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Bicycle safety

The City of Calgary provides bicycle safety and education information through their pathways and bikeways page. 

Below are the answers to some common questions around cycling and the law. 

What are the laws around wearing helmets?
The law ( Sections 111(1) to 112(7)) states that no person who is less than 18-years-old shall operate or ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless that person is properly wearing a safety helmet. 

A safety helmet must:

  • be certified;
  • be constructed so that it has a hard, smooth outer shell and is capable of absorbing energy on impact;
  • be securely attached to a strap that is to be fastened around the chin of the person wearing the safety helmet; and,
  • be free of damage or modification that would reduce its effectiveness.

If any of these safety standards are not met, a fine is in place for those under the age of 18. 

Even though the law states those under 18 must wear a helmet; they should be worn at all times by all ages to prevent brain injuries or severe damage to the skull. 

Are cyclists bound by the rules of the road?
Yes, cyclists are bound by the rules of the road. This includes a bylaw that only allows children under 14 years old to ride bikes on the sidewalk. 

 Why do police officers get to ride their bikes on the sidewalk?
In the execution of their duties, police officers are exempt from this restriction. 

What are designated bike lanes?  
Designated bike lanes are indicated by pavement markings and signs that include a white diamond and bicycle symbol. They are in effect at all hours, unless otherwise indicated.  When safe to do so, vehicles may enter a bike lane prior to an intersection to make a right turn.

What are cycle tracks?
A cycle track is a bike lane protected by a physical barrier from moving cars, parked cars and sidewalks. It provides a predictable space and minimizes potential conflicts between people who walk, bicycle, and drive. For more information on The City of Calgary’s cycle track pilot program, visit

Where are the bikeways and cycle tracks? 
Find bikeways and cycle tracks in The City of Calgary’s Pathways and Bikeways Map, now available in three formats:

  • Map App – The City recently updated it’s free Pathways and Bikeways App and made it available for both iPhone and Android devices, based on users’ feedback to the first release. In addition to the map, it includes real-time information on pathway closures and detours, safety rules and regulations, a reporting feature to alert 311 of any pathway concerns, links to helpful information such as Parks events, Park ‘n’ Bike locations and cycling educational videos, social media feeds and more. Get it to go today! Download: iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Android
  • Online – If you prefer, use the online map.  It too will give you the most up-to-date routes and, by navigating through the various links, you’ll discover many other tips and resources for using The City’s pathways, bikeways and downtown cycle tracks. If you’re a new path user, you may want to start with one of the recommended routes.
  • Paper Copy – The third option is a print map. Pick up the current version, printed in March 2016, at any City of Calgary aquatic facility or leisure centre. 

How do I report cars driving/parked in bike lanes?

  • Parking restrictions in designated bike lanes are indicated through signage. 
  •  The Calgary Police Service is using an educational approach to inform drivers of any infractions that may occur. 
  •  You can contact Calgary Parking Authority to determine if restrictions are enforced in that zone. 

Is drinking and cycling legal?  
As you are not operating a motor vehicle, you would not be charged under the Criminal Code. However, alcohol can affect the ability to operate the bicycle in a safe manner and this practice should be avoided. Other sanctions may apply under the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Act, including public intoxication and consuming alcohol in a public place. 

Can cyclists be fined under distracted driving legislation?  
Yes. A bicycle is considered a “vehicle” in the Traffic Safety Act and cyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as other vehicle operators. 

Does The City offer any bicycle safety clinics?  
No, we do not provide any specific bicycle safety clinics. However, The City of Calgary's pathways and bikeways  page provides information on education programs.​​


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