Rights and Duties of Cycle Operators

Cyclist"Are there rules for riding bicycles?" a reader asks after narrowly missing a collision with a bicyclist. "They seem to ride wherever they feel like it. How is a driver supposed to know what bicycle riders are going to do?"

The most significant concept in the Motor Vehicle Act is that the rider of a bicycle has the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle.

The right is to use the highway in the same manner as the driver of a car or truck, with some limitations. The right is also to have the driver of a motor vehicle treat the cyclist in the same manner as they are required treat the driver of another motor vehicle.

The cyclist must ride as nearly as possible to the right hand side of the highway in single file, but is not expected to ride off of the pavement. In other words, motor vehicles and bicycles must share the road with each other.

The duties that the cyclist has include the rules of the road that drivers are subject to. They must obey speed limits, stop at stop signs, ride on the correct side of the highway and give arm signals so that other traffic knows what the rider intends to do. They are also required to report collisions that result in injury or total damage in excess of $100 when these occur on a highway or sidewalk.

A number of specific duties are required of cyclists. Most are common sense, such as keeping at least one hand on the handlebars, being seated properly on the seat, carrying only the number of passengers that the bicycle is designed for and having proper lights and reflectors when riding at night.

Sidewalks and crosswalks must not be used by cyclists unless permitted by a by-law or directed to do so by a sign.

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