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Your Privacy

Privacy policy

[updated 2009 October 24]

It is the policy of Bike Ottawa that personal information you provide, such as your name, personal postal and email address, or personal telephone number is private and confidential as described below

This policy tells you how we use personal information collected at this site. Please read it before using the site or submitting any personal information. By using the site, you are accepting the practices described in this privacy policy. These practices may be changed, but any changes will be posted.

The privacy practices set forth in this privacy policy are for this web site only. If you follow a link to other web sites, please review the privacy policies posted at those sites.

Collection of Information

We collect personally identifiable information including name, and email address, etc., when voluntarily submitted by our visitors. The information you provide is used to fulfill your specific request: for example to activate a registered user account or email you a newsletter. This information is only used to fulfill the described purpose(s).

As a standard part of its operation, the webserver logs a record of pages, images and other documents viewed or downloaded from the site, by IP address and referring URL or domain.

Events or other information that are submitted to us via email or the web contact form and that is intended for publication may be posted on the website and sent in email newsletters.


The site uses cookies and tracking technology. Cookies make it possible to easily customize the Site for visitors: for example, to show you a page selected from a menu, or allow you to sign into a members-only area. Personal information cannot be collected via cookies; however, if you previously provided personally identifiable information, cookies may be tied to such information.

Web Traffic analytics

The Site uses Google Analytics to assist us with identifying how the Site is used, such as the pages viewed, so that we can better meet users' needs. Data collected by this service is aggregated and is not personally identifiable. This can be turned off in the FireFox browser using Noscript or Ghostery plugins.

Aggregate information that is not personally identifiable, for example, the total number of vistors to the site, may be shared with third parties. (For example, page visit numbers help us understand which topics are popular and which topics need less attention.)

Distribution/Use of Information

We may share information with governmental agencies or other companies assisting us in investigating security breaches or illegal activity. We may do so when: (1) required by law; or, (2) trying to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud or unauthorized access to the site; or, (3) investigating unlawful activity which has already taken place.

All emails and newsletters from this site allow you to opt out of further mailings.

Emails sent to us or our lists are retained in full and may be accessed by different members of our community as follows:

  • Discuss list – totally public, including the email address you used to post a message
  • Other lists – to list subscribers only
  • Emails – within Bike Ottawa

Additionally, subscribers who received email from the lists will have a copy, and some Bike Ottawa IT people will have access to lists and emails for technical purposes.

Commitment to Data Security

Your personally identifiable information, such as your email address used to send you newsletters, is kept secure. Only authorized persons (who have agreed to keep information secure and confidential, and who have a need to know) have access to this information.

Information is stored on a server located in Toronto, Canada, and therefore is not subject to US laws that allow government access to private personal data without warrant.

Deletion of information

You may request us to delete from our system all personal information which you have provided. Upon confirmation, this will terminate any further contacts with you using this information and we will delete it from our records. However, submissions or comments you have made on the web or emails which you have sent us will be retained with any associated information, such as website, email, and name which you provided with the submission/contact/email.

Privacy Contact

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about our privacy policy you may contact us using the information below:

Bike Ottawa Secretary: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Bike Ottawa reserves the right to make changes to this policy. Any changes to this policy will be posted.

External Policies

Bike Ottawa's policies are developed after reviewing similar policies, where they exist, and other studies related to the issue. Each draft is approved by the Bike Ottawa Board of Directors, then circulated to Bike Ottawa members and cyclists for review and comment. After a review period, the Bike Ottawa Board incorporates any required changes and approves the policy in final form. Each final policy directs Bike Ottawa's actions related to the issue, and our representation to government and other agencies.

Our policies are focused on cycling aspects. For example, our policy on inline skating only deals with how inline skaters affect cyclists. Whether or not an inline skater wears a helmet is up to inline skaters to decide - unless that affects cyclists.

Bike Ottawa policies may be revised by the Board of Directors as the need arises.

We would like to thank all those volunteers and cyclists who have helped us draft our existing policies, and who commented on them and made them better.

These policies have been approved by the Bike Ottawa Board of Directors.

Bike Ottawa policy: Sharrows

While some experienced and confident cyclists find sharrows help emphasize their right to use the road, sharrows do not generally improve the safety or comfort of the average person. They are not a suitable substitute for cycling infrastructure for people of all ages and abilities. Bike Ottawa therefore supports the use of sharrows only as a temporary measure, or for alternative purposes such as bike-route wayfinding.

Link to Sharrows Position Satement PDF

Approved by the Bike Ottawa Board of Directors 2016/06/20

Bike Ottawa policy: Bike lanes

Bike Ottawa recognizes that many cyclists are more comfortable riding where bicycle lanes or markers indicate a well-defined area for bicycle travel. These lanes can be helpful to both cyclists and motorists by delineating space on the road for bicycle use. We support the implementation of bike lanes as part of a cycling network. Certain factors must be taken into consideration when creating bike lanes in order to maximize their utility and safety and achieve the ultimate goal of encouraging more people to ride bikes. 

This policy is not intended to provide technical specifications for bike lanes but should be used in conjunction with current best engineering practices for design of bicycle infrastructure. In this policy the term bicycle lane refers to all segregated, bidirectional, or on-street lanes.

The following factors should be taken into account when bicycle lanes are proposed:

1. Bicycle lanes should be designed to improve the comfort and safety of cyclists;

 2. Bicycle lanes should be properly signed and marked so that it is clear to all road users where the lane begins, flows and ends. The end of bicycle lanes should be clearly indicated to all road users and not lead users into awkward or dangerous situations; 

3. Care should be to taken where bicycle lanes meet intersections. This may require changing other aspects of the intersection, such as adding bike boxes. It should be made clear to all users how and where bicycles should travel to leave the bike lane to continue on an alternate route;

4. Bicycle lanes should be installed where there is sufficient width for bicycle trailers and adult tricycles to be safely passed; 

5. Bicycle lanes should be maintained, kept unobstructed, swept and repaired regularly;

6. The creation of a bicycle lane should not preclude the choice of a cyclist to ride with other traffic on an alternate or adjacent route.

- END -

Approved by the Bike OttawaBoard of Directors 2012 June 14


Bike Ottawa Statement of Purpose

Bike Ottawa is the non-profit association that promotes cycling as a viable means of transportation in Ottawa by advocating:

  • Acceptance of the responsible cyclist as a legitimate road user.
  • Education of all cyclists to improved riding and traffic skills as part of their normal driving skills.
  • Improved engineering to facilitate cyclist traffic, such as proper traffic control systems, adequate lane width, and sufficient parking.
  • Legislation that is effective and enforced.
  • Representation of cycling issues to all levels of government.


Bike Ottawa policy: Bicycle access to light rail

Combining cycling with public transportation can be the most efficient way to make a trip, using cycling's flexibility and public transportation's speed over longer distances. This synergy has already been demonstrated with the success of OC Transpo's Rack & Roll program (cycling racks on buses) and similar programs in other cities. 

Bike Ottawa believes that the Light Rail system should similarly allow bicycle access.

In order that this work, the following conditions should be met:

a) Bicycle parking must be available at all light rail stations, within view of the rail platform. Racks should be provided in the same numbers as for similar Transitway stations, and should be visible, lighted, and easily accessible and allow bicycles to be securely locked. 

b) Cyclists must be able to access the platforms of all Light Rail stations easily with their bicycles.

c) Passengers should be able to bring bicycles with them in Light Rail cars at all times, subject to space availability.

d) OC Transpo should establish written and well-advertised criteria for how and where bicycles are carried on trains to minimize conflicts and ensure safety. These criteria should specify safe places for bikes to be placed  in each car, and the maximum number of bicycles per car.

Approved by the CfSC Board of Directors 2001 March 13

Bike Ottawa Policy: Mixed-Use Pathways

Approved by the CfSC Board, 1989

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) notes that the pathway network in the National Capital Region continues to be extended, and that more links are being established between adjacent municipalities. CfSC also notes that the pathways are heavily used by both tourists and area residents, and therefore supports the continued presence and upgrading of the pathways. Notwithstanding the heavy use of the pathway network, the majority of cycle journeys will be made on the ordinary road network. For this reason the safety and suitability of the road network for cyclists must continue to be of paramount importance.

CfSC considers that the title "Recreational Path" is inappropriate because the pathway network is also heavily used, as an alternative to the road network, by commuting cyclists and by other cyclists undertaking non-recreational journeys. The title "Mixed-Use Pathway" more accurately represents the typical usage of the paths by all classes of cyclists and pedestrians.

The current pathway network, however, has a number of hazardous conditions and design faults which create unnecessary danger and inconvenience for pathway users. There are several causes for these deficiencies:


  1. Most of the pathways are too narrow to be safe for even moderate traffic levels, particularly because the different classes of users travel at significantly different speeds.
  2. There are numerous intersections and blind or tight corners where the sight distances and braking distances are inadequate.
  3. At many pathway/road intersections there are curbs that are as much as 200 mm high. These curbs are unnecessary, and are both dangerous and inconvenient.
  4. Design details, such as intersections, signs and pathway markings, are treated differently by the various jurisdictions responsible for the pathways. This leads to confusion for pathway users.
  5. The standard of maintenance is inadequate; subsidence/heaving, tree-root damage and cracks are not properly repaired, and consequently a safe riding surface is not maintained.
  6. Many of the pathway users do not obey traffic rules, and hence put themselves and others at risk by their unpredictable actions.

The following action is required:

  1. Recognize the needs of both recreational and non-recreational pathway users.
  2. Review the existing network to eliminate hazards such as blind spots, sharp turns and curbs at intersections.
  3. Establish on-going maintenance programs.
  4. Formulate a consistent design approach, based on recognized standards, that will be followed by all jurisdictions responsible for the pathways.
  5. Increase the capacity of busy pathways by widening and/or by separating different traffic flows.
  6. Apply proper and consistent design methods to pathway/road intersections so that the right of way is clearly allocated.
  7. Install cycle-activated traffic lights at busy or dangerous intersections that can be operated safely without dismounting.
  8. Install adequate warning and directional signs throughout the network.
  9. Implement educational programs for pathway users.
  10. Introduce pathway regulations that are applicable to all users, and then provide the necessary enforcement.

- END -

Bike Ottawa Policy: Inline Skating

approved by the CfSC Board of Directors, 1995 August 21

In principle CfSC supports inline skating as another environmentally-friendly, healthy mode of transportation that benefits not only the skater but the whole community. CfSC does not support inline skating on sidewalks.

Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Inline skaters who travel on sidewalks are substantially more at risk than on the road, just as cyclists are. Inline skaters who travel on sidewalks increase their risks of colliding with cyclists turning across the sidewalk or at intersections with the road.

The speed differential between cyclists and inline skaters is no more likely to cause conflicts than the speed differential between fast and slow bicycles or motor vehicles and bicycles. Conflicts are most frequently caused when road users are not predictable or conspicuous, not by speed differentials.

The following safety requirements must be met before inline skaters can be successfully and safely share roads, including bicycle lanes, with bicycle traffic. Until then, CfSC does not support the increased use of those roads now used by cyclists by inline skaters. CfSC encourages inline skating users, industry and government agencies to address the following issues promptly and proactively:

Adherence to common rules of the road
Inline skaters must be legally required to follow the same rules of the road as other road users, including cyclists, adapted as appropriate for inline skating. Road safety and efficient movement occur when all road users follow the same rules and are predictable.

Minimum braking performance
An inline skater must be able to stop in the same distance both on a level surface and on a 5 percent downgrade as a 80 kg cyclist with bicycle.

Conspicuity and lighting
When skating on public roads between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise, inline skaters must be legally required to use a white front headlight and rear red light that are both visible for a distance of 150 metres.

Improved road surface
Road surfaces, including ironworks, and maintenance must be improved to the level that inline skaters are not required to swerve frequently to avoid hazards. Sudden, unexpected swerving could cause collisions with cyclists.

Requirement to identify when stopped by a police officer
Like cyclists, inline skaters must be required to identify themselves to a police officer when stopped for an HTA offence; otherwise laws that direct safe behaviour are unenforceable.

Laws and regulations required to ensure safe inline skating should be incorporated in provincial highway traffic acts, and only as absolutely required by regional municipal bylaws. CfSC does not support the creation and enforcement of new bylaws to regulate inline skating by local municipalities.

CfSC does not support the use of poles by skaters on public roads.

Young and inexperienced cyclists are responsible for a high portion of their own crashes. CfSC encourages inline skating user and industry groups to make instruction on safe skating and traffic skills widely available, as cycling skills courses are now being made available to cyclists of all ages.

All users of the recreational path system must cooperate in sharing the path, and must ensure that they do not obstruct other users who are operating according to usage guidelines. Cyclists should be able to safely pass or ride on the opposite side of the path without concerns about skaters' unpredictable side-to-side motions.

Where paths are twinned, skaters should share paths with cyclists and not with pedestrians.

Bike Ottawa Policy: The bicycle as a law enforcement tool

Approved by the CfSC Board, March 1990

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) supports the use of bicycles as law enforcement tools, and welcomes their introduction to Ottawa-Carleton. Ottawa, Gloucester and Nepean have now joined police forces across Canada, the United States and throughout the world in recognizing that bicycles can be of significant assistance to police officers in their everyday work.

Many officers using bicycles have commented on the ease with which they have been able to approach a suspect in a crowded location without the officer's presence becoming known. This ability has provided a significant deterrent against all classes of street crime, making the street a safer and more pleasant environment for all.

The quiet and unobtrusive approach of the bicycle has also facilitated the patrolling of secluded areas, such as parks and paths, where before the introduction of officers on bicycles there had been very little deterrent against personal offences such as muggings, theft and rape.

As another example, where traffic violations have occurred on crowded streets, officers on bicycles have been much more successful in apprehending the offending road users (motorists, cyclists and pedestrians) because of the officers' increased freedom of movement.

There has been positive feedback from both police officers and members of the public because the officers and the public are no longer separated from each other as has so long been the case when the officer is in a patrol car. This willingness to get out amongst the people has lessened the stereotypical "them and us" image of the police officer.

In addition to these direct improvements in the provision of policing services, there are significant environmental benefits (reduced pollution from idling car exhausts, noise, etc.) which should not be discounted. Bicycles also incur lower capital and maintenance costs, thus providing better and more cost-effective policing.

As can be seen from the above, police officers on bicycles are well-suited to undertake many tasks, not only the frequently- mentioned apprehension of cyclists who have committed traffic violations.

- END -

Bike Ottawa Policy: Child Cycling Education

Approved by the CfSC Board, 2001 October 18

Citizens for Safe Cycling believes that effective cycling education and training should be available to every child. This should be undertaken when children are at a suitable age of development and are beginning to ride on their own, around the age of nine.

A bicycle is a child's first vehicle. They have no experience, yet children are given very little cycling instruction. Effective educational programs are ones that happen over time and on the road. Effectiveness is measured by positive behavioural changes and a reduction in crash rates. These programs involve bike handling skills, how to ride on the road and the proper use of helmets. The KIDS CAN-BIKE and other CAN-BIKE programs incorporate all of these elements.

Educational programs would involve extensive follow-up over time as to their effectiveness. Follow-up will lead to course improvements.

Availability means courses should be offered in the child's community, thus enabling more children to reach a course and to enforce positive behaviours in their own communities. School based community cycling programs (community use of schools) and local community centres would allow for the greatest amount of availability.

Availability also means the continued need for instructor development. This includes instructor identification and comprehensive training. Without adequate instructors, there is no availability.

Parents/guardians are currently a child's first cycling instructor. Most children learn to ride a bicycle between the ages of five to eight. Children of this age are very amenable to training. Young children are at various stages of developing strategic thinking skills and are far less efficient at switching attention; therefore adult supervision is necessary.

Depending on location, level of traffic and the child's development, older children also require knowledgeable adult supervision.

In order to provide safe cycling, cycling education programs for younger children are aimed at providing parents/guardians and their children greater practical knowledge.

Elements include bicycle handling skills, rules of the road for cyclists, safe riding practices and understanding children's ability to comprehend road danger and apply that knowledge at different ages, and proper use of helmets.

Investment and promotion of child cycling education is essential.

- END -


Bike Ottawa Policy: Bicycle licensing

Approved by the CfSC Board, April 1991

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) does not believe that a bicycle licensing scheme will benefit either cyclists or non-cyclists. Bicycles provide direct benefit to their users (inexpensive transportation, improved health and fitness) and indirect benefits to society as a whole (lower highway costs, less pollution), and therefore the use of bicycles should be encouraged.

CfSC does not consider that a licensing scheme will provide any encouragement to the use of bicycles. In particular, it is the opinion of CfSC that: 

  1. The additional bureaucracy required to license a bicycle will discourage the use of bicycles, particularly by casual or new users. It is illogical that an individual's decision to change to a lower-cost and lower-impact mode of transportation should cause increased cost and inconvenience to that individual.
  2. Cyclists already pay a significant share of highway costs through general taxation. Each person that uses a bicycle causes a reduction in demand for road space, and a reduction in road maintenance costs. Cyclists must not be singled out to pay an increased share of these costs by what is, in effect, discriminatory taxation.
  3. Unless the license fee is set at an unrealistically high level, it is unlikely that the revenue will be significantly greater than the administrative costs (it is for this reason that the majority of bicycle licensing schemes have been abandoned). The scheme will therefore not produce any tangible benefits, and will operate only as a disincentive to cycling.
  4. The practical aspects of implementation and enforcement do not appear to have been addressed. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to license out-of-town riders or bicycles. Police manpower will be diverted from apprehending traffic law offenders to the task of checking bicycle licenses.

CfSC does not support the implementation of a bicycle licensing scheme. CfSC believes that the planning and construction of cycling facilities should be funded from general taxation in the same manner as almost all other municipal and provincial facilities.

- END -

Bike Ottawa Policy: Bicycle helmets

Approved by the CfSC Board, July 1991

Updates to reflect emphasis on infrastructure approved by the CfSC Board, July 2016

CfSC does not support mandatory helmet use because this would serve to reinforce the misconception that wearing a helmet is the best way of preventing cycling injuries, and would divert effort from the more important factors of infrastructure, education, and on-road behaviour. Furthermore, mandatory helmet use can be a barrier to cycling.

The use of helmets will not reduce either the incidence of cycling collisions or injuries to other parts of the body. The best way to reduce all types of injuries is to reduce collisions. This can most effectively be achieved by proper infrastructure, education, and enforcement.


Bike Ottawa Policy: Bicycle Helmet Legislation

Approved by the CfSC Board, October 1991


It is the opinion of Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) that Bill 124, the Bill to make the wearing of bicycle helmets compulsory in Ontario, should not be enacted because:

  1. It would serve to reinforce the current public misconception that wearing a helmet is the only way of preventing cycling injuries, and
  2. It would divert effort from the more important factors of education and on-road behaviour.


CfSC recommends that all factors relating to the compulsory wearing of helmets should be fully reviewed before any legislation is enacted. This task should be undertaken by a committee or task force that has members with specific experience in this field. The review should receive input from parties that represent both pro and anti opinions, and should include a study of the opinions and experience of parties from other jurisdictions where similar legislation has been proposed or enacted. The results from this review should then be integrated into the Ontario Bicycle Policy review.

Until this review is complete, the wearing of helmets should be encouraged through a public awareness program. Any such program must, however, stress that accidents can be avoided by education and a proper understanding of traffic cycling principles. For example, a cyclist riding safely (with the traffic, using lights at night), and therefore not encountering potential accidents, could be contrasted with a cyclist riding against the traffic, or without lights, who experiences a series of near-misses. This would readily convey the message that riding in a predictable manner is the safest way to ride, and the best way to avoid personal injury.


Bike Ottawa policy: Benefits of neighbourhood schools

Approved by the CfSC Board, 2000 October 5

Since Citizens for Safe Cycling strongly encourages cycling and walking to school, we support school locations that allow as many children as possible to walk or cycle to school. We oppose policies that direct urban children to schools that are located so far from their homes as to make walking or cycling too dangerous or completely impractical (other than to permit certain specialized programs).

We support the concept of neighbourhood schools, located in the middle of residential areas in all parts of the city, which can be reached easily by foot or by bike (with special routes set up as necessary for younger children). When new subdivisions are being approved, the proximity and capacity of the neighbourhood schools should be considered. If the schools aren't within walking/cycling distance, the school boards must have plans and schedules to build new schools that meet these needs.

In addition, to the extent that these schools remain open for after-school and evening activities, they allow children to walk or cycle to reach their recreational destinations, again eliminating unnecessary car trips.

CfSC opposes closing neighbourhood schools if these closures will force many children to take the bus or be driven to school, rather than being able to cycle or walk. We believe that the health and other disadvantages to the students, as well as the blow to the neighbourhoods which will no longer be anchored by a school, will more than outweigh any cost savings.

When a school is opened or closed, the zone boundaries should be re-examined so as to maximise the number of students within walking/cycling distance of their school. This may increase number of students disrupted by the school closure, but it is our belief that the long term benefits to the students and the environment outweigh the short term costs.

see also: Benefits of cycling and walking to school

- END -

Bike Ottawa Policy: Restricted Turns

Approved by the CfSC Board, May 1991

There are numerous locations throughout the Region where specific manoeuvres (often left turns, but sometimes right turns and straight ahead travel) are restricted. Some of these restrictions apply all day, others only apply at certain times or on certain days of the week.

These restrictions have been implemented for several reasons, for example:

  1. To prevent turning vehicles from causing disproportionate delay to following or oncoming vehicles (for example the numerous "no left turns" and "no right turns" on Bank Street at intersections where a following vehicle could not overtake a stationary turning vehicle due to inadequate road width).
  2. To prevent potentially dangerous manoeuvres at locations where visibility is restricted (for example the "no right turn on red" from Bronson Avenue (northbound) onto Slater Street (eastbound) where vehicles ascending the hill from Scott Street are not easily visible from Bronson Avenue).
  3. To prevent "short-cutting" through residential neighbourhoods or other areas with inadequate through routes (for example the "no right turns" from Sunnymede Avenue and Clearview Avenue (westbound) onto Island Park Drive (northbound) to prevent traffic travelling from Scott Street to Island Park Drive from cutting through the Champlain Park neighbourhood).

Some of these restrictions are clearly pertinent to all classes of vehicles. The restriction at Bronson Avenue / Slater Street is an example of this class of restriction.

Some restrictions, however, are strictly only pertinent to larger vehicles, either because of their size or because of the generally unpleasant effects caused by numerous larger vehicles travelling through quiet residential neighbourhoods. The Bank Street restrictions provide several examples of locations where a bicycle waiting at the curb (to turn right), or at the yellow line (to turn left), would not impede following traffic. The Champlain Park neighbourhood provides an example of the intention to prevent large/noisy/smelly vehicles from idential neighbourhood, whereas bicycles, by contrast, have a significantly lower impact on the residential environment.

The effect of some of these restrictions is to cause journeys to take longer, or to be less convenient, both because of the delays and because of the longer routes that are sometimes required. For the cyclist, such a longer journey is a greater inconvenience than it is to the motorist.

It is CfSC's opinion that some of the restrictions that are not strictly pertinent to bicycles should be relaxed to provide positive encouragement for the greater use of bicycles for urban travel. CfSC notes that the principle of discriminating against certain classes of vehicles already exists in the restriction of trucks to designated truck routes.

- END -

Bike Ottawa Policy: Sidewalk Cycling

Approved by the CfSC Board, May 1991


Pedestrian safety
Pedestrians travel at about 5 to 8 km/h, and do not expect to be overtaken, or to meet, traffic travelling at a much higher speed. Pedestrians tend to stop suddenly, or move sideways (either when travelling, or from a stationary position) without shoulder-checking. These circumstances can easily cause accidents, with risk of significant injury to both parties. Elderly or poor-sighted pedestrians can also be frightened by faster-moving bicycles. Child pedestrians are typically less controlled on sidewalks, and therefore also present a risk of injury to themselves or to cyclists.

Cyclist safety
The comments above regarding pedestrian safety apply equally to cyclist safety. In addition, at intersections, motorists (and cyclists) are also expecting the traffic on the sidewalk to be moving at about 5 to 8 km/h. They may not anticipate the arrival of a sidewalk cyclist at a much greater speed, and an accident may occur because the cyclist "came from nowhere". Riding up and down sidewalk curbs, and dodging pedestrians, will also increase the risk of a "falling-type" accident.

Erratic behaviour
The traffic system works relatively well because the actions of each road-user are fairly predictable. This is only the case because the rules of the road are well-known, generally understood, and followed by most road-users. The actions of pedestrians, by contrast, are significantly less predictable. This is not a major problem if the other traffic sharing the same space is also pedestrian traffic, but it becomes a significant problem when cyclists use both the road and the sidewalk. It is not uncommon for sidewalk cyclists to shift from road to sidewalk, and back, as "necessary" to avoid an obstruction. This kind of behaviour makes it almost impossible for other road-users, and pedestrians, to predict the next manouevre by the cyclist. This will increase the risk of accidents, and will also increase the ill-feeling that both road-users and pedestrians often voice towards cyclists.

The big misconception
The big misconception is that a bicycle accident is an accident between a bicycle and a car. It is on this basis that cyclists are considered to be safer on sidewalks (because they can't be hit by a car). Unfortunately there are many more types of bicycle accidents, and the risks associated with these types of accidents are generally increased if cyclists ride on the sidewalks.


Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) believes that the bicycle is a vehicle and should be used on the road. CfSC does not support the designation of sidewalks for the use of cyclists as an alternative to the proper design of roads for use by all modes of transportation. CfSC believes that only in special circumstances should the use of bicycles on sidewalks be permitted, and that the decision to permit such use should take into account all the associated risks. All such facilities should be designed in accordance with the Community Cycling Manual (Canadian Institute of Planners).

Factors that must be assessed include:

  1. Increased risk of injury to pedestrians and sidewalk cyclists due to erratic or unpredictable behaviour on the part of either party.
  2. Increased risk of accidents between sidewalk cyclists and other vehicles at path-road intersections where the right of way is not stated or is unclear.
  3. Confusion as to whether cyclists are permitted to ride on particular sidewalks.
  4. Uncertain jurisdiction and lack of enforceable rules.
  5. The risk that accidents may occur because of carelessness resulting from the misconception that sidewalks are safer because there are no cars on sidewalks.

The use of bicycles on sidewalks might be appropriate under some of the following circumstances. In all cases, the minimum requirements must include enforceable rules, and (excepting the use of sidewalks by children) clear signage designating each particular sidewalk.

  1. Children below a certain age, or riding bicycles below a certain size (but possibly not on downtown sidewalks).
  2. Separate paths alongside existing major roads that have few intersections and a low level of pedestrian traffic.
  3. Elements of the existing shared pathway network.

With respect to the existing shared paths, many of these paths exist in a legal limbo-land. Responsibility and jurisdiction is uncertain, and enforceable traffic rules are almost non-existent. The responsible authorities should establish a practicable pathway code that can be applied to all paths, including sidewalks.

- END -

Headings and overarching text was updated in 2017 with the new name "Bike Ottawa". Where a policy was approved before CfSC changed our name to Bike Ottawa, this text was not altered.

Internal Policies


Bike Ottawa strives to use our own pictures. If pictures from others are used, effort will be put into mentioning the source. Bike Ottawa images can be used for non commercial goals. Commercial parties should contact us first.

When taking photos of children, Bike Ottawa will ask parents if they agree that Bike Ottawa can use the photos. For printed materials, written permission is required. Reasonable efforts should be made to get permission when taking photos of other people. (June 11, 2014)


Expense Claims

From time to time, board members may have to make modest expenses. If approved in advance, expenses will be reimbursed. As per the board meeting of April 15, 2015, all repayable expenses are submitted to the treasurer within 3 months of incurring the expense.




Bike Ottawa is committed to providing its volunteers with a harassment-free work environment. To this end, the Board of Directors has adopted the following policy


Harassment means any improper behaviour by a person(s) volunteering with Bike Ottawa that is directed at and/or directly experienced by any volunteer as offensive and which that person(s) knew or ought reasonably to have known would be unwelcome and unwarranted. It comprises objectionable conduct, comment or display made on either a one-time or continuous basis that demeans, belittles, causes personal humiliation or embarrassment to a volunteer.


All volunteers, including the Board of Directors, have a responsibility to keep our organization harassment-free.


If a volunteer with Bike Ottawa feels harassed, an attempt should be made, if possible, to immediately advise the respondent that the conduct is unacceptable and should cease. This can be done verbally or in writing.

If this has no effect, or is not possible, the complainant should speak with a member of the Board of Directors. A written record of dates, times, nature of the behaviour, names of witnesses (if any) and locations should be kept by the complainant.

The member of the Board of Directors will notify the executive committee of the Board, comprised of the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, which will meet confidentially to hear the complaint.

The complainant can be accompanied by the person of his or her choice when presenting the complaint to the Board's executive committee.

A member of the executive committee or its designate will approach the subject(s) of the complaint and request a written response to the allegations.

The executive committee will be given the freedom to deal with the complaint in the way it feels best given the circumstances.

(October 1996, updated 2014 by removing the word 'employee' as CfSC is currently 100% volunteer driven, updated in 2017 to replace CfSC with our new name "Bike Ottawa")


Citizens for Safe Cycling (Ottawa-Carleton) BY-LAWS

statutory requirements are shown like this and cannot be changed by CfSC.

WHEREAS Citizens for Safe Cycling (Ottawa-Carleton) is a non-profit organization incorporated in the Province of Ontario and whose object is to promote cycling as a viable means of transportation

1. Name

The official name of the organization is CITIZENS FOR SAFE CYCLING (OTTAWA-CARLETON) otherwise known as Citizens for Safe Cycling or CfSC

2. Membership

a) Membership in the organization shall not be restricted, but open to all interested individuals and corporations.

b) There shall be individual, household, and corporate memberships. Other types may be created at the discretion of the Board.

c) Privileges of Membership.

i) Members will receive the CfSC newsletter and other publications as approved by the Board.

ii) Voting.

An individual member who has been a member for at least one full calendar month is entitled to one vote at all general meetings of the organization at which they may be present.

A Household membership shall entitle two persons living at the same address to be members as though they were individual members with each having a voting right. However, they shall be entitled to only one copy per issue of CfSC's newsletter and other printed material which CfSC may make available from time to time.

No other classes of membership shall have voting rights at general meetings.

iii) Individual and household members may be nominated for election to the Board.

iv) Members may participate in all scheduled events of the organization.

d) Responsibilities.

Members shall be expected to:

i) Encourage and promote cycling as a healthy, economical, ecologically sound, and viable means of transportation, and

ii) Display courtesy, good sense, and concern for the safety of self and others while cycling.

e) Dues will be set by, and revised at the discretion of, the Board.

f) Any member in arrears in payment of membership dues shall forfeit all privileges of membership forthwith until payment of such arrears.No member whose dues are in arrears shall vote at any meeting

g) Termination of Membership

I. Resignation.

A member may resign from the organization by providing written notification to the Secretary.

II. Expulsion.

i) A member may be expelled from the organization by resolution of the Board where substantial evidence indicates that the member is acting against the interests of the organization.

ii) Notice shall be mailed to the expelled member within seven days of the decision of the Board, explaining the reason or reasons for the expulsion.

iii) The expelled member shall forfeit all membership privileges, and shall forfeit all membership dues paid for the current term of membership.

iv) Expulsion may be appealed at a General Meeting which shall be called within three months of the date of the receipt of the appeal.Should quorum not be achieved, the appeal will be deferred until the next General Meeting of the organization. If the expulsion is successfully appealed, the member will regain all membership privileges.

h) A list of members with their last known address shall be kept by the Board and shall be made available to any member upon request. No member shall use this list for any purpose unrelated to the affairs of the organization.

3. Meetings

a) Board Meetings may be called by any Director of the Board whenever necessary. All Board Meetings shall be open to the general membership. All Directors must be given notice.

b) General Meetings of the membership may be called by the Board whenever necessary. The membership shall receive at least 21 days notice of such a meeting. General meetings may also be called at the written request of not less than one-tenth of the membership. Sufficient notice shall be given for such a meeting also explaining the purpose of the meeting. (s.295, 296)

c) The Annual General Meeting of the organization shall be held on or before December 31 of each year, at a time and place designated by the Board.

d) Quorum.

i) A majority of Directors must be physically present at any meeting of the Board to constitute a quorum.(s.288)

ii) Quorum at a General Meeting shall be the lesser of twenty members in good standing or five percent of the membership.

e) Meetings shall be held within the City of Ottawa.

4. Board of Directors

a) The Board shall consist of President, Past President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and members-at-large. Directors shall be elected to these positions by the membership. The number of directors shall be determined by the Letters Patent and may be changed by Special Resolution.

5. Duties of the Board

a) The Board is responsible for the management of the business affairs of the organization.

b) The Board shall organize and prepare the program for all meetings of the organization.

c) The Board shall create any committees which may be necessary for carrying out the activities of the organization.

d) The Board may temporarily fill any vacancies on the Board until the Annual General Meeting.

e) The Board shall retain minutes of all proceedings at meeting of members and directors.

f) The Board shall provide a full report on the financial position and activities of the organization at the Annual General Meeting.

g) The Board shall annually appoint the Chair of the Management Committee for the CfSC Cycling Safety and Promotion Program.

h) The Board shall annually appoint CfSC's representatives on those advisory committees where CfSC has representatives.

i) The Board shall appoint a Nominations Committee no later than 30 days before the Annual General Meeting. The Nominations Committee shall accept the nominations for the Board of Directors and shall supervise the election of Directors.

6. Duties of Officers of the Board

a) The President shall act as executive head of the organization and shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.

b) The Vice-President shall assume the duties of the President in the absence of the President.

c) The duties of the Secretary shall include:

i) Safe-keeping the Seal of the organization, and ensuring the safe-keeping of all books, papers, records, correspondence, contracts, and other documents of the organization.

ii) Ensuring that minutes of all Board meetings and General Meetings of members are accurately recorded.

iii) Conducting or overseeing the correspondence of the organization

iv) Ensuring that required notice is given to Directors, members, auditors, and committees of the Board.

v) Making the minutes and records of the organization s business available to any member upon receipt of 48 hours notice.

d) The duties of the Treasurer shall include:

i) Ensuring that an accurate account of the organization's financial status is maintained, including overseeing the necessary day-to-day banking procedures.

ii) Presenting a financial report to every Board meeting, and financial statements at the AGM and at least quarterly to the Board.

iii) Overseeing the preparation of budgets for the organization and the CfSC Cycling Safety and Promotion Program for each fiscal year.

e) The Past President shall mentor and assist the President to ensure a smooth transition between Presidents, as well as any other duties assigned by the Board.

7. Delegation of powers and duties

In the case of the absence or inability to act of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer or any other Director, or for any other reason that the Board may deem sufficient, the Board may delegate all or any of the powers and duties of such Director to any other Director.

8. Remuneration

No Board Member shall receive any remuneration for services to the organization, except that a Board Member who is a certified CAN-BIKE cycling skills instructor may teach cycling skills courses at the standard rate of payment by CfSC, for the CfSC Cycling Safety and Promotion Program.

9. Conflict of Interest

a) Financial

Any Director who has a financial interest in any contract or transaction to be approved by the Board shall declare such an interest at the Board meeting at which the contract or transaction would be discussed, and shall absent themselves from the meeting during the discussion of that item and refrain from voting on that item.

b) Responsibility to CfSC

Each Director shall consider that his or her primary allegiance in the conduct of CfSC's business shall be to CfSC. If the Director's membership in any other organization would affect his or her judgment on any item before the Board, the Director shall declare that membership and shall refrain from voting on that item.

10. Election of the Board of Directors

a) The election of the Directors of the Board shall take place at the Annual General Meeting of the organization.(s.287)

b) Notice of the Annual General Meeting shall indicate the process for nominations for election to the Board.

c) The Chair of the Nominations Committee shall present the names of all nominees, who are members in good standing, which have been submitted to the committee for consideration at the AGM. Any member may nominate from the floor any other member in good standing who is present at the meeting or who has indicated in writing a willingness to stand for election.

d) Board members shall be elected for a two year term. The President, Secretary, one-half of the members-at-large, and any vacant positions shall be elected in odd years. The Vice-president, Treasurer, remaining members-at-large and any vacant positions shall be elected in even years.

At the conclusion of the President's two year term, if they are not re-elected President either because they choose not to run or are defeated in an election, the President shall automatically assume the position of Past President for a subsequent two year term. If the President resigns before the conclusion of their two year term, they are not entitled to serve as Past President.

If for whatever reason, the Past President position cannot be filled in any year, an additional member-at-large position may be elected for that year in lieu of the Past President.

If a replacement President was appointed by the Board during the previous term, the replacement President may run for election as President, but may not assume the position of Past President.

e) If a Board member who has completed one year of a two-year term is elected to another Board position at the AGM, that Board member's former position shall be declared vacant, and an election for the former position shall be held at the AGM.

f) Any vacancies that occur on the Board which do not affect quorum may be filled for the remainder of the term by the directors currently in office.

g) All nominees shall be members in good standing of the organization.

h) The terms of Directors start at the end of the annual general meeting where they are elected to or assume their positions, and run until the end of the annual general meeting when their terms expire.

i) The person filling the position of Past President shall not be elected to or appointed to a position as an Officer of the Board again until the next annual general meeting after the one in which his or her term expires.

11. Termination of Directors

a) The office of a Director shall forthwith be vacated if:

i) the holder of such office becomes bankrupt or suspends payment of debts generally or compounds with creditors or makes an authorized assignment or is declared insolvent.

ii) the holder of such office is found to be a mentally incompetent person or a person mentally incapable of managing his or her own affairs.

iii) by notice in writing to the Secretary, the holder of such office resigns his or her office.

iv) at a general meeting of members, a resolution is passed by at least three-quarters of the members present and voting at the meeting that the holder of such office be removed from office

v) the holder of such office ceases to be a member of Citizens for Safe Cycling

b) Board members who miss three consecutive Board meetings without adequate notice or excuse (based on a hearing of the Board), will be considered as having resigned from the Board.

12. Agents and Employees

a) The Board may appoint such agents and engage such employees as it shall deem necessary from time to time and such persons shall have such authority and shall perform such duties as shall be prescribed by the Board.

b) All agents and employees of Citizens for Safe Cycling, in the absence of agreement to the contrary, shall be subject to removal by resolution of the Board at any time.

c) All agents and employees shall sign such contracts, documents or instruments in writing as require their respective signatures and shall have the authority to perform all powers and duties incident to their respective offices and such powers and duties as may from time to

time be assigned to them by the Board.

c) The remuneration of all agents and employees shall be fixed by the Board by resolution.

13. Finances

a) All funds of the organization shall be deposited in a Chartered Bank, Trust Company, Credit Union, or Province of Ontario Savings Office.Payments shall be made by cheque, signed by any two Directors designated by the Board or the Treasurer and any other agent or employee designated by the Board.

b) The books and records of the organization shall be held by the Treasurer or an officer of the Board designated by the Treasurer and may be inspected by any member of the organization upon receipt of forty eight hours notice.

c) The fiscal year of the organization shall terminate on the 31 day of October in each year.

d) The Board may from time to time:

i) borrow money on the credit of Citizens for Safe Cycling

ii) charge, mortgage, hypothecate or pledge all or any of the real or personal property of Citizens for Safe Cycling including book debts, rights, powers, franchises and undertakings, to secure any money borrowed, or any other debt or any other obligation or liability of Citizens for Safe Cycling.

E) An audited annual financial statement shall be made available to members at the annual general meeting, and at other times upon special request

14. Changes in by-laws

a) The by-laws of the organization may be amended, revised or repealed by a vote of not less than two thirds of the voting members of the organization present at any General Meeting.

15. Changes in Letters Patent

a) The organization may change the number of directors or the location of the head office to another place in Ontario by Special Resolution which shall be filed with the government and published in The Ontario Gazette within fourteen days after the resolution has been confirmed by the membership.

b) Other changes such as the change in the names and information about directors shall be filed with the government within ten days of the change.

- END -


Original approved at the Citizens for Safe Cycling general meeting of 1992 April 24.

Modifications approved at CfSC AGM of 1996 November 24.

Modifications approved at CfSC AGM of 2000 November 3.

Modifications approved at CfSC AGM of 2003 October 24.

Modifications approved at CfSC AGM of 2006 October 12.

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