Community Bicycle Safety

Now that summer has arrived and many cyclists will be transitioning from ‘recreation’ to ‘transportation’, a quick reminder of the rules of the road surrounding bikes is always helpful. Shedding light on some of the basic traffic laws affecting cyclists so that everyone can be as safe as possible is important for the safety of all residents in Calgary communities. See below for cyclist rules taken from Section 41 (Bicycles) of Calgary’s Traffic Bylaw 26M96:

  1. Young cyclists (14 years old and younger) are allowed to ride bikes on the sidewalk
  2. Mature cyclists (15 years old and older) are NOT permitted to ride on the sidewalk
  3. Cyclists of any age are NOT permitted to ride on crosswalks. This includes intersections as well as pedestrian crossings. While many cyclists hit the button at crosswalks and ride across, this is not actually permitted.
  4. Treat a cyclist on the road as you would any vehicle.
  5. Cyclists are entitled to the entire width of the traffic lane, though most ride to the side in order to let cars pass.
  6. Helmets are required only for young cyclists (14 years old and younger) riding on sidewalks.
  7. Cyclists must follow all motor vehicle driving regulations (this includes impaired and distracted driving legislation as well as signalling etc.)
  8. Cyclists are required to have a bell. For night riding, a front headlight as well as a rear red tail is also required.
  9. Using a motor vehicle to intimidate cyclists or pedestrians is a chargeable offence.

Etiquette, ambiguity and advice:

  1. Pedestrians have the right-of-way on MUPs (multi-user pathways).
  2. A cyclist should ring their bell when approaching pedestrians from behind on MUPs and anticipate passing on the left while pedestrians move to the right. All bets are off with small children and animals.
  3. Cyclists and pedestrians should stay on the right-hand side of an MUP unless passing, as should their dogs, strollers etc.
  4. Pedestrians/joggers should never use designated bike lanes.
  5. Earbuds are not a good idea when cycling in traffic.
  6. When a sidewalk doubles as an MUP (ie: it has a yellow line painted down the centre), pedestrians have the right-of-way.
  7. ‘Share the Road’ translates as: ‘Don’t Be a Jerk’ and applies to both cyclists and motorists.

More Calgary Traffic Bylaws can be found at the website.

Content provided by the City of Calgary. 

One thought on “Community Bicycle Safety

  1. Excellent article Colin. Thanks for posting this. In recent years, 3 of my adult friends suffered injuries while riding a bicycle. One has a permanent head injury and one died of the injuries. Bike safety is serious business.

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