Windsor

Ring that bicycle bell, it's still the Ontario law

Ontario made plenty of changes to the Highway Traffic Act this week but it's still, and has been for a very long time, law to have a bell on your bike.
Oliver Swainson sells a dozen different, legal and required-by-law noise makers for bikes. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Ontario made plenty of changes to the Highway Traffic Act this week but it's still, and has been for a very long time, law to have a bell on your bike.

The most notable change made by Ontario this week was the fine for distracted driving, rising to a cash penalty of between $300 and $1,000, plus three demerit points.

But changes were also made to laws governing cycling safety.

Fines will increase from $20 to between $60 and $500 for bicyclists who do not use a light and reflectors or reflective material.

But there was already a law on the books that many cyclists may not recall or even be aware of.

According to the Highway Traffic Act, every bicycle "shall be equipped with an alarm bell, gong or horn, which shall be kept in good working order and sounded whenever it is reasonably necessary to notify pedestrians or others of its approach."

So, CBC Windsor's Amy Dodge headed to the City Cyclery to see just what's available in the noise making department.

Oliver Swainson gladly demonstrated the products available.

In Ontario, it's the law to have a bike bell. Here's a sampling of what's available. 0:39

The updates to the Highway Traffic Act also include an increase in fines for bicyclists who do not use a light and reflectors or reflective material, rising from $20 to between $60 and $500.

Another change imposes a one-metre distance rule between motor vehicles and bicycles — "where practicable" — and will force drivers to wait until pedestrians completely cross the road at school crossings.

Fines for opening a door into the path of a cyclist will increase to the same amounts as for distracted driving, and motorists must leave a one-metre distance when passing bicycles.

Cyclists will also be allowed to use the paved shoulders on non-400 series provincial highways.

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