Railway Crossing Guidelines

Railway and streetcar tracks are very dangerous. Crossing at the wrong angle, they can spill you and damage your bicycle wheels. Always cross the tracks at right angles. Plan your crossing well ahead of time, slow down and put yourself into the best road position to make a right-angle crossing.

If the tracks are at an angle to the road, you may need a full lane. Use hand signals to slow traffic behind you and give you room to cross the tracks safely. Go slowly and stand on the pedals when crossing over particularly bumpy tracks.

Decision Matrix

Double file cycling is safer, more enjoyable, and more efficient. It is the default mode for group riding. There are some circumstances when a change to single file riding is justified; this matrix provides guidance in making that decision:


Roads with two or more lanes in the direction of travel:




Bicycles and Equipment


Road and hybrid bikes, typically with tires up to about 32 mm (1¼”) wide, are best-suited to club rides, although some members use mountain bikes. Mountain bikes, with wider and softer tires, offer more rolling resistance, and hence require more effort for the same distance. While a road bike is more suited to group riding, more important is your selection of a group whose speed you can match without tiring.

Cycling and the Law

It is in our own interest to obey traffic laws and follow the rules of the road. It only takes a few inconsiderate cyclists to create a negative perception of cyclists among the general public.

Below are some useful links pertaining to cycling and the law.

Group Riding Manoeuvres


When starting a ride or restarting en-route, after red lights, stop signs, mechanical problems etc. the group leader will announce that the group is starting. All riders will move off together as one unit and when it is clear that all riders are in formation, the speed can increase.

Group Riding Terminology

Groups and Packs

A group is several cyclists who wish to travel at about the same speed. If necessary, groups will be divided into smaller packs of six to twelve riders. Larger packs are difficult to manage; smaller packs will lead to early fatigue.

Group Ride Leader

The group ride leader organizes the ride and is responsible for the route, making announcements and giving directions at the start of the ride.

Group Riding


Ottawa Bicycle Club group rides are organized in packs of about six to twelve cyclists grouped according to speed, distance, ability, and interest of the participants. Riding in a pack allows riders to meet and converse with other riders, saves energy (particularly when riding into the wind), and it is easier for the ride leader to guide and direct riders. And, if you suffer a flat tire or any other problem, you will have other riders in your pack able and willing to help you.