Share this page Print

Roadway laws and etiquette

Traffic laws that apply to motorists also apply to cyclists, as bicycles are considered vehicles under Alberta law. People cycling have the same responsibility to follow the rules of the road that motorists do.

Share the road and share the responsibility for making your bike trip a safe one!

Here are some basic requirements and suggestions for cycling on the roadway.

(*) indicates a legal requirement.

Use appropriate hand signals

  • Let road users know what you're doing.
  • Shoulder check first, then use the appropriate hand signal. *

Scan the road

  • Be sure to shoulder check before lane changes.
  • Signal your intention, shoulder check again and then proceed when safe to do so.

See and be seen

  • At night, you must have at least:
    • one headlight, but no more than two. * 
    • one red tail light. *
    • one red reflector for the rear. *
    • ​consider wearing reflective clothing and use your lights when it's dark out.

Be careful at intersections

  • Proceed with care since most collisions occur at intersections.
  • Watch for turning vehicles.


Beware of car doors

  • Watch out for the doors of parked cars - they can open at any time.

Ride in a straight line

  • Ride 50 cm from the gutter to avoid hazards such as grates, glass and manhole covers.
  • Do not dodge between parked cars.
  • Watch for cars entering from driveways.
  • Pass on the left.

Use the appropriate lane

  • In a narrow lane, it may be safer to take the whole lane.
  • Do not ride in a right-turn only lane if you are going through.
  • Move into the through lane early.

Three options for turning left

  • Make the left turn as a vehicle.
  • Cycle straight through to the far right corner of the intersection, and:
    • cross as a pedestrian.
    • make a two stage turn and proceed as a vehicle.

Ride in single file 

  • Ride in single file except when passing

Plan your route

  • Plan your route ahead of time - the best route by car may not be the best route by bike.
  • Remember that all streets are cycling streets (except Deerfoot Trail).

People cycling are responsible for their own safety and acquiring the necessary skills to use any roadway. The on-street bicycle routes are identified on the basis of general directness, the grade of the road and traffic conditions relative to alternate streets in the area. Route conditions may depend on factors like the time of day, day of the week, season, weather and traffic.

Connect with cycling

Take a map on the go! The City of Calgary Pathways and Bikeways iPhone and Android App is free and available to download from the Apple and Google app stores.

Download the iOS AppDownload the Android App


Join our online Facebook community for cycling tips, bike maps, info and news by pressing ‘Like’ on the City of Calgary Bicycle Program page.