Photo cred - Mile End Mike
Bike paths officially re-open today in the city of Montreal, so all of you cyclists too scared (or sane) to bike in winter can get ready to bust out your set of wheels. Snow will probably be delaying things, but why not just get excited now?
City-cycling can be a little intimidating, especially if this is your first time out. Even experienced cyclists should have a refresher on what to do/not do, as I've experience some bikers who simply ignore all the rules and just do as they please, which is scary for pedestrians.
To help you get ready for the biking season, and make sure you don't get a ticket for misconduct (the SPVM are notoriously more harsh at the beginning of the season), here are some things to remember:
Stop At ALL Red Lights
- You're not a car, but you're still a vehicle on the road, and expected to follow the traffic lights.
- Turning left is the same deal at a red light, as cyclists aren't allowed to do so, just like cars.
- At every single big ol' red stop sign, bikers are expected to stop. Please do, because as a pedestrian, I'm even more scared of a bike at an intersection than a car. Sometimes cyclists just blaze on through, and I've very nearly been decked.
- Technically no biker is allowed to have an iPod or music device in their ears while on the road. An annoying rule, one that you can probably get away with by being sneaky, just make sure you can actually hear horns, pedestrians, and any SPVM officer who may be testing you.
Riding on the Sidewalk
- Only if there is no other option can a cyclist be permitted to ride on the sidewalk. Sorry, these sides were made for walking. See the different paths/lanes you can bike on here.
With or Against Traffic?
- Always, ALWAYS, move in the same direction as traffic.
- According to the SPVM, you're supposed to have one white headlight in front of your bike and one red light in the back. Nitpicky, yes, but is for your safety, and having at least one is a good idea and you'll avoid getting a ticket.
Fixed Gear Bikes
- There are some weird rules with fixed gear bikes in Montreal. To ride one in the city, it needs a break system that acts on the rear wheel, either via handbrakes or pedaling backwards. See more here.
In An Accident
- God forbid you get into an accident, but sometimes it happens, and there are procedures to follow in order to be eligible for coverage from Quebec health insurance. In order, call: police --> your doctor (make sure he files a report) --> your insurance agency. Read more here.