Cycling is fun, good for the environment and great exercise. However, before you make cycling part of your daily commute to work, school or anywhere that involves traveling with traffic, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with your bike, you understand the rules of the road and you have the right gear.
Before your children put their feet to the pedals, make sure they have the necessary skills to do so safely. 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 be required to complete a bike-helmet safety course.
Before you take your bike on the road, it’s important that your comfortable riding it. Be confident in your ability to:
For more on hand signals and how bikes should navigate roads and traffic, see the Sharing the Road page.
In Manitoba, the laws that regulate cyclists are contained in The Highway Traffic Act. In summary, those laws include:
It is against the law to ride on sidewalks unless the diameter of your rear wheel is 410 millimetres (16 inches) or less.
Several studies have proven that cyclists on sidewalks face a far greater collision risk than cyclists on the roadway, the main concern being at intersections.
Under Manitoba law, it’s compulsory for anyone under 18 years old to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet when cycling. However, we strongly encourage all cyclists wear helmets, especially if they will be sharing the road with vehicles. In nearly 90 per cent of cases where cyclists were killed in a collision with a vehicle, the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.
Other equipment to consider that will make your ride safer includes:
All road users need to keep an eye out for hazards. Use caution when riding on slippery or uneven surfaces and loose material, and keep an eye out for debris, potholes and cracks.
When you’re on the road, you should be constantly scanning ahead looking for potential dangers. If you spot a hazard, slow down. At night or in poor riding conditions, be extremely cautious – spotting a hazard early and reacting calmly can help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
Be careful of wet surfaces, oil slicks, snow and ice. If you cannot avoid riding on slippery surfaces:
Loose material on road surfaces, such as sand, gravel, mud or leaves, may make paved roads slippery. When approaching loose material on a roadway:
Try to avoid crossing rough surfaces such as bumps, broken pavement or potholes. If you cannot avoid them:
To book a cycling safety presentation for your community group, school or business, please visit our Road Safety Community Presentations page for more information. (Currently, only virtual presentations are available due to COVID-19.)
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