Safe Cycling

Pathway Etiquette

Communicating with other pathway users helps everyone stay safe by working together. Check out our safety video, co-produced with Safer Roads Ottawa, to learn how you can help keep our pathways safe.

Bike Safety ABCs

It takes air, brakes, and a well-functioning chain to keep your bike rolling safely. Check out our bike safety ABCs video, co-produced with Safer Roads Ottawa, to learn these basics of safely maintaining your bike.

Lights On Bikes

Ontario requires you to have a white light on the front of your bike, and a red light or reflector on the rear to ensure that drivers, pedestrians and other bike riders can see you riding when there is low or no light. There are also requirements to add relective materials to your bike. All the details can be found in subsection 62 (17) of the Highway Traffic Act.

Check out our safety video, co-produced with Safer Roads Ottawa, to learn more about the importance of having lights on your bike.


Don’t get doored! Really. There is a danger zone for cyclists next to parked cars.

For cyclists:

For your own safety, ride at least one metre away from motor vehicles. That is the only way to prevent getting doored – and it works. Don’t let anyone push you any closer. Take the lane, don’t fear for intimidation, the vast majority of drivers understand why you do this. That way, even if a motorist opens a door without warning, you’re far enough away to avoid it. If you need to move left to do this, remember to signal and shoulder check first.

A car door springs open in only a few seconds. If a cyclist is passing by at that moment close to the car, the cyclist cannot avoid the door, and will be knocked off balance or onto the ground, leading to serious injuries and possibly death. This is a major cause of collisions. In Toronto, it is the most common cause of downtown cycling collisions.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible for cyclists to see in advance whether a vehicle door is about to open. Tinted windows and high headrests make it impossible to see from behind if a car is occupied, and a door flies open in only a few seconds – not enough time to react.

For motorists:

You (and your passengers) are responsible for checking for traffic – including cyclists – before opening a car door. And you will be charged under section 165 of the Highway Traffic Act if you cause a collision because you didn’t check.

If you see cyclists riding one metre away from parked cars, please do not honk or yell at them for riding there, even if they slow you down for a brief time. This is a safety issue and cyclists need to stay out of this danger zone.


Ottawa’s road suffer from harsh winters. Potholes are common, especially in the second half of winter and in early spring.

Besides potholes, you can get stuck in cracks that can grab bicycle wheels or grates or other ironworks that are missing, or broken, or surrounded by missing asphalt. Rain and melting snow can hide potholes and clogged drains. Don’t ride through deep puddles!

Your best defense is to look ahead, ride at least 1 metre away from the curb (avoiding many of the problems), and ride around, not over, potholes, cracks, or ironworks.

And any time you see one of these, please report it so it gets fixed!

Call: 311