Same Roads ~ Same Rules ~ Same Rights

The Southern Georgian Bay area boasts a vast array of natural attractions that make it a wonderful place in which to live, visit and explore.  What better way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area than by bike. Both on-road and off-road trails abound that not only support inquisitive visitors, but locals wanting to leave their car at home to bike to work, school, the park or the store. However, this means bicyclists and motorists often find themselves having to share the road. We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable experience on our roads. When both bicyclists and motorists drive with care and courtesy, it is easy to share the road.

WAYS BICYCLISTS CAN IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY

As vehicles under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities on public roadways as motorists. Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. When you as a bicyclist fail to obey the rules of the road, you lose the support of motorists! Do your part by being a good ambassador for bicycling! Below are some suggestions on how you can help improve your safety and the safety of others on our roads.

Follow Rules of the Road

• Obey all traffic laws, signs and signals.

Ride on the Right

• Always ride in the same direction as traffic, far enough from the road edge to ride in a straight line.
• You may occupy any part of a lane when it is safe to do so, e.g. toavoid obstacles, or if the lane isn’t wide enough to safely pass.  Otherwise, ride in single file.

Be Predictable

• Ride in a straight line – don’t weave around obstacles.
• Stay about one metre from the edge/curb or parked cars to avoid hazards.
• Use hand signals to communicate turns and stops to other road users.

Be Visible

• Wear brightly coloured clothing, including reflectors.
• Use lights in low light conditions (red rear, white front).
• Stay out of motorists’ blind spots – especially truck drivers.
• Make eye contact with motorists – it’s the best way to know they see you.

Be Courteous

• When riding in groups, leave gaps to allow space for motorists or other bicyclists to pass.
• Acknowledge motorists with a wave when they’ve passed you safely.
• Yield to pedestrians. Warn others with a ring of your bell or friendly greeting before passing.

Take Care of Your Gear and Yourself

• Your bike is a machine and works best and safest when it is well-maintained.
• Wear a helmet and make sure it fits correctly.

WAYS MOTORISTS CAN IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY

Bicyclists are more vulnerable road users than motorists. They are smaller, quieter and have no “crumple zone”.  A small mistake by a motorist can result in serious injury or death to a cyclist. Motorists must respect the rights of other road users, including bicyclists. Below are some suggestions on how you can help improve your safety and the safety of others on our roads.

Pass with Care

• Treat a bicyclist as you would any slow moving vehicle.
• Pass only when the road ahead is clear.
• Slow down when passing, especially if the road is narrow.
• Give at least one metre of space between you and a bicyclist when passing.
• Check over your shoulder before moving back into your travel lane to make sure you have left enough space.

Yield to Bicyclists

• When turning left, yield to oncoming bicyclists. Experienced bicyclists can travel 30 to 40 km/hr and can be moving faster than you think.
• Do not make a right hand turn in front of bicyclists. Assume they are travelling through unless they signal otherwise.

Watch for Bicyclists

• Expect to see bicyclists on the road. Bicyclists may ride one metre from the road edge, but can occupy any part of a lane if safety warrants, e.g. to avoid obstacles, to turn left, or if the lane isn’t wide enough for a motorist to safely pass.
• Check for bicyclists before opening your car door.
• Children on bicycles are often unpredictable.
• Expect the unexpected and drive with caution. Do not honk your horn for an extended period – it can startle bicyclists and cause them to swerve into traffic.