Ottawa Bicycle Lawyer | Bicycle Laws

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act gives cyclists all of the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers and operators of other motor vehicles. In addition,  here are some laws that are unique to bicycle riders. 

First,  bikers must ride as close as they can to the right curb of the road, except when:

  • Travelling at the regular speed of traffic
  • Avoiding hazardous conditions  (this refers to sewer grates, potholes etc.)
  • The roadway is too narrow for a bike and a vehicle to travel side by side safely
  • Riding alongside another cyclist in a manner that does not impede the normal movement of traffic
  • Preparing to make a left turn, passing another vehicle, or using a one-way street (in which case riding alongside the left curb is permitted)

In Ottawa, bikes are not allowed on sidewalks. 

Second, bike helmets must be worn by all cyclists who are under the age of 18. (We think everyone should wear a helmet.)

Third, bicycles are allowed on multi-use pathways. However, all cyclists should follow these guidelines:

  • Stay to the right
  • Pass other path users only if it is safe to do so
  • Give noticec with your bell or your voice when you are passing
  • Keep your speed to a rate suitable for a shared pathway (i.e. less than 20 km/hr)


Fourth,  bicycles in Ottawa are required to be equipped with the following equipment:

  •  horn or bell
  •  brake on the rear wheel able to skid that wheel on dry, level pavement
  •  front white light that can be seen from 150 metres
  •  rear red light or red reflector
  •  two white strips of reflective tape on your front forks measuring 125mm x 25mm
  •  two red strips of reflective tape on your rear forks


The lighting rules (in red) apply for riding between 30 minutes pre-sunset and 30 minutes post-sunset and anytime there is reduced visibility. 

Are you injured in a bike accident and need an accident lawyer?  The Ottawa, Ontario accident lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can assist you by explaining your legal rights. Call us today at (613) 233-4529 or email us at [email protected].

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