Here we are in mid-December and, for the most part, the weather has been almost balmy with no sign of snowflakes in the immediate future.
This nicer-than-usual weather has extended the cycling season – but with increased risk to cyclists. As our eyes adjust to the dark in the early evening, it’s sometimes difficult to see cyclists. Add rain or oncoming car headlights to the mix, and drivers are further ‘blinded’ to unexpected traffic. Lack of bicycle lights, and reflective clothing is a recipe for disaster for winter cyclists.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, it is mandatory for bicycles to be equipped with lights and reflectors one-half hour before sunset until one-half hour after sunrise:
“… every motor-assisted bicycle and bicycle shall carry a lighted lamp displaying a white or amber light on its front and a lighted lamp displaying a red light or a reflector on its rear, and in addition white reflective material shall be placed on its front forks, and red reflective material covering a surface of not less than 250 millimetres in length and 25 millimetres in width shall be placed on its rear.” – 2015, c. 14, s. 21 (2).
The fine is not a big one – $35 – but the likelihood of an accident and/or serious injury should be a cyclist’s primary motivation to comply.