Safety Tips & Regulations
When riding on the road, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. The following tips can enhance your safety on the road.
- Helmet Use: in BC, all cyclists are required by law to wear an approved helmet. Got Wheels? Get a Helmet! Checklist shows how to fit and wear your helmet.
- Bicycle Lights: after dark, all cyclists are required by law to have a front white light visible for a minimum of 150 metres, a rear red light that should be visible for a minimum of 100 metres and a red rear reflector visible for a minimum of 100 metres.
- Reflective Materials: it is particularly important to increase your visibility after dark, at dawn or dusk, or in difficult weather conditions such as rain, fog or snow. Wear brightly coloured clothing and/or a safety vest with reflective strips. Put reflective materials on your bike and clothing including front forks and rear stays, wheels, pedals, helmets, wrists and ankles. Reflective bands or lights on wrists make hand signals more visible.
- Avoid the Door Zone: leave enough space (at least 1 metre) when passing parked vehicles in case the driver or a passenger opens a door.
- Hand Signals: use hand signals well in advance of any turn and always do a shoulder check for traffic before you signal a turn. The correct sequence is:
- Keep both hands on the handlebars and scan backwards over your left shoulder for traffic.
- If the way is clear, signal and proceed with the turn, and keep shoulder checking for approaching traffic or change in traffic patterns.
- If traffic will obstruct the turn, wait until the way is clear, then check again and if clear, proceed following Points 1 and 2 above.
- Stay Off Sidewalks: do not ride on sidewalks or in crosswalks unless otherwise directed by a sign.
Electric-Assist Bicycles and Scooters
Section 182.1 of the Motor Vehicle Act enables adults 16 years of age and older to use a bicycle with a small electric motor (a motor-assisted cycle or MAC) without requiring a special licence. ICBC has a Fact Sheet that details regulations and requirements for MACs as well as motorized scooters and skateboards.
Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations
Cyclists may ride on most roads except for certain restricted provincial highways and tunnels as per Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. Cyclists are required to ride on the sidewalks of certain designated bridges. The full cycling-specific legal requirements of the Motor Vehicle Act are found in Sections 182.1, 183 and 184.