The Highway Traffic Act highlights the rules for people cycling and driving to travel safely and predictably on streets within the province:
The City of Toronto has by-laws that regulate the safe use of different cycling infrastructure throughout the City:
Chapter 886-15 of the Toronto Municipal Code outlines the operation, stopping, and exemptions for drivers relating to cycle tracks. No person shall operate or stop a vehicle other than a bicycle or large cargo-power assisted bicycle in any cycle track except for the purpose of:
Chapter 886-10 of the Toronto Municipal Code outlines the operation, stopping, and exemptions for drivers relating to bicycle lanes. No person shall operate a vehicle other than a bicycle, a large cargo power-assisted bicycle or power- assisted bicycle in any bicycle lane except for the purpose of:
Drivers must keep at least a one-metre (3 feet) distance when passing people cycling.
Failure to do so could result in a set fine of $110 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees).
Section 148(6.1) of the Highway Traffic Act states that “every person in charge of a motor vehicle on a highway who is overtaking a person travelling on a bicycle shall, as nearly as may be practicable, leave a distance of not less than one metre between the bicycle and the motor vehicle and shall maintain that distance until safely past the bicycle.”
Section 148(6.2) states that “the one metre distance required by subsection (6.1) refers to the distance between the extreme right side of the motor vehicle and the extreme left side of the bicycle, including all projections and attachments.”
Section 148(7) states: Driver unable to turn out is to stop; “Where one vehicle is met or overtaken by another, if by reason of the weight of the load on either of the vehicles so meeting or on the vehicle so overtaken the driver finds it impracticable to turn out, he or she shall immediately stop, and, if necessary for the safety of the other vehicle and if required so to do, he or she shall assist the person in charge thereof to pass without damage.” R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148.”
Section 148(8) states: Passing vehicle going in same direction; “No person in charge of a vehicle shall pass or attempt to pass another vehicle going in the same direction on a highway unless the roadway, (a) in front of and to the left of the vehicle to be passed is safely free from approaching traffic; and (b) to the left of the vehicle passing or attempting to pass is safely free from overtaking traffic.” R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 148 (8).”
Chapter 950-201 B of the Toronto Municipal Code states that “no person shall leave a bicycle, cargo power-assisted bicycle or other similar vehicle on a highway except in such a manner as to cause the least possible obstruction to pedestrian or vehicular traffic.”
Chapter 950-201 C(2) of the Toronto Municipal Code states that “no person age 14 and older shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk of any highway.”
Learn about electric bicycles (e-bikes) and e-scooters.
Read more about each requirement under the Highway Traffic Act.
Highway Traffic Act 62 (17) states that “when on a highway at any time from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 150 metres or less, every motor assisted bicycle and bicycle (other than a unicycle) shall carry a lighted lamp displaying a white or amber light on its front and a lighted lamp displaying a red light or a reflector on its rear. White reflective material shall be placed on its front forks, and red reflective material covering a surface of not less than 250 mm in length and 25 mm in width shall be placed on its rear.” 2015, c. 14, s. 21 (2).
Set fine for improper bicycle lighting or improper lighting is $110 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees).
Highway Traffic Act 75 (5) states that “every motor vehicle, motor assisted bicycle and bicycle shall be equipped with an alarm bell, gong or horn, which shall be kept in good working order and sounded whenever it is reasonably necessary to notify pedestrians or others of its approach.”
Set fine for no bell, gong or horn is $110 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees).
The City of Toronto has investigated licensing cyclists on at least three occasions in the recent past:
Licensing in the 1990s has been most often discussed in response to concerns for pedestrian safety on sidewalks, where incidents of collisions, near misses, and a lack of courtesy have made many pedestrians, including seniors feel insecure.
Each time, the City has rejected licensing as a solution to the problem under discussion. The major reasons why licensing has been rejected are:
Section 166 of the Highway Traffic Act states that people cycling and drivers must give two metres clearance from the rear door of the streetcar during unloading and loading of passengers. After the unloading and loading process, people cycling and drivers may pass safely on the right side.
All bicycle riders under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet when cycling on any public road. For children aged 16 and under, a parent or guardian must ensure they wear a helmet, or the adult may be liable for a fine of $75.
Bicycle helmets are not compulsory for adults over 18, but a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide. It is strongly recommended that all riders wear helmets.
On e-bikes, adults must wear either a bicycle or motorcycle helmet.
“Dooring” or a “door prize” commonly refers to someone who opens a parked motor vehicle door into the path of a person cycling or other traffic.
Higher set fine of $365 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees) + three (3) demerit points; drivers who choose to contest the charge could be subject to a fine up to $1,000 + three demerit points, upon conviction.
To avoid “Dooring,” drivers and passengers should utilize what is called a “Dutch Reach.” This involves opening the door using the arm furthest from the door. This action forces the user to turn toward the door, which gives them a better view of the lane behind them. People cycling should give one metre clearance from parked cars where feasible and be aware of the “dooring zone.”
Register your bicycle with Toronto Police Service: Registration Form.
Collisions which police will attend include any collision involving a pedestrian, cyclist or person on a wheeled device which is reported immediately and at the scene of the collision.
People cycling and pedestrians can now report at a new reporting centre at the Traffic Services unit station at 9 Hanna Avenue in Liberty Village. It is also operated by Accident Support Services International and available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday (excluding holidays).
The fine for parking in a bicycle lane or cycle track is $150.