Cycling Safety & Education
Every year, bicycles are stolen across Hamilton. Register your bike with Hamilton Police - provide the serial number, make and model. Then, if your bike is stolen and we find it, we can easily return it to you!
If your bicycle is stolen, visit the police station nearest you to file a stolen/lost bicycle report. The Hamilton Police hold unclaimed bicycles for a minimum of 30 days. Unclaimed bicycles are auctioned off through an online service based in Toronto.
Keeping Hamilton roads safe for cyclists is everyone’s responsibility.
What are your Responsibilities?
Be aware that cyclists are required to cycle on the road, not on the sidewalk. Cyclists are entitled to adequate space on the street for their bicycle, and are advised to "take the lane" if the lane is too narrow to share with other vehicles side-by-side. Whether you’re a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian, everyone is responsible for making streets safer for cyclists.
Tips for Motorists
- Reduce speed when encountering cyclists.
- Leave sufficient space between your vehicle and a cyclist, and only pass a cyclist when there is enough room to do so safely.The penalty for not leaving a minimum one-metre passing distance can result in a fine of $110.
- After parking on the side of the road, check your blind spots and look for cyclists before opening your door. The penalties for improper opening of a vehicle door can result in a fine of over $300 and three demerit points.
- Whether you’re turning left or right, always check your blind spot to ensure you don’t cut off any approaching cyclists.
- Always signal when making lane changes or turning so that cyclists can anticipate your actions.
- Look both ways before crossing a bike lane and yield to any oncoming bikes. Even if cyclists see you, their reaction time may be slowed due to weather conditions or other factors.
- Children may not be fully aware of all the rules and dangers of the road, so drive cautiously around children cycling.
- Never park in or block bike lanes.
Tips for Cyclists
- The Ontario Highway Traffic Act defines bicycles as vehicles so cyclists have a responsibility to obey all traffic laws, signs and signals. Riding a bike on a sidewalk is illegal in Hamilton.
- Use a bell, a front light, and a rear reflector on your bicycle. When riding on multi-use trails, make sure to alert pedestrians with your bell well in advance of passing them, so they know you are approaching.
- Wear bright-coloured clothing that allows you to be seen by drivers both day and night. Reflective clothing is ideal.
- Be alert of your surroundings and ride predictably.
- Know your skill and fitness level when planning routes and plan ahead! The City offers a comprehensive map of cycling facilities, points of interest and hiking trails.
- Everyone should wear a helmet and people under age 18 are required to wear a helmet.
- Ride in single file.
- Signal clearly when making turns or lane changes.
- Ride in the correct direction in a bike lane. Two-way facilities have a unique design.
Tips for Pedestrians
As a pedestrian, it’s important to stay alert.
- Avoid distractions while walking like texting or talking on the phone.
- Avoid wearing headsets in order to hear if a bicycle is approaching.
- Travel predictably by keeping to the right on trails and crossing streets using marked crosswalks.
- Keep pets close and on a leash.
- Do not use bike lanes for travel and yield to cyclists if crossing one when they have the right-of-way.
Electric bikes or e-bikes, both those resembling conventional bicycles and those resembling motor scooters, are allowed on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently permitted. They must follow the same rules of the road as set out in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) that currently apply to cyclists, with some exceptions.
In order to operate an e-bike:
- Operators must be 16 years of age or older;
- All operators must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet at all times.