In addition to respecting the rules of the road, specific habits and behaviours can help keep you safe when cycling.
Here are eight good habits to have when riding your bicycle.
1. Wear a Helmet
Although wearing a helmet is not mandatory (except for electric bikes), all cyclists should wear one to prevent head injuries in the event of a fall. To maximize its effectiveness, be sure to adjust it properly.
To learn more about helmet use and get tips on how to make the right choice, visit the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec’s (SAAQ) Cycling: One Head, One Helmet page.
2. Be Visible at All Times
Cyclists, like pedestrians, can be difficult to see in some conditions. It is therefore recommended to wear bright clothing and accessories, and also to equip your bicycle with reflectors, lights and headlights. This will help you stay visible at all times.
Make sure you have been seen by other road users before making a particular manoeuvre or crossing an intersection. To do this, make eye contact with them.
4. Avoid Blind Spots
Most road vehicles have blind spots—areas where the driver cannot see through the mirrors or windows. Heavy vehicles have particularly large blind spots . Avoid driving and standing in these areas to remain visible at all times.
To learn more about blind spots and how to avoid them, visit the Blind Spots section on the SAAQ’s website.
5. Make Sure to Choose a Safe Route
Cyclists can use most public roads, with the exception of highways, but some are safer than others. To avoid finding yourself in a place where traffic makes you feel uncomfortable or even unsafe, check out the Cycle Friendliness of Roadways tool on Québec 511’s website. This will help you find a safe route.
In the “Options et légende” (Options and legend) menu, check the “Convivialité vélo” (Bicycle-Friendly Roads) option to see the bicycle-friendliness of the roads you wish to use. A second click on the roads gives additional information, such as:
the presence and width of paved shoulders;
the amount of traffic of road vehicles, especially heavy vehicles;
the posted speed limit;
the municipality’s name;
the name or number of the road; and
the proximity to the Route verte, if applicable.
6. Make Sure your Bike is in Good Condition and Suits your Needs
There are different kinds of bikes for specific uses or particular terrains. Many accessories also allow or facilitate the transport of children or objects. Use the proper equipment for each use to avoid dangerous situations.
7. Prevent Theft
To avoid having your bike stolen, lock it to a sturdy rack with a padlock.
8. Do Not Obstruct Public Areas
If your bicycle is locked to anything other than a bike rack, make sure it is not obstructing: