Cyclists are required to have a good understanding of and adhere to the rules of the road. It is important for them to obey traffic signals and signs, indicate their intended movements, and yield the right of way to other road users and pedestrians as necessary.
According to Section 142 of the HTA (Highway Traffic Act), cyclists must use proper signals when turning. They should extend their hand and arm horizontally and beyond the left side of the bicycle to indicate a left turn. For a right turn, they can extend their hand and arm upward and beyond the left side of the bicycle, or extend the right hand and arm horizontally and beyond the right side of the bicycle. Additionally, when moving from a parked position into a traffic lane, cyclists must signal before setting off.
As stated in Section 147 of the HTA, vehicles traveling at a speed lower than the normal flow of traffic, including bicycles, should, whenever possible, use the right-hand lane or stay as close as practicable to the right-hand curb edge of the roadway.
It is important to note that cycling through a crosswalk is generally not allowed by the HTA unless there is a traffic control signal system in place at the intersection. Riding bicycles on sidewalks is prohibited in most Ontario municipalities. In such areas, cyclists should dismount and walk their bicycles to ensure safety.
To ensure the safety of all road users, cyclists should make their presence and intentions clear. Other road users should be able to reasonably anticipate the presence of cyclists and easily identify any planned changes in their path of travel. If an accident occurs while a cyclist is riding in a prohibited or unexpected area, or if they fail to signal their intentions, it may lead to a finding of contributory negligence and a reduction in potential damages.
Cyclists in Ontario must follow the same rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles, as well as other specific requirements laid out by the Highway Traffic Act (“HTA”). Failure to do so could result in charges under the HTA. Moreover, if an accident occurs and a personal injury claim arises, damages could be reduced due to the cyclist’s contributory negligence.