Cycling can pose some risks; whether you’re cycling in a protected bike lane, a non-protected bike lane, a sharrow, in traffic, or on a bike path. To help mitigate risks, there are steps that cyclists can take to make themselves consistent, visible, predictable, and communicative.

Here are the cycling safety recommendations, as taught by CAN-BIKE through MPI’s Cycling Champions Course:


Helmet: Wearing a helmet reduces your chance of head injury by 85%

  • To be effective, a helmet must be properly fitted and fastened
  • Use to 2-V-1 Rule
    • 2 fingers above the eyebrows
    • Straps form ‘V’ under the ears
    • 1 finger under the chin strap
  • Replace your helmet if:
    • You’ve had an accident
    • There is any apparent damage
    • There is any cracking in the shell or styrofoam
    • Any of the straps or buckles are damaged

Clothing: Wear bright coloured clothing and reflective gear, such as; a strap or vest, when applicable (this is not mandatory, but is recommended when cycling in the dark)

Glasses: Wearing glasses will help protect your eyes from flying debris and dust

Gloves: Wearing gloves helps with grip when wet and protects hands in case of a fall

Gear: Bicycle safety equipment

  • Lights from dusk till dawn
    • White/amber on the front (required by law)
    • Red flashing on the rear (reflector minimum required by law)
  • Reflective tape/bands
    • Front and rear as well as on your clothing
    • Wrist and ankle bands recommended
  • Bell/Whistle/Horn
    • Used to warn others when overtaking them


  • Fenders
    • Helps to keep lights and reflectors clean
    • Keeps your clothes cleaner and dryer
  • Rack and Panniers
    • Mount on the front or rear
    • Preferred over backpacks, which can reduce one’s ability to manoeuvre
  • Water Bottle
    • Have a bottle with you to keep hydrated while you ride
  • Mirrors
    • Keep in mind, having a mirror does not replace the need for a shoulder check


Riding on the Right:

  • Generally, you follow the right-most lane that will take you where you want to go
  • Exceptions to this rule include, but are not limited to:
    • You are turning left
    • You are passing a slower vehicle (on the left)
    • One way streets


  • Always be aware of your surroundings and be ready to react


  • Leave yourself enough room to manoeuvre at all times
    • A cyclist is to ride as far to the right of the road as safe and practicable
    • ‘Practicable’ means it is for you to decide where it is safe to ride
      • It is recommended that cyclists ride approximately one metre from the curb
    • Don’t ride too close to the curb, as you will be forced to  move into traffic to avoid potholes, debris, car doors, and joints
      • Some situations may require you to ride further from the curb, such as;
        • Narrow lanes
        • Construction zones
        • Poor road conditions
        • Riding at the same speed


  • Stay in the motorist’s field of vision
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment and clothing
  • Stay out of the door zone


  • Ride in a straight line
    • Avoid weaving in and out of parked cars


  • Signal to let other road users know what you are doing
  • Shoulder checking is a helpful sign to indicate that you are about to make a move, but this doesn’t mean you can go without a signal
  • Shoulder check, signal, check again!


Cyclists should do their best to plan turns in advance, especially on multi-lane roadways. Positioning and communication can help make turns safer.

Right Turns:

  • When approaching an intersection, shoulder check to ensure it is safe to do so, then move closer to the middle of the right-most lane
    • This position will maximize your visibility and will discourage drivers from attempting to pass you
    • Follow the same path that a motor vehicle would take, arriving in the centre of the lane
    • After completing the turn, signal accordingly and return to the right-most practicable position

Left Turns:

  • Left turns are more challenging and require more planning, as a cyclist moves into active traffic lanes
    • Never make a left turn from the right side of the road
    • Shoulder check well in advance of your turn to determine the best opportunity to change positions in the roadway. This may require several shoulder checks before signalling and changing lanes
    • After the roadway is cleared or there is an opening in traffic, signal, then begin moving to the left to position yourself for a left turn
  • The Highway Traffic Act does not specify a cyclist’s proper position in turn lanes, however, it is recommended that the cyclist stays in the centre of the left turning lane.
    • This position ensures visibility and prevents other vehicles behind from passing on the left or right
    • Always check oncoming traffic, including any vehicles turning right onto the same road you are entering
  • When turning, follow the same path that a motor vehicle would take, arriving in the centre of the lane.
    • Once established after the turn, signal and return to the right-most practicable position when it is safe to do so

Multi-Lane Turns:

  • When turning onto a roadway with multiple lanes, always travel from the left lane to left lane (inside to inside)
  • Once you have completed the turn, shoulder check, signal and move to the appropriate position along the right side

Multi-Turn Lanes:

  • When there is more than one turn lane, you should pick the lane best suited to your destination
    • If you are planning to carry on straight or make a right turn after your initial turn, choose the right-most turn lane
    • If you are planning to turn left again shortly after your initial turn, choose the left-most turn lane

Pedestrian Turns:

  • When traffic is too heavy for you to negotiate your turn, you can always revert to being a pedestrian
    • Ride to the opposite side of the intersection and dismount your bike
    • Cross the intersection as a pedestrian
    • Remount on the other side once traffic has cleared


  • When proceeding through a yield, it is recommended that cyclists move closer to the middle of the right-most lane.
    • This position ensures visibility and prevents other vehicles behind from trying to overtake you and squeezing you out along the curb
    • Shoulder check and signal before moving over in the lane
    • Once you have completed the turn, signal and return to the right-most practicable position


Sidewalk Riding:

  • Unless your tire diameter is 41 cm or less, it is illegal to ride on a sidewalk
    • It is also dangerous, with over 20% of bicycle vehicle collision claims occurring when leaving a sidewalk and crossing a road, due to low visibility and unpredictability

Road Hazards:

  • In poor weather, leave extra room for manoeuvring and stopping
  • Avoid roadway cracks or joints running parallel to the road
  • Avoid puddles as they hide potholes, broken glass, and other hazards
  • Avoid sewer grates with openings running parallel to the road
  • Always cross railway tracks at a right angle

Night Riding:

  • Riding at night, especially dawn and dusk can be more dangerous
  • Be visible by wearing bright colours (like white or yellow) and reflective material
    • Use reflective bands on your wrists to make hand signals more visible
    • You must (according to the Highway Traffic Act) have a white light at the front and a red amber reflector at the rear


Diamond Lanes:

  • Lanes specifically reserved for buses, cyclists, and emergency vehicles
  • Created to increase the speed and reliability of transit service while providing a safe lane for cyclists
  • Motorists can only enter a diamond lane to make a right turn at the next intersection
    • Some diamond lanes are in effect all the time, while others are reserved for certain days and times
    • Ensure that you check the sign to see when these routes are in force
  • It is recommended that you ride in the middle of the lane to avoid being squeezed out by large buses
    • However, it is important to use good judgement when determining your position
    • Unless you are able to stay in front of the bus, slow down and remain behind the bus to avoid leapfrogging

Bike Lanes:

  • Painted lanes provide cyclists with a defined space, providing a visual sign to drivers that cyclists have a right to the road
  • Vehicles are to stay out of bike lanes but are able to cross them at any time
    • Stay alert for motorists crossing to park or make a right turn
    • Stay alert for motorists exiting a parked car (i.e. stay out of the door zone)
  • Never turn left from a bike lane


  • Encourages cyclists and motorists to ‘Share the Road’
    • Generally intended for roadways with lanes wide enough for ‘side-by-side’ operation
    • However, motorists must always pass at a safe distance and cyclists should never pass on the right side

Traffic Calming Circles and Roundabouts:

  • Travel through the circle in a counter-clockwise direction, entering and exiting the circle has the right of way
    • A motorist or cyclist already in the circle has the right of way
    • Like a four-way stop, if you arrive at the same time, yield to the vehicle on the right
  • Watch for pedestrians and be prepared to stop

Multi-Use Paths:

  • Intended for use by a variety of users including cyclists, pedestrians, and rollerbladers
  • Paths are physically separated from roadways
    • Courtesy and communication are keys when using these paths
    • Slow down when passing other users
    • Remain vigilant when the path crosses a roadway

There you have it!

To ensure same Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Rights – cyclists have to do their best to follow the rules.

If you have any further questions, refer to the Bike Safety Handbook or comment below.