"Enjoy the ride!"
- Mayor Dennis O'Keefe

Cycling and The Law

Laws that govern cycling in St. John's are effectively contained in the Newfoundland and Labrador Highway Traffic Act (HTA), provincial Regulations and the City of St. John's By-Laws.


Drivers and cyclists generally have similar rights and duties under the NL HTA. Thus HTA laws relating to traffic officers, signs, signals, yielding, etc generally apply to both drivers and cyclists. The HTA states that a person riding a bicycle upon a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver. Section 129(1)


Some laws that stand out include:

  • The St. John's Bicycle Helmet By-Law (No 1332) states that no person shall ride a bicycle unless that person is wearing a bicycle helmet. (2)(a) No parent or guardian shall knowingly permit a child under twelve to ride without a bicycle helmet. (3)
  • A cyclist shall not ride on a sidewalk. HTA 129(2)(a)
  • When riding between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise you are required to have a front white light, and a rear red light or rear red reflector on your bike. Fines: HTA 208. Consolidated NL Regulation 1007/96 Licensing and Equipment Regulations under the HTA (O.C. 96-211) Section 22
  • Your bicycle is required to have at least one brake that stops the bicycle. Fines: HTA 208. Consolidated NL Regulation 1007/96 Licensing and Equipment Regulations under the HTA (O.C. 96-211) Section 25(11)
  • Cyclists have the responsibility to be identifiable. It is a finable offence for failing to remain at the scene of an accident or to identify oneself and give your address to a police officer. You may be subject to arrest. HTA 169(6)(a)(b)(c).



City of St. John’s By-Law No 1332 (Bicycle Helmets):

Section Offence Fine Range ($)
2(a) Failure to ride a bicycle with a helmet 20-45
3 Parent of guardian permitting child under 12 to ride wihtout a helmet 20-45



Some key cyclist-related sections of the HTA are:

Section Offence Fine Range ($)
106(24) Failing to stop at a stop sign 100-400             
106(38) Failure to obey a no entry sign 100-400
106(40) Failure to obey signs reading " No Left Turn", "No Right Turn", "No Turns", or "No Right Turn on Yellow or Amber Light" 100-400
106(42) Proceeding wrong way on one-way highway 100-400
112 Failing to signal change of direction, etc. 100-400
121 Failing to yield right-of-way to emergency vehicle 300-900
125(1) Failing to yield right-of-way to pedestrian on crosswalk 100-400
127(a) Failing to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrian 100-400
129(2)(a) Riding bicycle on sidewalk 25-180
129(2)(b) Failing to ride close to the edge of the highway (Specific wording "shall ride as near as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway".) 25-180
129(2)(c) Riding bicycle abreast of another bicycle rider 25-180
129(2)(d) Riding bicycle without at least one hand on handle-bars 25-180
129(2)(e) Riding bicycle and not astride regular seat 25-180
129(2)(f) Carrying more persons on bicycle than designed for 25-180
129(2)(g) Carrying object which may interfere with operation or control of bicycle 25-180
129(2)(h) Driving bicycle on highway where signs prohibit use of bicycles 25-180
130 Person attaching on to vehicle on highway 25-180
136 Failing to obey yield sign at intersection 100-400
162 Failing to obey directions of a traffic officer 500-1200
165(a) Opening door of vehicle on highway 45-180
165(b) Leaving door of vehicle open 100-400
169(6)(a) Bicycle operator failing to remain at accident scene 100-400
169(6)(b) Bicycle operator failing to render assistance
169(6)(c) Bicycle operator failing to give name and address
169(7) Bicycle operator failing to make written report