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The Province of Alberta and the City of Edmonton created the cycling laws that help protect cyclists and others who share transportation facilities.

The Province of Alberta Traffic Safety Act, The City of Edmonton Traffic Bylaw #5590 and The City of Edmonton Parkland Bylaw #2202 contain formal regulations regarding bicycle traffic and use of transportation and parkland facilities.

Edmonton’s network of paths are shared by many users. We can keep our paths safe by showing courtesy and respect to all users. The following tips will help ensure that all path users have a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Slow down
  • Ring bell to pass
  • Keep right
  • Pass on the left
Rules For The Roads

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles and must obey all rules of the road. They're allowed on all roads as well as shared-use pathways, bike lanes and bike routes.

License and Registration

Bicycles are not required to be licensed or registered. A bicycle license is not required for police officers to enforce the current traffic laws. Cyclists are accountable in the same way that motor vehicle drivers are, and may be ticketed in accordance with local and provincial legislation.

Cyclist Insurance Fact Sheet

Give Each Other Space

Cyclists must ride as close to the curb as is safe and only ride in single file except when passing another vehicle. When cyclists and motorists pass one another, give each other space -- 1 metre (3 feet) is best. When 1 metre is not available cyclists should consider using a bike lane.

Give Space

Don’t Squeeze

Cyclists should not pass between two occupied vehicles, even if they are stopped at a red light.

Don't Squeeze

The Door Zone

Use caution and be mindful of the door zone when cycling past or exiting a parked car. The Door Zone is the area along the side of a parked car where an opening door can hit and seriously injure a cyclist.

Door Zone

On Your Bike

When riding in a bike lane, ride on the left side of the lane-away from parked cars. Try to look inside each parked car before you pass. If you’re unable to see if someone is inside, or if you spot someone inside, move outside the Door Zone or slow down and pass carefully.

In Your Car

When parked on the side of the road, do a shoulder check, over your left shoulder before opening your door to ensure there are no oncoming cyclists. Opening the door with your right hand will remind you to do a shoulder check.

Rules For Sidewalks

Shared-Use Path SignCycling on the sidewalk is not permitted except for bikes with a 50 cm wheel diameter or less, such as kids’ bikes.

Standard size bicycles are only allowed on signed, shared-use sidewalks that are 2.5 meters wide or greater and shared-use paths.

Where permitted by signs to use a sidewalk, always give right-of-way to pedestrians and always give audible warning of your approach.

Cycling on Sidewalks Factsheet

Rules for Trails and Parks

Shared-use paths and trails are used for a variety of activities, including walking, running and cycling.

Park and Trail Hours

Hours of Operation: 5am to 11pm daily

Parks and trails are monitored by Park Rangers, who provide bylaw enforcement and education to park users.

Trail and Shared-Use Path Safety

Cyclists are responsible for following:

  • Bicycles must have a working bell - $100 ticket for no bell or one that doesn't work
  • Cyclists must sound their bell before passing pedestrians or slower trail users - $250 ticket for failing to alert pedestrians before passing
  • Slow down when you approach slower users and pass on the left side
  • Obey trail signs and park closures
  • Do not bike or disturb trails that are less than 0.5 meters wide, as they are part of the natural landscape or wildlife routes
Required Bike Equipment

Cyclists are required to have certain equipment based on provincial and municipal regulations. Essential equipment when cycling:

  • A bell or horn
  • A bicycle brake
  • When cycling at night a white headlamp, a red tail lamp and a red rear reflector
  • If under the age of 18, a helmet

Helmets

Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Part 6 Division 5 Section 111 & 112:

  • Cyclists younger than 18 are required by law to wear an approved bicycle helmet
  • Children in trailers and on trail-a-bikes are required by law to wear an approved bicycle helmet
  • Adults are encouraged to wear a helmet
  • Helmets must meet ANSI, Snell or CSA standards to provide enough protection
Make Sure It Fits
  • The helmet fits snugly, is level front to back, and sits an inch above your eyebrows
  • Adjust the straps so the 'V' is below you ears and you can fit two fingers between your chin and the strap

Brakes

By law bicycles must be equipped with adequate steering and brakes that will lock wheels on dry, clean, level pavement.

Bicycle Equipment – Part 6 Division 5 Section 113

Tips
  • You may not stop in time if you brake with only one hand
  • Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, wet brakes are less effective
  • Contact Bikeworks for advice and workshops about keeping a bike in good repair

Bell

Cyclists must sound a warning device, such as a horn or bell, before passing pedestrians on shared-use pathways and must always give them the right of way. 

City of Edmonton Traffic Bylaw 5590 - Part III Sidewalks and Boulevards - Section 50

Alberta Traffic Safety Act - Horn, Bell - Section 60

Lights and Reflectors

When riding after dark, bicycles must have a front headlight, a red tail light and a red rear reflector. Reflective vests and other lightly coloured clothes with reflective tape are recommended for extra visibility.

Bicycle Equipment – Part 6 Division 5 Section 113

Recommended Bike Equipment

Cyclists should consider using the following equipment to improve visibility and safety:

  • Brightly-coloured and weather specific clothing
  • Padded cycling gloves
  • Protective or sun glasses
  • A flag on your trailer
  • Pack or a rack

Appropriate Clothing

Brightly coloured or reflective clothing make cyclists more visible on roads and paths. Weather specific clothing will keep you warm, dry, and prepared for any temperature changes. Glasses and gloves will protect you from dust and debris. Wear a helmet with a hard outer shell and crushable, foam lining. Don’t wear headphones or earbuds, hearing traffic is an essential part of safe riding.

Use Flags on Bicycle Trailers

Trailers may be difficult for motorists to see. Use a red flag on the trailer at rider height to alert motorists of your presence.

Use a Pack or Rack

Saddlebags, racks, baskets and small backpacks are great ways to free your hands for safe riding.

Seasonal Considerations

Spring

Riding Technique

Neighbourhood sweeping may not be complete, watch for sand, trash, ice and gravel.

  • Don't ride over sand or gravel, it may puncture your tires or make you skid
  • Avoid puddles they reduce your road traction and may contain potholes or ice
Check Tire Condition

This is a good time to do a quick visual inspection of your tires

  • Look for cracks, splits or tears, worn out or uneven tread
  • If in doubt, change a tire 
Messy Streets and Muddy Trails
  • Keep your chain clean and well greased
  • Consider getting full fenders or mud guards
  • Wait until the mud firms up to avoid tearing up the trail
Test Your Brakes
  • Take a spin around the block and make sure you can stop within a reasonable distance without having to pull hard on your brake levers
  • Look for and replace worn or damaged brakes
  • Make sure your brake pads are properly aligned
  • Check and adjust any slack in the brake cable
  • If you do not know how to inspect and adjust braking system, have your local bike shop do it for you

Fall

Adapting to the changing weather is just as important as adjusting to the changing cycling conditions.

Stay Alert

Those dry, packed trails or clean city streets that you got used to over the summer can change suddenly as the leaves drop, hiding fallen tree branches, mud holes or potholes and making corners slick.

Check Tire Pressure  

As temperatures drop so can your tire pressure. Check your tire pressure frequently and top up your tires more often.

Tire Tread for Slick Conditions 

Consider changing your tires to ones with more robust tread, leaves create slick conditions.

Stay Dry

Consider mudguards or a fender to protect your clothes from wet conditions.

Lighting

As the days grow shorter check your lights, give them a full charge or replace the batteries if they haven’t been used over the summer months.

Clothing Considerations

Layers

Dressing in layers is the key to staying comfortable during fall’s changeable weather.

Gloves

Protect your hands with a pair of thin, windproof gloves. Just make sure they have plenty of grip so you are in control while steering, changing gears, or braking.

Shoe Covers 

Insulate your feet from cold and the wet weather. There are a number of design possibilities - small slip-on toe covers, thin booties that cover the whole foot, and even thick insulated neoprene booties for really cold days.

Be Seen

Low visibility is an issue for cyclists as the days shorten. Wearing lighter-coloured clothing or better yet, reflective clothing or a reflective safety vest will light you up and make you more visible to drivers.

Winter

A little snow and cold weather doesn’t stop us from enjoying the outdoors on skates and skis. Why not bike year around as well?

Winter Bike Riding Tips

Extend your journey with transit. You can take your bike on LRT during off peak hours, and all full-sized City buses have bike racks.

Bikes on ETS

For More Information

311 Contact Centre

Online Contact 311 Online
Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
Email 311@edmonton.ca

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