True or False? Four Things for Cyclists to Know

Legal News

Riding a bike is an enjoyable and healthy way to get around. To keep it that way – and avoid problems – here are four things you should know.

You must be visible and signal your intentions

True. Whether at night or during the day, you must ensure you are visible to others on the road. Your bike must therefore be equipped with reflectors in front, in back, on the wheels, and on the pedals. You must also have lights when riding at night: a white one in front and a red one in the back.

You must also signal what you are about to do, particularly when you intend to turn or stop:

  • To turn left, extend your left arm horizontally.
  • To turn right, extend your right arm out horizontally or your left arm out horizontally with your hand and forearm raised upward.

If you don’t follow these rules, you could face a fine of $80 to 100$

You can’t get demerit points

True. Since 2018, you can’t get demerit points for cycling infractions. However, the amount you can be fined has gone up. It used to be $15 to $30 and is now $80 to $100.

You can ride on the sidewalk

False. You must ride your bike as far to the right as possible on the road, and you must ride in the same direction as traffic. Of course, you can go farther from the right side to avoid being “doored” by a car or to avoid an obstacle or problem on the road surface.

Also, you don’t have to stay as far to the right as possible:

  • if you are turning left
  • if the road signs indicate you can ride in the opposite direction of traffic
  • in case of necessity, for example, to avoid a danger

You can’t get compensation from the SAAQ if you’re in an accident

False. If you’re in an accident involving a car, you may be eligible for compensation from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (Quebec automobile insurance board).

However, if you have an accident involving another cyclist or a pedestrian (but not a car) you won’t be eligible for compensation from the SAAQ. You could sue the other person for damages if you believe they were at fault and you suffered some harm, for example, a physical injury or damage to your bike. To learn more about this, see our article Civil Liability: Receiving Compensation for Damages.