More Canadians are riding bicycles than ever before, but misinformation about cycling and the law is common.
Whether you are a cycling commuter, the parent of a child with their first two-wheeler, a recreational rider, or a racer, the chances are you will need this book. In this second edition of Every Cyclist’s Guide to Canadian Law, Christopher Waters, a law professor and cycling advocate, provides a comprehensive overview of the Canadian law on bicycles. The book covers rules of the road, purchasing and using bikes, what to do in the case of a crash or a stolen bike, starting up your own cycling club, racing your bike, and much more.
Accessibly written and occasionally humorous, this book is written for those with little or no legal background. Using straightforward and jargon-free explanations, the author includes anecdotes and examples drawn from his own experience as a seasoned commuter and recreational cyclist. Every Cyclist’s Guide to Canadian Law, 2e will also provide an authoritative reference for lawyers, advocates, club directors, and coaches.
A portion of the proceeds from this book will go to the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
Table of Legislation and Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Riding Your Bicycle
Chapter 3: Crashes on Your Bicycle
Chapter 4: Breaking Your Bicycle
Chapter 5: Losing Your Bicycle
Chapter 6: Organizing on Your Bicycle
Chapter 7: Racing Your Bicycle
About the Author
“Every Cyclist’s Guide to Canadian Law is no ordinary lay discussion of a legal issue. This excellent book…is a thorough and sophisticated look at the emerging area of cycling law. […] The Introduction to the book sets out the authors’ ‘hope that this book will make your cycling safer, swifter, and more satisfying.’ That sentence is indicative of the book’s tone—accessible and conversational and, in my view, the book holds up to its promise. While the book includes advocacy for new or better laws…it is first and foremost a description and analysis of how the law stands now, and how it can affect your morning commute or bicycle race. […] Forcese and LaViolette manage to keep the writing crisp despite the jurisdictional variances; the book’s style is equivalent to a sunny morning’s ride with friends. […] It is good to see lawyers taking cycling seriously again.”
“Even though it is a guide written by lawyers, there are no assumptions that one must be a lawyer to understand the legalese as it’s written in plain English. For those unfamiliar with the Canadian legal system, the foundation is set with an introduction to the Canadian constitutional system, touching on the difference between common law and civil law, and the Canadian court system, making this book ideal for citizens and travelers to this country who wish to educate themselves on the cycling rules should they consider riding in Canada.”
In the early 2000s when I started focusing my legal practice on helping cyclists’, legal textbooks (like municipal road safety initiatives) were devoid of reference to cyclists. Discovering “Every Cyclists Guide to Canadian Law: First Edition” provided me with a unique legal tool and the insight I needed to help injured cyclists. It remains a foundational book in our firm’s legal library. Guiding our team to an understanding of the unique circumstances’ we cyclists face on the road.
Every Cyclists Guide to Canadian Law is also a beacon for our cycling community. It is easily accessible. Non-lawyers can pick it up and understand critical concepts related to cycling and the law. This book provides everyday cycling advocates with the tools, language, and case studies they need to push back against the many misconceptions tossed our way by non-cyclists and even by some of our elected officials.
I can’t wait to put this new version of the book to use, in my legal practice and in my road safety activism!
— Dave Shellnutt, The Biking Lawyer LLP
There has never been a better time to renew our friendship with the bicycle: climate change, social inequity, and the pandemic all support an expanded role for cycling in commuting, exercise, and recreation. Professor Chris Waters’s Every Cyclists’ Guide to Canadian Law (2nd edition) is a timely, valuable resource for cyclists, advocates, bike clubs, and decision-makers who already recognize the benefits of cycling but want to equip themselves with a foundation in relevant laws.
It’s no surprise that a guide that covers cycling laws in Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories is complicated by differences between jurisdictions. Who knew, for example, that a “bicycle” might include a vehicle with one wheel or as many as four? Waters nonetheless manages to provide an economic narrative supplemented by careful footnoting while directing his audience to additional resources for specific situations. Every Cyclists’ Guide even keeps pace with newer laws related to the proliferation of bikes where electric power supplements muscle power.
Waters’s guide provides a pleasant ride through the many laws that affect cycling, while providing useful warnings about legal pitfalls and potholes. In addition to the author’s expert summary of key cycling laws, he also provides context and insights, including personal anecdotes, for legal issues arising from riding on roads and trails, bike purchases and defects, and civil and criminal liability for road crashes.
— Albert Koehl, Environmental lawyer and founder of Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition
Whether you ride a bike, scooter, or unicycle, Every Cyclist’s Guide to Canadian Law should be on your bookshelf. This brilliant book is accessible and funny, with succinct, invaluable information on the laws that affect cycling. The book brings alive the legislation and legal cases that those on wheels engage with — constitutional, tort, property, municipal, and (hopefully not!) criminal — making it an ideal resource for all, as well as students, teachers, and policy-makers.
— Dr. Alexandra Flynn
Peter A. Allard School of Law
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver Campus | xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Traditional Territory