Road Safety



Road safety

Cycling injuries


Do I have to wear a helmet?

In Manitoba, it’s the law that cyclists under 18 wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet. Parents or guardians are responsible for making sure children wear a bicycle helmet and can be ticketed under The Highway Traffic Act. Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 can be fined directly or have to complete a bike helmet safety course.

Adults are encouraged to be a role model for children and wear a helmet every time they cycle.

Click here for more information.

How do I choose the right helmet?

The helmet should be approved by a recognized safety standards organization such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Snell Memorial Foundation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

A cycling helmet should fit snugly on your head, even with the chin strap undone. Most helmet manufacturers provide a variety of foam pads that can be adjusted to fit a range of head sizes. Once fitted, you should be able to move your head from side to side or back and forth without the helmet tipping off.

To ensure you're visible to motorists, choose a helmet that is bright in colour. The helmet should also provide adequate ventilation to keep you comfortable, even in warmer temperatures.

Click here to learn how to fit your helmet correctly.

How do I know if my helmet needs replacing?

Follow the manufacturer’s suggested care recommendations and handle your helmet with care. A safety certified helmet typically lasts three to five years. If your helmet is hit hard, has visible signs of damage or if you have been in a collision, it should be replaced.

Helmet standards and quality change over time and many older helmets do not meet current requirements.

For additional signs that your helmet needs to be replaced click here.

How do I choose what type of bike I should ride?

A bicycle that is too large for the rider can be difficult to control and manoeuvre. Before you ride, there are a few things you should check to make sure your bicycle is the right fit for you.

To learn more, click here.

How can I be visible when cycling at night?

Wearing bright colours such as yellow or orange, will help you stand out at night. Reflective material on your clothing, backpack or side saddle bags will also help others to see you.

You are required by law to have a white light at the front of your bicycle and a red or amber reflector at the rear of your bike.

Pedal or ankle reflectors, white reflective strips on your front fork and red reflective tape on your chain stays can also help to make you more visible. As well, reflective bands on your wrists make hand signals more visible.

Click here for more information.

What do I need to do before I ride to make sure my bicycle is in good working order?

The ABC Quick Check is an easy and effective way to ensure that your bicycle is in working order.

The short version of the ABC Quick Check is performed somewhat in reverse and takes less than a minute to do:

Check - Pick your bike up about 100 mm (three to four in.) off the ground and drop it. Did anything rattle or fall off?

Quick - If you have quick releases on your wheels and seat, make sure they are tight and are not easy to open.

C - Check the chain to ensure that it is well-lubricated.

B - Pull both brake levers and make sure that they do not pull all the way back to the handlebars. With both brakes engaged, rock your bike back and forth checking for any play in the steering.

A – Check that both tires are fully inflated.

Click here for the full version and for more information.

Road safety

Can I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk?

It is against the law to ride on sidewalks unless the diameter of your rear wheel is 410 mm (16 in.) or less.

Where can I ride my bike on the road?

The Highway Traffic Act does not define "as close as practicable" or specify the distance cyclists should keep from parked cars, so you must use your judgment in determining the best position to ride based on the conditions. Experienced cyclists recommend you ride approximately one metre (3 ft.) from the curb or edge of the road and 1.5 metres (5 ft.) from parked cars to avoid the door zone.

Under some conditions, cyclists may have to ride further away from the edge of the road or curb. For more information, see Traffic Skills.

How do I use the new cycling infrastructure?

In recent years, awareness of active transportation and the demand for better cycling facilities has resulted in the development of several new types of infrastructure.

Understanding how to use and share these new facilities, particularly road infrastructure, is vital to the safety of all road users.

Click here to find out more about the different types of infrastructure.

What are the correct hand signals to use when cycling?

Communication through appropriate hand signals is one of the key factors in cycling safely. When motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians know what you are intending to do, it is safer for everyone.

Click here to view the different hand signals.

Where can I find information on The Highway Traffic Act as it relates to bicycles?

The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) has valuable information for both cyclists and motorists regarding the rules of the road.

Click here to see the sections of the HTA that apply to cyclists.

I want to ride my bicycle year-round. How can I be prepared for changing weather conditions?

Weather conditions can create hazards for cyclists, so knowing what to do and how to prepare will make it easier to cycle year-round.

Click here to find out what steps you can take to ensure you're ready for all conditions.

What is the proper way to make lane changes when cycling on the road?

Always shoulder check well in advance to determine the best opportunity to change lanes. You may have to shoulder check several times before signalling and changing lanes. If necessary, slow down and wait for traffic to clear before proceeding.

When traffic conditions permit, you can make multiple lane changes in one smooth transition.

Cycling injuries

How many cycling collision injuries are there per year?

In Canada, approximately 7,500 cyclists suffer serious injuries each year and another 70,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for cycling-related injuries.

In Manitoba, on average three cyclists are killed and more than 185 are injured each year.

For more cycling related statistics, please see: Cycling injuries in Manitoba and Canada– the facts.

What are the most common causes for collisions between cyclists and motorists?

There are many causes for bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. The most common are not following the rules of the road, failing to yield the right of way, not seeing the cyclist and squeezing cyclists to the edge of the road.