Cyclists need to be proactive and assertive and should always plan turns in advance, especially on multi-lane roadways. Appropriate positioning and communication with motorists at intersections can make turns safe. When making turns, use hand signals well in advance so the vehicles behind you know your intentions.
When beginning a right turn, experienced cyclists recommend signalling and moving closer to the middle of the right-most lane (to maximize your visibility). Be sure to maintain that position and follow the same path that a motor vehicle would take until you have completed the turn. Once the turn is completed, signal and return to the right-most practicable position.
Left turns are more complicated, take more planning and require you to move over into active traffic lanes. Never make a left turn from the right side of the road.
Remember to 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.
- After signalling, and when the coast is clear, begin moving to the left to position yourself for a left turn.
- Experienced cyclists recommend signalling and moving closer to the centre of the left turning lane. This position ensures your visibility and prevents other vehicles behind from passing on the left or right.
- Check oncoming traffic, including any vehicles turning right onto the same road you are entering.
- Once on-coming traffic is clear, make your left turn following the same path that a motor vehicle would take, arriving in the centre of the lane. Once established after the turn, signal and return to the right-most practicable position.
Moving across multiple lanes
On multi-lane roadways, you must plan your turns well in advance as you may have to negotiate your position gradually across the lanes. When traffic conditions permit, you can make multiple lane changes in one smooth transition. If necessary, slow down and wait for traffic to clear before making a lane change.
When turning onto a roadway with multiple lanes, always travel from left lane to left lane (inside to inside). Once you have completed the turn, be sure to shoulder check, signal and move over one lane at a time until you establish the appropriate position along the right side.
Multiple turn lanes
When faced with more than one turn lane, you must pick the lane best suited to your destination. For instance, if you are turning left at the intersection, chose the right most turn lane in order to arrive in the right most lane (path 2) after the turn.
However, if you are planning a second left turn at the next intersection, you would be better positioned in the inside or left most turn lane (path 1). You would then arrive on the left side after the initial turn, already positioned to make your next turn only one block away.
A pedestrian turn is an alternative that you can use if you're unable to negotiate the appropriate lane changes to make a turn. In situations where traffic is heavy or high-speed, a pedestrian turn can be the safest option.
To make a pedestrian turn, proceed straight through the intersection on the right and dismount on the other side. From there, you will be able to walk across the roadway as a pedestrian. Once on the other side of the roadway, you can remount and proceed when traffic conditions permit.
Remember that cyclists riding bicycles with a wheel diameter over 410 mm (16 in.) are not permitted to ride on a crosswalk.