Safe Group Riding Guidelines

The following ride guidelines are provided to help improve the safety of club members when riding their bicycles. These guidelines do not supersede any regulations contained in the Highway Traffic Act which must be followed in all cases.


To read the Cycling Skills Guide from the MTO click here


  1. Whenever an invited guest, newcomer or interested potential new member wants to join a club ride, that person must sign the club waiver.
  1. You must carry identification and essential information (contacts, health card #). It is highly recommended that a working (charged and powered up,ringer on) cellphone be carried on rides
  1. HELMETS ARE MANDATORY. No one may take part in a club ride unless wearing a safety approved cycling helmet.  No exceptions
  1. Although not mandatory, a rearview mirror can be helpful for a quick glance of what is behind. However, always do a shoulder check when moving or turning to the left or right.
  1. Members participating in a club evening ride must anticipate riding in twilight conditions. Please note that the Highway Traffic Act mandates a rear red light or reflector and a front white or amber light one half hour before sunset.
  1. It is recommended, in order to increase visibility of cyclists to motorists, that a rear red flashing light be turned on during daylight rides
  1. Please ensure your bike is in good repair and suitable for a distance ride. Always carry a spare tube and a few basic tools.

Riding in traffic

  1. Obey all traffic laws. The highway traffic act states that cyclists must stop for red lights and stop signs and comply with all other signs.
  1. Signal all turns and stops, being aware of all other cyclists, motorists and pedestrians within a reasonable area around you. Always shoulder check before changing your line.
  1. Club members shall not ride more than two abreast. Single file is a must on busy roads and when traffic is approaching from behind on hills and narrow roads.
  1. Keep your place in traffic, do not squeeze in between waiting cars and curb at a traffic light or stop sign, show respect for drivers who may have taken the time to safely pass leading up to the traffic light/stop sign by not jumping the queue.
  1. Do not block a “right turn only lane” at a traffic light. When your intention is to proceed straight through the intersection, stay in the straight through lane.
  1. When stopping on the road for any reason, such as another rider has flat tire, etc., you must get off the roadway and park your bike on the shoulder. Do not loiter on the roadway.
  1. Do not use a headphone or other listening device (with the exception of a hearing aid) on a club ride.
  1. Treat all road users with the same courtesy that you would expect from them. Avoid confronting other road users for perceived bad driving behaviour. If dangerous driving has been witnessed a report can be made to the DRPS if the incident has taken place in Durham Region. Online DRPS report form available here.
  1. With the exception of riding in an echelon do not pass on the right, overtake or pass other cyclists on the left. Give a warning call of “passing left”! This does not remove the obligation of a cyclist to always shoulder check before changing your line.

Riding in a Group

  1. Drafting safely requires discipline, concentration and co-operation. Keep in mind that a rider who touches a wheel to the wheel of the bike ahead will come down, resulting in severe road rash or more serious injuries. When drafting offset your wheel slightly from the wheel ahead without overlapping rather than following directly behind.
  1. When riding two abreast ride shoulder to shoulder, no half wheeling.
  1. Respect the fact that you are riding in a group. Try not to suddenly break, accelerate or swerve unless you are trying to avoid an obstacle. A warning can be given when stopping quickly, or for potholes and other hazards but it is up to every rider to foresee such hazards and not depend on warnings alone.
  1. Don’t think that you have to constantly push the pace. Ride at a pace that is comfortable for everyone in your pace group. If you are riding two by two, don’t halfwheel because you want to go faster or if you are worried you’re not going fast enough. Just ride side by side and enjoy the ride and time spent with friends. If we ride as a group, everyone’s average speed will be higher.
  1. Understand the difference between speed and pace. Keeping a constant pace means that you a maintaining a constant perceived effort. If your pace is constant, your speed will vary depending on the wind, gradient and road surface. It is normal to for the speed to decrease on hills.
  1. Keep your attention on what is in front of you at all times. Any hazard that can cause you to crash will be in front of you. If you’re always turning your head to see what is behind you, you are increasing your chance of being crashed by a hazard you didn’t see. If you are looking behind, you are more likely to swerve or slow without realizing. This would make you the hazard.
  1. In a group the rider in front you is always then closest potential hazard. If your focus is forward, you will be aware of when that rider slows, accelerates or swerves and respond accordingly. It is your responsibility to avoid a collision with the rider in front of you..
  1. Keeping your focus forward does not mean that you are staring at only the rider in front of you. Use your whole visual field to be aware of any hazards around the group in front.
  1. Hold your line. On busy roads ride single file, hearing “car back” is helpful but expect that to be the case. When riding double file with a car back hold your line if the car has an opportunity to pass, if not carefully form a single line, the rider at the back should be the last to go to single file.
  1. The best way to make sure that everyone in the group is safe is to prioritize your own safety above all else. Remember that you are riding in a group. If you crash, there is a good chance that you will take someone else down..
  1. If we need to regroup choose a safe area away from the roadway. If the regroup must take place on the shoulder of a roadway because a suitable off road area is not available, make sure the regroup is a safe distance away from any intersection. If regrouping on a shoulder all cyclists must be off the main roadway.

Signalling your intentions video


Watch the videos below for visuals on group riding