Cycling Safety

Do you know how to be safe while cycling? This post is all about cycling safety, signals, and bike helmets. Keeping yourself safe is one of the most important aspects of cycling. Being safe while riding minimizes the risk of injuries, collisions, and damages. In this post, we have grouped together 3 areas of safety. Keep reading for information about general cycling safety, signals, and helmets.


Three things to keep in mind when cycling are: see, be seen, and be predictable. Here’s how these keep you safe.


Make sure you’re able to see your surroundings. Good visibility is important to ensure you can recognize and avoid safety hazards. Wear sunglasses on bright sunny days. Turn on your bike lights if you’re biking at night or in low visibility. Be extra cautious in low visibility weather like fog. In these situations, it’s important to give yourself enough time to react to dangers. Go slow and always check your surroundings.


Let others know where you are. Being visible lets others know to share the road, path, or trail. In low visibility conditions such as at night, in the rain, or in foggy weather, it can be difficult to see a person cycling. Here are some ways to improve your visibility when cycling:

– Put reflective tape on your bike, pedals, and helmet.

– Consider wearing a bright safety vest- It’s a great way to make your body visible.

– Make sure you have a working light attached at the front and back of your bike.


When cycling near others such as on streets, high-traffic bike lanes, or trails, it’s important to be predictable. This allows vehicles and other cyclers to anticipate your actions to pass you safely.

Stay on the right side of the road or lane, keep an average speed, and use hand signals. Avoid stopping at random points or constantly changing your speed. Don’t weave in between lanes or parked cars and instead stay in one straight lane.



Properly sharing the road or trail is an important part of cycle etiquette and a vital safety aspect. Use your bell to alert others of your presence. Hand signals are an easy way to communicate to drivers what direction you plan on going. Here are some tips and more information on signals.


Cycle bells are required by law and should be used as a signalling device. Install a bell on your handlebar or ask for help at your local bike shop or community space. Use your bell to signal to other people that you are planning to pass them.  Give others enough time to react when passing. Make sure you are not crowding anyone when you pass them. Sharing the space is important to ensure everyone feels safe using a path.


Signal every time before you turn or stop. Using hand signals lets others know where you’re going so they can maneuver around you successfully. Cycles don’t come with built-in indicators so you need to use hand signals. Signal at least 5 seconds before you plan on maneuvering. First, check over your shoulder for oncoming traffic. If it’s clear to do so, hand signal your intention. Shoulder check one more time before you manoeuvre.

Test yourself on hand signals. Try making up a memory game to memorize the three hand signals. Once you know the signals, start practicing them while cycling. Grab your helmet and practice cycling with one hand on the handlebar in a safe location. Once you develop that skill, try signalling to stop safely and signal when you turn. Make sure you’re incorporating shoulder checking in your practice. Don’t forget that sharing is caring. Teach others about hand signals, especially cyclists learning to ride.

Hand signals are only part of safe maneuvering. Make sure you check your surroundings before manoeuvring, even after you signal. Do a shoulder check before you manoeuvre to make sure it is safe to move.



Did you know that everyone is required by law to wear a helmet when cycling in Nova Scotia? That means that wherever and whenever you’re cycling, you should be wearing a properly fitted and clipped helmet.


Follow the 2-V-1 rule when you’re purchasing a helmet and every time you put on your helmet. Straps may become loose over time so it’s important to always check before you start moving. Helmets that are too big or too small won’t properly protect your head. Head injuries can be serious. Minimize risks and always wear your helmet and make sure it’s fastened properly.


Helmets should be replaced every 3-5 years. Check the inside of your helmet for the manufactures date to know if you’re helmet is too old. It’s time to replace your helmet if: you’ve been in an accident, it’s older than 3-5 years, there is a lot of wear and tear (cracks, foam separating, or dents), or it no longer fits you. It’s a good idea to check your helmet at the beginning of the season and when you do a cycle tune-up. Check your child’s helmet and make sure it fits properly. While it might be tempting to save helmets as hand-me-downs, remember that helmets must be replaced regularly. If you can’t remember when you got a helmet, it’s probably time to replace it.

When it’s time to replace, go to your local sports equipment store and get a new helmet. Ask for help choosing the right helmet and always follow the 2-V-1 rule. Remember, helmets are required and they minimize head and brain injuries.


We hope you feel more confident about cycling safety. Want to learn more? Consider taking a CAN-BIKE course to further your skills and knowledge. Don’t forget to check back soon for more tips on how to be safe. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for our weekly #SafetySaturday posts!