Bicycle Safety

August 28, 2019

Kids are heading back to school this week and drivers will be sharing the road with more pedestrians and bicyclists.  A greater level of vigilance and care is required by drivers to reduce injury (and even death) that may occur during a collision with these vulnerable road users.  Please be courteous and respect the distance required when sharing the roadways.

  • Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists are ALL responsible to abide by all signs, signals, and traffic laws.
  • Motorists are reminded to be cautious around children on bikes, as they may not be paying attention and may make unsafe decisions. 
  • Kids 17 years and younger are required by legislation to wear a helmet. They cannot ride a bicycle anywhere in the province of Alberta without having a helmet on their head.
  • Cyclists and pedestrians should make eye contact with motorists before crossing the street and be aware of any challenging road conditions that motorists may be experiencing.
  • Motorists should be careful when approaching intersections. Watch for cars slowing in the lane next to yours because other drivers may be yielding to a pedestrian.
  • ​​Cyclists can keep safer by using the sidewalks or pathways systems in Town when using a pedal bike as an alternative solution to the roadway. Don’t forget to slow down and notify any pedestrians when you're getting close and passing.
  • When it comes to youth riding their bikes in communities, they do have to abide by provincial laws when riding. Bicycles are technically vehicles when on roadways, so traffic laws apply.  
  • If you are travelling on the road because you are a more serious bike enthusiast, we recommend you stay to the right, you are riding in single file, you are abiding all the rules of the road and you are wearing a helmet.
  • If there is a shoulder, especially along our highways, the cyclists are required by law to ride on the shoulder. If there is no shoulder, they have to ride to the far right side of the road.  Motorists are asked to be patient with cyclists on the highway and only pass them when it's safe to do so.

Bicycles and Theft

Alberta RCMP stated that about 50 per cent of bicycle thefts occur over the summer months. Keep your bike safe by storing and locking it in a shed or garage. If you are locking your bike up outside, make sure you use a u-lock and that it is secured to a fixed object. In Okotoks, securing a bike to a tree is not allowed as it can cause damage to the tree.

Provincial and Municipal Laws for Bicycles and Cyclists

No person who is less than 18 years old shall operate or ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless that person is properly wearing a safety helmet.

No person shall operate a bicycle on which a passenger who is less than 18 years old is riding unless the passenger is properly wearing a safety helmet.

A parent or guardian of a person who is less than 18 years old shall not authorize or knowingly permit the person to operate or ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless that person is properly wearing a safety helmet.

A person shall not ride a bicycle unless the bicycle has a brake.

A bicycle must have a horn or bell.

A person operating a bicycle shall sound the vehicle’s horn or other audible warning device whenever it is reasonably necessary to warn persons on or approaching the highway in the vicinity of the vehicle.

A person shall not use the horn or other audible warning device of a bicycle:
  • except for the purposes of giving notice to other persons that are on or approaching a highway or within the vicinity of the vehicle, or
  • so that it makes more noise than is reasonably necessary to give notice to other persons that are on or approaching a highway or within the vicinity of the vehicle.

A person must push, not ride, a bicycle on a footbridge, and shall yield the right of way to pedestrians on the footbridge.

A person operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, pathway, or trail shall:

  • yield the right of way to pedestrians
  • use a bell or other audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian; and,
  • not exceed a speed of 20 kilometers per hour;
  • not operate the bicycle in a reckless manner.

No person in a natural area shall operate a bicycle except on pathways and trails.

A person shall not ride a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle has:

  • at least one headlamp but not more than 2 headlamps;
  • at least one red tail lamp;
  • at least one red reflector mounted on the rear.

At any time on a highway during the period of night time or when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable atmospheric conditions, objects are not clearly discernible on the highway at a distance of at least 150 metres ahead, a person shall not have a bicycle in motion on the highway unless the lamp or lamps with which the bicycle is required to be equipped are alight.