Traffic laws: The Highway Traffic Act
In Manitoba, the laws that regulate cyclists are contained in The Highway Traffic Act.
The Act has valuable information for both cyclists and motorists regarding the rules of the road. Some of the sections that apply specifically to cyclists, as well as to cyclists and motorists sharing the road are referenced below.
By definition, a bicycle is propelled by pedals, not a motor.
A "bicycle" means a device having any number of wheels upon which a person sits astride and which is propelled solely by human muscular power through the use of pedals.
By definition, a power-assisted bicycle can be propelled using pedals but also has an electric motor under 500 watts. Power-assisted bicycles cannot exceed 32 km/hr.
A "power-assisted bicycle" means a vehicle that:
a. has a handlebar for steering and pedals,
b. is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground,
c. can be propelled by muscle power applied to the pedals,
d. has an electric motor but no other type of motor, and
i. the motor has a continuous power output rating, measured at its shaft, of 500 W or less,
ii. if engaged by the driver applying muscle power to the pedals, the motor immediately stops providing the vehicle with motive power when the driver stops applying muscle power,
iii. if engaged by a throttle, the motor immediately stops providing the vehicle with motive power when the driver activates a brake, and
iv. the motor cannot provide the vehicle with motive power when it is travelling at more than 32 km/h,
e. bears a permanent manufacturer's label stating that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle under the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, C.R.C., c. 1038, and
f. has either
i. a mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that can be operated by the driver, and if the vehicle has a throttle, is separate from the throttle, or
ii. a mechanism that prevents the motor from engaging until the vehicle is travelling at 3 km/h or more
When riding a power-assisted bicycle, a helmet must be worn.
145(4) Helmet required: power-assisted bicycles- No person shall ride on or operate a power-assisted bicycle on a highway or bicycle facility unless he or she is wearing a properly fitted and fastened protective helmet.
The operator of a power-assisted bicycle must be 14 years of age or older.
145(2) Minimum operator age: power-assisted bicycles- No person shall operate a power-assisted bicycle on a highway or bicycle facility unless he or she is 14 years of age or older.
Always use hand signals when turning and stopping to communicate actions to motorists and ensure intentions are visible and predictable.
125 (1) The driver of a left-hand drive motor vehicle or the operator of a bicycle, power-assisted bicycle, moped or mobility vehicle giving a hand signal shall do so from the left side of the vehicle and
a. to signify a left turn, shall extend his or her left arm horizontally from the vehicle;
b. to signify a right turn, shall extend his or her left arm from the vehicle with the upper arm horizontal and forearm pointing vertically upward; and
c. to signify a stop or a decrease in speed, shall extend his or her left arm from the vehicle with the upper arm horizontal and forearm pointing verticallydownward.
Cyclists and motorists should share the road with respect, courtesy and caution. Cyclists should ride as close to the curb as practicable.
145 (5) Operation next to curb - A person operating a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway shall operate it
a. as closely as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, unless the highway is designated for traffic in one direction and has three or more traffic lanes; or
b. as closely as practicable to the right- or left-hand edge or curb of the roadway, if the highway is designated for traffic in one direction and has three or more traffic lanes.
112(4) Subject to subsection (5), where a driver of a vehicle is proceeding at a slower rate of speed than other traffic he shall
a. drive in the extreme right hand lane where the roadway has 2 or more lanes; or
b. drive as closely as is practicable to the right hand edge or curb of the roadway.
It is dangerous and illegal to ride alongside other cyclists. Cyclists should always ride single file leaving a safe distance between riders.
145 (6) Operation in single file - No person shall operate a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway beside a moped, mobility vehicle, bicycle or power-assisted bicycle that is operating in the same traffic lane.
It is illegal and dangerous to cycle on sidewalks. Leaving the sidewalk to travel across a roadway poses a significant risk.
145 (8) Bicycles on sidewalks- Subject to subsection (9), no person shall operate on a sidewalk a bicycle with a rear wheel the diameter of which exceeds 410 mm.
A white light at the front of a bicycle and a red or amber reflector at the rear of a bicycle are required. Bicycles with a red light at the rear, rather than the required reflector, are much more visible to motorists and other road users.
149 (1) Lamps and reflectors on bicycles- Subject to subsection (3), a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle shall be equipped with
a. A headlamp at the front that casts a white light: and
b. A lamp or reflector at the back that casts a red or amber light or reflection and has a surface area of not less than 25cm2.
Never listen to headphones while on a bicycle. You need to be able to hear things around you and be attentive to the road and your surroundings.
No driver of a motor vehicle or operator of a bicycle shall, while operating the motor vehicle or bicycle on a highway, wear, on both ears, headphones which are used for the purpose of listening to a radio or recording.
Cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists, so both groups need to know and follow the rules of the road and safe practices to ensure the safety of all.
145(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (5) and (6), a person operating a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway or bicycle facility has the same rights and duties as a person driving a motor vehicle on a highway and shall obey all signs and traffic control devices, and all directions of a peace officer.
Don’t carry anything on a bicycle that is large enough to affect your balance or ability to maintain safe control of the bicycle.
147(3) No person shall carry on a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle, or on his or her person while operating or riding on a bicycle or power-assisted bicycle, any object that is of such a size, weight or shape, or is so placed, that it may interfere with the proper operation and control of the vehicle by its operator.
Just as when driving a motor vehicle, you must not operate a bicycle when you have been drinking.
227(1) No person
a. who is in charge of a vehicle other than a motor vehicle or bicycle, or of a horse or other animal, used as a means of conveyance; and
b. who is, through drunkenness, unable to drive or ride it with safety to other persons who are on a highway or bicycle facility;
shall drive or ride the vehicle, bicycle or animal on a highway or bicycle facility.
Anyone under 18 in Manitoba must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet while cycling.
2(1) For the purpose of section 145.0.1 of the Act, a protective helmet is not suitable for cycling use unless it is free of damage that or modification that would reduce its effectiveness or be a danger to the wearer or another person and it complies with
a. Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSAD113.2- M89, Cycling Helmets;
b. Snell Memorial Foundation standard B-95, 1995 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use with Bicycles;
c. Snell Memorial Foundation standard B-90, 1990 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling;
d. Snell Memorial Foundation standard N-94, 1994 Standard for Protective Headgear: for Use in Non-Motorized Sports;
e. American National Standards Institute standard ANSI 290.4-1984. American National Standard for Protective Headgear for Bicyclists:
f. American Society for Testing and Materials standard ASTM F 144 7-94. Standard Specification for Protective Headgear Used in Bicycling;
g. Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets. Part 1203 of Title 16. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations:
h. European Committee for Standardization standard EN 1078:2012, Helmets for Pedal Cyclists and for Users of Skateboards and Roller Skates:
i. Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand standard AS/NZS 2063:2008. Bicycle Helmets;
j. a standard for protective helmets that provides for helmets that are of comparable protective quality to any of the above standards.
When is a protective helmet not required?
3(1) Subsection 145.0.1( I) does not apply to a person if wearing a protective helmet is contrary to a bona fide obligation of the religious faith to which the person subscribes.
3(2) Subsection 145.0.1(2)does notapp1y to a child's parent or guardian if wearing a protective helmet is contrary to a bona fide obligation of the religious faith to which the child subscribes.
3(3) Subsection 145.0.1(3) does not apply to a bicycle's driver if wearing a protective helmet is contrary to a bona fide obligation of the religious faith to which the child passenger subscribes.
First offences - alternative disposition
4(1) When a person is given an offence notice, within the meaning of subsection 13( I) of The Summary Convictions Act, in respect of the person's first contravention of section 145.0.1 of the Act. the person must, in accordance with subsections (2). (3). (5) and (6), participate in and complete the Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course to be eligible to have the prosecution of the offence dismissed under clause 145.0.1(7)(b) of the Act.
4(2) To be eligible to have the prosecution of the offence dismissed under clause 145.0.1 (7)(b) of the Act. the person charged with the offence must complete the Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course on or before the due date shown in the offence notice for the offence.
4 (3) The Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course is available in two versions as follows:
a. an online version may be accessed at www. bikehelmetcourse.ca;
b. a paper-based version may be accessed by telephoning 1 -866-788-3648 and asking for a copy to be mailed.
4 (4) A person who is required to participate in the Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course Is encouraged to access the online version of the course unless the person does not have access to a computer with an internet connection.
4(5) The online version of the Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course is to be completed as follows:
1. The participant Is to provide online answers to a preliminary questionnaire about bicycle helmet safety.
2. After completing the preliminary questionnaire, the participant is to view a brief online video about bicycle helmet safety.