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Bike Guide
Ottawa > Sports > Bike Guide > Ottawa Bike Safety

Ottawa Bike Safety

The following is a listing of some general safety tips for all cyclists as well as some tips for parents of children.  How to determine if your child is ready to cycle to school…Your child wants to ride his or her bike to school and you are worried. What should you do? Remember, you are the best judge and you must be comfortable with the decision.

General Safety Tips
Obey the rules of the road and follow these tips for better cycling:

  • Be Predictable
    • Where possible, ride in a straight line and avoid dodging between parked cars or around obstacles.
    • Make sure that others know your are there and what your intentions are; use your bell, signal your movements.
  • Use Appropriate Lanes
    • Know where you are going and look ahead to position yourself in the correct lane. Avoid being in a “right turn only” lane if you plan to proceed straight through an intersection.
    • When a motorist has signalled a right turn, do not try to ride between the car and the curb; wait for the motorist to complete the turn before proceeding.
  • One-way Streets with Bus Lanes
    • When you use Albert or Slater Streets, ride in the far left lane to reduce the conflict with turning vehicles and buses in the Reserved Bus Lane. To make a right turn, move to the right, lane by lane, by shoulder-checking, signalling and moving right when there is a break in the traffic.
  • Bicycle Detection at Traffic Lights
      Most intersections with traffic signals have detector loops in the pavement which control the sequence of lights. Your bicycle may not have enough metal in it to be detected unless it is right on top of the wired loop. The most sensitive part of the loop is marked with a series of 3 yellow dots on the pavement. Stop your bicycle directly over these dots and the signal will be activated after a short wait.


Here are the major factors to take into account

1. Does your child have the physical skills to ride safely on streets? Can they handle their bikes well enough to:

  • Look behind them while travelling in a straight line?
  • Brake quickly and confidently to stop at a predetermined point?
  • Ride with one hand while displaying clear hand signals?
  • Lock up their bikes by themselves?

2. Can your child demonstrate these skills?

  • The ability to gauge speeds of other vehicles?
  • Know the right from left?
  • The ability to concentrate on a task and avoid distractions?

3. Does your child understand the rules of the road?

  • What yield means and where they are expected to yield?
  • What “right of way” means?
  • The meaning of road signs and where to look for them?

Children should be taught that a bicycle is a vehicle and that cyclists must follow the same rules as other vehicle operators. As adults, we often take for granted that children know how traffic works and what signs mean. Safe cycling skills can be taught to children as young as eight years old although practice and experience will reinforce the lessons taught.
For More information about getting you child ready to cycle, contact Citizens for Safe Cycling at 567-1288

Watch for Cyclists

Driving a car is a full-time job! It is your job to be a responsible driver. Before you open your door – LOOK. Look behind you – is there a cyclist approaching?

Opening your door into a cyclist’s path is a traffic violation. It is much worse than that for the cyclist who comes into contact with your open door. No bike and no cyclist can withstand that sudden stop – the human body wants to keep moving until it hits something solid. That could be the road surface, your door or your car window. You would be responsible for injuring someone, maybe seriously, maybe even fatally. That though should be enough to remind you to LOOK before you open the door.

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