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Cycling Safety Awareness Program

The Cycling Safety Awareness Program (CSAP) is an educational outreach program about cycling safety. 

Cycling Safety Awareness Program background

The program was created based on a recommendation of the Council-approved Cycling Safety Improvement Program, and includes initial key messages on “Dooring” (car door opening), sharrows, sidewalk cycling and the bike box. The CSAP will complement cycling infrastructure improvements being implemented through the City’s Cycling Facilities Program, Ottawa on the Move program, and Cycling Safety Improvement Program.

Dooring

There is a danger zone for cyclists next to parked cars. A car door springs open in a fraction of a second, and if a cyclist is passing by at that moment close to the car they can be knocked off balance or onto the ground, resulting in serious injury and possibly death. This kind of collision is known as “dooring.”

What cyclists should know

Stay out of the “dooring” danger zone, about one metre from parked cars. That way, even if a motorist opens a door without warning, you're far enough away to avoid it. Follow sharrows where they have been provided, which assist with cyclists’ positioning in a shared lane. Take extra space in the lane if you need to do so. Remember that you have the right to “take the lane” if necessary.

Don’t weave in out between parked cars, since this will make it more difficult for motorists to anticipate your movements. Ride in a straight line a safe distance away from parked cars.

What motorists should know

Take care when opening your car door. Look first and open your car door slowly. You are required by Section 165 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to check for traffic – including cyclists – before opening your car door. A quick turn of your head is all it takes.

Park close to the curb in order to minimize how far your car door opens into the adjacent lane.

Share the road with cyclists who must “take the lane” for safety reasons. 

Educational/Promotional Material

Sharrows

New sharrow installation on Lyon St.

The City of Ottawa is introducing sharrows on several of our busiest streets. The purpose of a sharrow –road markings showing a bicycle with two chevrons – is to remind residents to share the road when driving or cycling in Ottawa. Sharrow locations will include Lyon Street, Arlington Avenue, St. Patrick Street and Wellington Street. 

Benefits of sharrows

For cyclists, sharrows:

  • Encourage drivers to leave space for cyclists where lanes are wide enough to share but where there is not enough space for a full reserved bike lane
  • Make cycling features (such as approaches to bike pockets) more visible to drivers
  • Assist with positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a driver opening their door and hitting a cyclist
  • Advise cyclists when to "take the lane" where travel lanes are too narrow for riding side by side within the same lane
  • Reduce the incidences of wrong-way cycling.

For drivers, sharrows:

  • Alert road users of the space cyclists are likely to occupy in the lane
  • Encourage safe passing of cyclists by motorists
  • Remind them to share the road with supplemental road signs.

Sharrows do not in any way require a cyclist to take a particular route or obligate where cyclists should position themselves in a lane. Cyclists have the right to ride in any lane and motorists should treat cyclists as they would any other vehicle.

Educational/Promotional Material

Ottawa's first implementation of sharrows

Map of new cycling facilities on Lyon Street

Bike box

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A bike box is used at intersections to designate a space for cyclists to wait at a red light. Cyclists stop in front of motorists and can proceed through the intersection first when the light turns green. Right turns on red lights are generally not permitted in these intersections, unless a sign is posted with an exception. These areas increase cyclist visibility and reduce the risk of “right hook” collisions after a green signal.

Bike boxes are green areas on the road containing a white bicycle symbol. A section of green bicycle lane often precedes the box. There are bike boxes at the intersections of Bay Street / Wellington Street, Tyndall Street / Holland Avenue, and Bronson Avenue / Brewer Way

What cyclists should know

When a traffic signal is red, enter the bike box from the approaching green bike lane. Stop before the crosswalk. When the light is green, proceed as normal. Be aware of right-turning motorists, especially while in the intersection.

What motorists should know

When the traffic signal is yellow or red, motorists must stop behind the white stop line, behind the green bike box, where indicated. Don’t stop on top of the bike box – keep it clear for cyclists to use. When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first. Motorists turning right on green should signal and watch for cyclists to the right.
 

Educational/Promotional Material