Share the Road
As a small town of only four square-kilometres, many people walk or bike every day, year-round, and some people even get around by skateboard or push scooters. As a tourist destination hotspot, the town has many visitors who may be used to different traffic laws and even a different direction of traffic. That’s part of the reason Banff has a town-wide speed limit of 30km/h, lower than most communities in Alberta.
Legal safeguards for drivers:
- Drivers of motorized vehicles must yield to people cycling when they need extra space for their safety.
- In Banff, cyclists, skateboarders and scooter users must use the road, or multi-use trail, but not sidewalks.
- Drivers must share the through-lane with people cycling where a right-turn-only lane is provided, unless a sign indicates otherwise.
- Several intersections around Banff have green bike box turn lanes, which act as a priority queue lane for bikes making left turns. Vehicles cannot enter the green box zone and must wait for bikes to finish their turns before proceeding.
- Drivers must yield to people in a non-motorized vehicle lane, except at intersections where traffic signs and signals determine the right of way for all road users.
- Drivers yield to pedestrians and must not enter the intersection when the pedestrian crossing light is activated. Pedestrians have a right of way when crossing at uncontrolled intersections as well.
Other tips for Drivers:
- Drivers of vehicles should always keep 1 – 1.5 metres between their vehicle and cyclists when passing.
- Slow down and look both ways for people biking, walking, and using mobility aids at intersections, especially when turning.
- Look out for tourists. New visitors may get caught up in the beauty of our town and could be accustomed to different traffic regulations.
Cyclists must follow Alberta traffic regulations and Town of Banff bylaws including the Road, Sidewalks & Trail Bylaw . In Banff, that also means all motor vehicles and cyclists must obey the 30 km/h speed limit.
All cyclists must ride on the road. Fast moving bicycles on the sidewalk can surprise drivers entering an alley or driveway and can cause an accident.
Children under age 12 accompanied by a parent may ride their bike on the sidewalk. Be extra cautious when approaching alleyways and driveways.
Hand signals must be used by cyclists at all intersections.
Other tips for Cyclists:
- Ride single file.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Move off the path or to the right when stopping.
- Dismount or bike at walking speed in crowds.
- In Banff’s pedestrian zones, cycle at a walking pace when others are present and yield to pedestrians.
- Walk your bike on sidewalks and through crosswalks unless otherwise posted.
- Do not use your cellphone or other devices while you're in motion – it is illegal in Alberta.
- Shared lane markings, or “sharrows”, indicate sections of roadway that are shared by cyclists and motorists. Treat these as single lane roads.
- Green bike boxes are used to give cyclists priority when making a left turn. Enter the bike box on a red light and be ready to proceed on a green light.
- Yield the right-of-way to others on the right when you are at an intersection.
- Ring your bell/horn or use your voice to alert others when passing or approaching a blind spot such as a corner or hill.
Whether riding on pathways or roadways, people cycling must obey the following Provincial laws:
Pedal bicycles: Bicycle helmets must be worn by all bicycle riders and passengers under the age of 18.
Electric or power-assist bicycles: Bicycle helmets must be worn by all riders and passengers, regardless of age. Only those aged 12 and older are permitted to operate electric and power-assisted bicycles.
All bicycles should have a brake, bell, front and rear lights when riding at night.
Skateboards and push scooters
- Skateboards and push scooters can reach high speeds and thus share the same rules as cyclists.
- Do not ride your skateboard or push scooter on the sidewalk
- Do not exceed the speed limit. (30km/h).
- Use hand signals
- Yield to pedestrians
- Follow all traffic laws
Who has the right of way?
Bicycles are classified as vehicles under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act. This means people cycling have many of the same rights and legal responsibilities as other roadway users. Drivers are required to share all roads with people cycling in Banff.
Trails & Pathways
Pedestrians and cyclists on power assisted and pedal bicycles are permitted to use trails and multi-use shared pathways. Gas-powered bicycles are not permitted on the Town’s trails and pathways. Bicycles and E-bikes must follow the 30 km/h speed limit within Banff town limits. Be mindful of your fellow cyclists and adjust your speed accordingly. Always be mindful of pedestrians.
Pedestrians, people with strollers or baby carriages, walking a bike, using a wheelchair, mobility aid and children aged 12 or under on bicycle can use the Town’s sidewalks. Skateboards are not permitted to be ridden on sidewalks, except multi-use trails.
What types of small vehicles are permitted on roadways and trails?
Did you know that electric scooters, moped’s, golf carts, and mini motor bikes are not permitted on roadways, sidewalks, trails or pathways under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act? Unless a municipality passes a specific bylaw allowing e-scooters on roads or sidewalks, they are not permitted. You can learn more here.
For more information and resources on electric or power-assisted bicycle safety and etiquette visit bcaa.com/blog/community/e-bike-etiquette