Whether you are a new or experienced cyclist, you should ensure that your bicycle is in good working condition and is equipped with all required accessories before you begin your commute or journey. See each tip below to learn more about the basics of bike safety.
A bicycle must be equipped with the following items, as required by law from the Ministry of Transportation:
While they are not required, the following items are recommended for adults:
Choose a helmet that fits correctly and features a CSA, Snell, ANSI, ASTM British Standard or Australian Standard sticker, which shows that the helmet meets legislated standards.
To ensure your helmet fits correctly, perform a 2-4-1 “helmet salute:”
Ontario’s mandatory bicycle helmet law requires all children under 18 who are riding or operating a bicycle to wear an approved bicycle helmet. Parents or guardians are liable to be fined $75 for not ensuring their children under 16 are wearing a helmet, while children aged 16 and 17 years old can be fined directly.
Bicycles are not equipped with turn signals or brake lights, so people cycling must use their hands to communicate with other road users when approaching an intersection, turning or changing lanes.
With your arm outstretched and palm flat, perform the following actions depending on your direction of travel:
When changing lanes while cycling, perform the following steps:
People cycling year-round should wear:
To protect against sun burn and melanoma, wear sunscreen when riding in the summer months, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should have a SPF of 15 or higher and be waterproof.
When cycling in the rain, wear fluorescent clothing to account for the decreased visibility.
Avoid layering too much to avoid overheating. Instead, wear a close-fitting, breathable base layer under a jersey or shirt to keep your core warm.
A waterproof jacket and pants are ideal in cold and wet conditions.
Accessories such as headbands or balaclavas that can fit under a helmet and weather-resistant gloves will make your ride more comfortable.
Before beginning each ride, perform an ABCD check on your bicycle to ensure it is in good working order and is safe to ride.
A – Air and everything to do with the tires
B – Brakes, bars and bell (or horn)
C – Chain and crank
D – Drop
If you notice any items that need attention during the ABCD check, contact your local bike shop to schedule a complete tune-up.