Fall cycling 101
Summer is giving way to fall, which means shorter daylight hours and cooler weather are ahead. If you continue to ride your bike into the season, it’s time to shift gears. Being prepared and putting safety first is the best way to bike responsibly.
Follow these tips to ensure your fall bike rides are safe and fun:
Before heading out, ensure you’re wearing a helmet and your bike has working lights and a bike bell.
Wear reflective gear so you’re visible even in dim light conditions.
Dress according to changing weather conditions, including rain, wind and cool temperatures.
Avoid riding through puddles as hidden road conditions, such as potholes, gravel or sand may not be visible under water.
Be mindful of wet, slick spots on the road, including railroad tracks, maintenance hole covers, painted road lines and leaf piles.
Use proper hand signals, obey traffic lights and stop signs, be aware of your surroundings at all times and be courteous to all other road users.
Put safety first
Whether you are an experienced cyclist or riding your bike for the first time, bike safety protocols apply to all. People under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when riding their bike – but everyone, regardless of age, is encouraged to do so as well. In addition, riders must have the following on their bike:
- white reflective tape on the front forks
- red reflective tape on the rear forks
- a white front light
- a red rear light or reflector
- a working bell or horn
Remember, a bicycle is considered a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and all cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws as other road users. Watch this video to learn how a Vaughan student prepares for a safe bike ride to and from school.
e-Bikes and other micromobility devices
To help keep everyone safe, there are rules that must be followed when using an e-bike or other micromobility device – such as e-scooters, mopeds, Segways and electric skateboards/hoverboards. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, riders must be 16 years or older; wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet; keep their e-bike in good working order; and follow the same rules of the road as other cyclists. E-bikes can be used on most roads and highways where traditional bikes are permitted, with some exceptions. E-bikes are not allowed on certain provincially controlled access highways, such as 400 series highways, paths and trails. There are additional provincial rules for e-bikes: for instance, the maximum assisted speed is 32 kilometres per hour. Learn more about provincial e-bike requirements and where they can operate.
Please remember, sidewalks are designed and intended for pedestrians – the people, young and old, who call Vaughan home. Riders are encouraged to practice safe riding etiquette, such as keeping their e-bike in good working order and following the same rules of the road as other cyclists. Learn more about safe cycling and how to ride on the road. Residents who require motorized wheelchairs and medical e-devices to get around are exempt from these rules. Like pedestrians, people operating medical micromobility devices are welcome everywhere.
Wondering where to ride?
Vaughan is home to a large network of sidewalks, cycle tracks, bike lanes, multi-use paths and recreational trails, which include the following:
- In-boulevard cycle tracks: designated spaces for people riding bikes separate from those walking or driving. These areas are marked with a bicycle symbol and diamond.
- On-road bike lanes: designated spaces for people riding bikes separate from those walking but run alongside people driving. These areas are made visible with pavement markings on the roadway.
- In-boulevard multi-use pathways: shared spaces for people walking and riding their bikes separate from those driving. These areas are within the boulevard along a roadway.
- Multi-use recreational trails: shared spaces for people walking and riding their bikes within parks and open spaces.
You can also explore Vaughan’s cycling facilities using the York Region Cycling Map.
To learn more, visit vaughan.ca/cycling.