottawa Bicycle Laws

n Ontario, the Highway Traffic act grants cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. However, there are some special rules that apply specifically to cyclists.

Rules of the Road
Cyclists are required to ride as close as practicable to the right curb of the roadway, except when:

  • Travelling at the normal speed of traffic
  • Avoiding hazardous conditions
  • The roadway is to narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to travel safely side by side
  • Riding alongside another cyclist in a manner that does not impede the normal movement of traffic
  • Preparing to make a left turn, passing another vehicle, or using a one-way street (in which case riding alongside the left curb is permitted)

Bicycles are not permitted on sidewalks within the Region of Ottawa-Carleton.

Helmets
Bicycle helmets must be worn by all cyclists who are under the age of 18.

Rules of the Pathway
Bicycles are permitted on multi-use pathways. Cyclists should follow the “Share the Path” guidelines:

Keep to the right
Pass other users when it is safe to do so
Use your bell or voice to warn others when you are passing
Ride at a speed that is suitable for a multi-use pathway (recommended speed of no more than 20 KM/hr)

Equipment
Your bicycle MUST be equipped with:

A bell or horn
At least one braking system on the rear wheel capable of skidding that wheel on dry, level pavement
A white front light (visible from a distance of at least 150 metres)
A Red rear light or red re reflector
2 strips of white reflective tape on front forks (each strip to be 125mm by 25mm)
2 strips of red reflective tape on rear forks

The above lighting requirements are mandatory if you are riding between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise, or anytime visibility has been reduced to the point where you cannot see 150 metres ahead.

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