Cyclists, don’t get it wrong: Here’s how to turn right properly

All through the month of July we answer some common questions about biking in Toronto.

By Karen Kwan Wheels.ca

Jul 30, 2022 2 min. read

Article was updated a year ago

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Making a left turn on your bike at an intersection might make you feel vulnerable, but making a right turn can be tricky, too.

To start, although you’re on a bike, act as though you’re a car when you need to make a right turn where there is no designated cycling lane. That means you should be in the right-most lane and positioning yourself one meter from the curb.

Next, shoulder-check to see if there are any cars behind you. Besides making you aware of your surroundings, this acts as a signal to any drivers behind you that you are going to change your biking pattern. Then, make your right-turn hand signal – sticking your right arm out straight and pointing – before proceeding to make your turn once the way is clear of pedestrians crossing the street.

If there are cars in front of you waiting to make a right turn, wait in the line of traffic leading up to the intersection until it is your turn. Don’t hug the curb and squeeze by the cars so you can reach the corner faster. While you might feel safer hugging the curb rather than being toward the middle of the lane, some drivers might see this as an invitation to pass and turn ahead of you, said Keagan Gartz, executive director of the biking advocacy group Cycle Toronto. She said this “right hook” is one of the most common injuries among cyclists.

In situations where there is a bicycle lane or cycle track separated from the car lane by a solid white line, the Toronto Cycling Handbook said bicyclists have the right of way. Drivers should wait in their lane – and not merge into the bike lane (unless it is indicated they can) – and yield to cyclists until it is safe to turn. If there is a dashed line, the handbook said drivers can enter the cycling lane to turn and cyclists should pass on the left or wait behind the vehicle.

“Advice I give to bikers? Give space and use your best judgment if a car’s wheels are turning,” Gartz said. When it comes to biking safety, she said one of the most important things cyclists should remember is to be clear with their movements.




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