Riding your bike is a great way to get around. But it can cost you if you don't follow the rules of the road.
Riding against the traffic or on sidewalks, or running through stop signs, puts you and others in danger.
The law has rules you need to know and follow. Read on if you want to prevent accidents and avoid getting tickets.
A Few Precautions
Before heading out, make sure your bike is safe to ride and in good condition. You must have these seven accessories on your bike:
- a white reflector in the front
- a red reflector in the back
- an amber reflector on each pedal
- a reflector on the spokes of the front wheel
- a reflector on the spokes of the back wheel
- at night, a white headlight in front
- at night, a red light in the back
|The website of the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) shows where to place these accessories on your bike.|
Important! Having the right equipment is not enough.
If an object like a bag or basket is covering one of your reflectors, you have to put another reflector on that object.
Your bike also needs a brake system that can quickly stop the back wheel.
Other accessories can give you added safety: a horn, a rear-view mirror, a helmet and even reflective bands on your clothes.
On the Road
Share the Road
Bike paths are popping up everywhere. They're a great way to get from place to place safely.
Cyclists often have to share the road with pedestrians, cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses and other cyclists.
These are some of the rules you must follow to ensure everyone's safety:
- Sit on your bike with one leg on each side and keep your hands on the handlebars.
- Stay on the far right of the road to leave room for other vehicles.
- Ride in the same direction as the traffic.
- Ride in single file if you're riding in a group.
- When turning at an intersection, let pedestrians and other cyclists crossing the road go first.
- Stop at all red lights and at other required stops.
- Obey all traffic signs.
|At night or when visibility is reduced, remember to turn on your lights. It's safe, and it's the law!|
Use Arm Signals
You must clearly let other drivers know when you plan to slow down or turn.
- To stop or slow down, drop your left arm downwards.
- To turn right, lift your left arm up above your head, or extend your right arm horizontally.
- To turn left, extend your left arm horizontally.
Don't Do Anything Illegal
There are some things you're not allowed to do while riding your bike:
- Don't use headphones or earphones.
- Don't ride between two lines of moving cars.
- Don't ride on the sidewalk, except when necessary or if a sign says you can.
- Don't ride with a passenger, unless your bike has a passenger seat.
- Don't ride on a highway.
Penalties: Fines, Demerit Points and Having Your Bike Taken Away
If you break road safety rules, you could get a ticket ordering you to pay a fine. If your brakes don't work properly, a police officer could take your bike away. In some cases, you could even have demerit points added to your driving record.
And of course, if you break the rules, you might just end up in the hospital!
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.