Cornwall Ontario Police Answer Some Bicycle Law Questions – July 26, 2011








 Cornwall ON – The Cornwall Police answer questions on Bike laws in the city.



Cornwall, Ont. – This 3 part-series will serve as an educational tool for all cyclists and mobility riders in our community.  The Cornwall Community Police Service wishes to educate the public on safety, City of Cornwall by-laws and rules and regulations under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario.  As of late, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the use of bicycles, e-bicycles and motorized scooters on our city streets. The Cornwall Community Police Service has compiled a list of FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) to help with this.  This first part will concentrate on bicycles and bicycle safety.  The Cornwall Community Police Service will also embark on a 3 phase effort to deal effectively with recent issues with bicycles and other transportation devices.  The first phase will concentrate on education and awareness.  The second phase will be a warning campaign and finally the third phase will consist of an enforcement campaign.

General Definitions and Driving Rules under the Corporation of the City of Cornwall By-Law No. 069, 1989 Traffic And Parking By-Law

Bicycle:  includes any device which has two tandem wheels and is propelled by human power and upon which any person may ride, and includes a tricycle and a unicycle, but does not include a motor assisted vehicle.

Motor Assisted Bicycle means a bicycle:

a)      fitted with pedals which are operable at all times to propel the bicycle;

b)      weighing not more than fifty-five (55) kilograms;

c)      which has no hand or foot operated clutch or gearbox driven by the motor and transferring power to the driven wheel;

d)     have an attached motor driven by electricity or having a piston displacement of not more than fifty (50) cubic centimetres, and

e)      which does not have sufficient power to enable the bicycle to attain a speed greater than fifty (50) kilometres per hour on level ground within a distance of two (2) kilometres from a standing start.

Motor Vehicle:  includes an automobile, motorcycle, motor assisted bicycle, unless otherwise indicated in the Highway Traffic Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include the cars of electric or steam railways, or other motor vehicles running only upon rails, or a motorized snow vehicle, traction engine, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry or road-building machine within the meaning of the Highway Traffic Act.

Sidewalk:  includes all such parts of a highway as are set aside by the Corporation for the use of pedestrians or used by the general public for the passage of pedestrians;

Wheelchair:  means a chair mounted on wheels driven by muscular, or any other kind of power and used for the carriage of a person who has a physical defect or disability.


39. (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a sidewalk or footpath on a highway except for the purpose of directly crossing the sidewalk or                        footpath.





In the Highway Traffic Act, the definition of bicycle includes tricycles and unicycles but not motor-assisted bicycles. You do not need a drivers licence to operate a bicycle in Ontario.  A bicycle is defined as a device which has two tandem wheels and is propelled by human power and upon which any person may ride, and includes a tricycle and a unicycle, but does not include a motor assisted bicycle.

A bicycle is a vehicle that:

  • has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals
  • is designed to be propelled by muscular power
  • has no age restriction for operators
  • can be operated on most roadways (e.g., not allowed to travel on 400 series highways)
  • cannot be operated across a roadway within a pedestrian cross-over

An operator must wear a bicycle helmet if under 18 and operating the bicycle on the road. If the operator is under 16 it is the duty of the operator’s parent or guardian to ensure that he/she wears a helmet. If the person is 16 or 17 it is his or her personal responsibility to wear a helmet.

No passengers are allowed if the bicycle is only meant for one person. When going slower than the rest of traffic, cyclists should stay as close to the right edge of the road as is practicable. Cyclists are allowed to safely use the full lane if staying close to the right edge of the road is unsafe.



General Definitions and Driving Rules under the Corporation of the City of Cornwall By-Law No. 069, 1989 Traffic And Parking By-Law

The City of Cornwall Traffic and Parking By-law’s definition of “bicycle” means a device which has two tandem wheels and is propelled by human power and upon which any person may ride, and includes a tricycle and a unicycle, but does not include a motor assisted vehicle.

Section 50 of the City of Cornwall Traffic and Parking by-law:

50 (1)  A person driving a bicycle upon a roadway shall:

a)      drive as near the right-hand side of the roadway as practical, and

b)      exercise due care when passing a parked, stopped or standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.


(2) A person operating a bicycle upon a highway designated for one-way traffic shall:

a) drive as near the right-hand or left-hand side of the roadway as practicable, and

b) exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.


(3) Persons operating bicycles upon a roadway shall do so in single file.


(4) No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping both hands on the handle bars.


(5) No person riding a bicycle on a highway shall remove his or her feet from the pedals while the bicycle is in motion.


(6) No person shall park a bicycle on a highway except in such a manner as to cause the least possible obstruction to pedestrian or vehicular traffic.


(7) No person shall ride a bicycle with a wheel or wheels more than 60 cm. in diameter upon a sidewalk on any highway.


(8) No person above the age of 12 years shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk.




A bicycle is a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This means that, as a bicyclist, you have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws as other road users. Cyclists charged for disobeying traffic laws will be subject to a minimum set fine and a Victim Surcharge fine of $20.00 for most offences (please note set fines below are subject to change).

HTA and Cyclists



HTA Section



Set Fine

HTA 144/136 Traffic signals and signs stop for red lights and stop signs and comply with all other signs


HTA 153 One-ways streets ride in the designated direction on one-way streets


HTA 147 Slow moving traffic travel on right side any vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic speed should drive in the right-hand lane, or as close as practicable to the right edge of the road except when preparing to turn left or when passing another vehicle. For cyclists, you must ride far enough out from the curb to maintain a straight line, clear of sewer grates, debris, potholes, and parked car doors. You may occupy any part of a lane when your safety warrants it. Never compromise your safety for the convenience of a motorist behind you


HTA 142 Signalling a turn before turning, look behind you and signal your turn. Cyclists can use their right arm to signal a right turn


HTA 140(1) HTA 144(29) Crosswalks yield or stop for pedestrians at crosswalks


HTA 140(6)HTA144(29) No riding in crosswalks walk your bike when crossing at a crosswalk


HTA 166 Streetcars stop two metres behind streetcar doors and wait until passengers have boarded or departed and reached the curb


HTA 175 (12) Stopped school buses stop for stopped school buses when the upper alternating red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out.


HTA 62(17) Lights a bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise and white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on rear forks



HTA 75 (5) Bell a bike must have a bell or horn in good working order.


HTA 64(3) Brakes a bike must have at least one brake system on the rear wheel. When you put on the brakes, you should be able to skid on dry, level pavement


HTA 218 Identification Cyclists must stop and identify themselves when required to stop by police for breaking traffic laws. The police officer will ask you for your correct name and address


HTA 630 Expressways Bicycles are prohibited on expressway / freeway highways such as the 400 series, the QEW, Ottawa Queensway and on roads where “No Bicycle” signs are posted


HTA 178(2 Passengers Passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one person


HTA 178(1) Attaching to a vehicle You are not permitted to attach yourself to the outside of another vehicle or streetcar for the purpose of “hitching a ride.”


HTA 104 Helmets Every cyclist under the age of eighteen must wear an approved bicycle helmet. Parents or guardians shall not knowingly permit cyclists under sixteen to ride without a helmet


HTA 179 Dismounted bicyclist Cyclists are required to ride on the right-hand side of the road. If you are walking your bike on a highway where there are no sidewalks, you are considered a pedestrian and you should walk on the left-hand side of the road facing traffic. If it is not safe for you to cross the road to face traffic, you may walk your bike on the right-hand side of the road.


 JL Computers


  1. “self-propelled implement of husbandry”??

    I gotta see that.

  2. The term “self-propelled implement of husbandry” is defined in s. 1.1 of the HTA.:

    “Self-propelled implement of husbandry” means a self-propelled vehicle manufactured, designed, redesigned, converted or reconstructed for a specific use in farming.

    Who writes this stuff?

  3. Don’t know what happened here, perhaps its the spacing allowed within WordPress, however half the descriptions on the right hand side of the screen do not appear for me. Don’t know if anyone else is having that problem. I will however stick to my original debate point that a bicycle or MAV, are a vehicle. As such, a vehicle must be kept under control and any failure to do so goes with the charge of careless or dangerous driving. It’s simple common sense. I would also advise Jamie, that you look up the link I posted in Earle’s letter to the editor about the specifics of the HTA and MAV’s.

  4. From the perspective of horse owners, cars, bicycles and trucks shouldn’t be allowed on the road.

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