Keep reading for everything you need to know to have a safe (and courteous) ride.
Ride on the road
In cities like Toronto, the expansion of the bike share program means more designated bike lanes – which makes it easy for beginners! If you see a bike lane, then you can bet that’s where you should be riding.
If you don’t spot any bike lanes, then ride as close to the right side of the road as you can. While cycling on most roads is acceptable, remember that you should never ride your bike:
- On controlled access highways (think the 400-series)
- Across a road with a pedestrian crossing – you should walk your bike over
Use hand signals
Drivers have horns and blinkers to communicate with others; cyclists have bicycle signal lights and hand signals. Whether you want to pass a vehicle or make a left turn, this is an effective way to let people know your next move.
Here are some key hand signals all cyclists should know:
Left turn: Extend your left arm out sideways with all fingers extended. Or use your index finger to point ‘left’.
Right turn: Extend your right arm out sideways, bent up at a 90-degree angle. Your arm should be pointing upwards, with your palm facing the front. Alternatively, you can extend your right arm sideways, with all fingers extended.
Stopping: Extend one of your arms sideways, bent down at a 90-degree angle. Your hand should be pointing downwards, and palm facing backwards.
Slowing: Extend your arm with palm down. Then move your hand up and down.
Now that you know the hand signals, you can practice along with us!
Watch your speed in bike lanes
Just because you have a designated lane, this doesn’t give you licence to ride at top speed. Just like you, there are other first-time cyclists that may be anxious on the road. Never tailgate fellow bike commuters or zip past them without warning them first.