Cycling Equipment

Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) a bicycle is a vehicle.  Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws as other road users.  The following items are legally required by the HTA for the safety of cyclists and other road users. There are set fines for each of these items if they are found broken or missing.

Helmets prevent serious injury. Cyclists under the age of 18 are required by law to wear an approved bicycle helmet when cycling on any public road.  For a child under 16, it is the duty of the parent or guardian to ensure that the helmet is work.  For youths 16 or 17, it is their own personal responsibility to wear a helmet.

A white front light and a rear red light or reflectorif riding between 30 min before sunset and 30 min after sunrise. Visibility is key.  There are few things as frightening to a motorist as having a cyclist appear out of the darkness as the car is about to pull out into the street.  Even though you may see the car with ease at night, that does not mean they can see you if you do not have lights.

Bell or Horn in good working order. Bicycles can be very quiet.  Use a bell to alert motorists, pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence. At times it may be more courteous to call out something like “passing on the left” when overtaking other cyclists and pedestrians.

Brake system on the rear wheel (at a minimum, both wheels is best).

The rear brake must be capable of skidding the rear wheel on dry, level pavement.  A front brake is highly recommended as it does 70 to 80% of the braking work and the most effective way to brake is to use the front and back brakes together.

White reflective tape on the front forks. Red reflective tape on the rear chain stays and seat stays.
It should cover a surface of not less than 250mm in length and 25mm in width.  Reflective tape will increase the visible surface of your bicycle at night.

Optional Items

These items can improve the comfort and convenience of riding your bicycle.  Others may come in handy if something unexpected happens during your ride.  When deciding what to bring, consider where you are going, how far you are going, and outdoor conditions.

Items that Attach to Your Bicycle

Possible Purpose





Being aware of your surroundings will help you make appropriate decisions about your place on the road or trail. The principal is similar to mirrors in automobiles.  It does not replace a shoulder check.

Transporting Items (i.e. Shopping)

Baskets, Panniers, Racks

See Cycling and Shopping



Will keep your bicycle upright on its own when you are not riding.


Bicycle Computer(and/or speedometer, odometer, etc…)

Helps you keep track of your speed, cadence and other details of your ride you may be interested in.


Water Bottle Cage

Makes your water bottle easy to reach.


Water Bottle

On a hot day or a long ride, keeping hydrated is important.


Coffee Cup Holder

Allows you to carry coffee/tea/water in your favourite mug on the bicycle.


Fenders/Mud guards

These keep water and mud that splash on the tires from reaching you or your bike.



See Bicycle Security


Chain Guards

Protect your pants from catching in the front crank or getting grease from the chain


Skirt Guards

Protect your skirt from getting caught in the rear wheel


Basic Tool Kit

If your bike requires a minor repair or adjustment while on the road, these tools could allow you to fix it yourself:  An on-road toolkit can include:

  1. Wrench to fit common bolt sizes (8, 9, 10 mm)
  2. Allen key for common recessed fittings (2,4,5,6 mm)
  3. Screwdrivers for the types of screws on bike (usually slotted or Phillips)
  4. Pair of Pliers
  5. Bike Pump
  6. Tire levers
  7. Patch Kit
  8. Spare tube
  9. 3rd Hand Tool (for adjusting brake shoes and brake cables)
  10. plastic gloves (to avoid grease on your hands)
  11. Rag (to avoid grease or clean up
  12. A pocket bike repair book (or keep one on your phone)
  13. Cellphone or change for a payphone if you can’t do the repair yourself



Protects your hands from the elements (sun, wind), in case you fall and cushions against road shock.  It can also improge grip and prevent hand numbness, blisters and pain.



Loose clothing can get caught in your bike’s chain or gears. Use rubber bands, Velcro straps or pant clips to tightly secure your pant legs around your ankles or consider getting a bike with a chain guard.


Non-slip shoes or pedals

Your shoe soles should not slip off the pedals.  This can be remedied by getting shoes with good tread and/or replacing your pedals for ones with more grip.


Reflective Materia

To increase visibility, you can add reflective tape to additional parts of your bicycle or buy shirts/jackets especially made with reflective strips

There are many more items cyclists may choose to wear, depending on whether they are utilitarian or recreational cyclists and what type of cycling they are doing, such as road or mountain biking. This can include items like bike jerseys, bike shorts, toe clips, knee pads and shin pads.  The above list primarily covers many of the items a utilitarian cyclist may find useful.

Ontario Highways Traffic Act
Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling
CAN-BIKE 2 Student Handbook and Program Instructor Kit

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