Cycling Safety Tips
How to be seen and heard on the road
Because bicycles are one of the smallest vehicles on the road, it is important for cyclists to be as visible as possible to other road users at all times.
By law your bicycle must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector when you ride between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise. As well, the law requires white reflective strips on the front forks and red reflective strips on the rear stays.
Clothing can improve or reduce visibility. Yellow and white stand out best at night; dark colours are difficult to see. Pedal reflectors and reflective material on wrists, ankles, heels, clothing and helmets help others see you.
Dawn and dusk
When riding directly into or away from the sun at these times, leave extra room and be ready for sudden stops or swerves by traffic around you. Be particularly alert at intersections and scan carefully.
An approved bicycle helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death in the event of a fall or collision. A helmet works by absorbing the forces of a crash, so if the helmet has been in a collision, it should be replaced even if there is no visible damage.
Bicycles are very quiet vehicles, so it is important to warn other cyclists and pedestrians of your approach. By law, all bikes must have a working bell or horn to announce your approach. At times it is just as effective and more courteous to shout something like “passing on the left” when overtaking other cyclists and pedestrians.
Cycling Safety Education
Cycling safety education can give you the skills and confidence you need to see commuter cycling for the safe and fun mode of transportation that it is. Thousands of children and adults in the GTHA ride their bikes safely to school and work every day.
CAN-BIKE safe cycling education helps many people make that transition.
CAN-BIKE courses for children and adults are a great resource for learning how to ride a bike from scratch, or how to enjoy a safe and leisurely ride on trails and quiet streets, or how to commute on arterial roads comfortably. They’re also a great way to connect with other cyclists in your community and encourage a cycling revolution at your workplace or school.
CAN-BIKE course descriptions
CAN-BIKE Cycling Safety Workshop (classroom-only) will expand your skill and knowledge, help you to reduce conflicts and give you new safety strategies to keep yourself and others safe. Whether you’re a cyclist or a driver, you will learn new information on road safety from multi-user perspectives.
Adult Learn to Ride 1 is a course for adults who cannot ride a bike. You will learn to balance, start, stop and turn (2 hours)
Adult Learn to Ride 2 is a course for adults who are too unsteady to ride on streets. You will learn to balance, start, turn and use your gears with confidence. (2 hours)
CAN-BIKE 1 and Teen CAN-BIKE are basic courses for cyclists who usually ride on residential streets or bike paths. You will build confidence in low traffic neighbourhoods. (12 hours)
Cycling Freedom for Women is a course for women, taught by women. The course content is similar to CAN-BIKE 1, but addresses specific concerns such as security at night and riding with children. (12 hours)
CAN-BIKE Commuter Cycling Skills is an advanced one-day course geared towards commuter cyclists who already have experience riding in traffic on arterial (major) roads. This course will improve your confidence and skill in riding in challenging traffic situations. (6.5 hours)
CAN-BIKE 2 is an advanced course for commuters and recreational cyclists who already ride in traffic. (18 hours)
Kids CAN-BIKE teaches bicycle basics including steering, signalling, right and left turns, changing gears, braking and avoiding road hazards. Young cyclists are taught to ride safely to school or to the local swimming pool on residential streets. (12 hours)
CAN-BIKE in your community?
Visit the Ontario Cycling Association for more information
Become a CAN-BIKE instructor
- CAN-BIKE 2 completed at a high level of proficiency – above 80%
- CAN-BIKE Instructor Certificate earned through workshop and examination
- Current Standard First Aid certificate
- Current Ontario Cycling Association CAN-BIKE Instructor membership
- For more information contact the Ontario Cycling Association