Health Information and Tools > Health A-Z >  Safety tips for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

Traffic Safety

Safety tips for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians

​​​​​​​​​​​​There are many ways to get around—including driving, riding your bike, and walking. Injuries that happen while you’re going from one place to another are a big problem in Alberta.

Driving safety tips

Many adults drive a motor vehicle (such as a car, truck, or motorcycle) every day. It may even be part of your job. It’s easy to forget that driving uses many skills, often at the same time.​​

Common reasons for motor vehicle injuries include:

  • being distracted (doing something else while you’re driving)
  • having drugs or alcohol in your system
  • being aggressive
  • being tired
  • not wearing a seatbelt
  • not having enough training

Look first

  • Always think ahead.
  • Be alert — remember that you share the road with other people who are driving, riding bikes, and walking (pedestrians).
  • Make sure you can see the road clearly. Take time to clear ice, snow, and dirt from your windows and lights.
  • When turning, look both ways for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Be patient, especially with children, older pedestrians, or adults with small children or strollers. They may need more time to cross the road.
  • Slow down on residential streets and in school, playground, and construction zones.

Get trained

  • Get proper training and practice to lower the risk of injury.
  • Take a defensive driving course, sign up for motorcycle training, and obey the rules of the road.

Buckle up

  • Always wear a seat belt and use child safety seats. They’re 2 of the best safety devices ever invented. They save lives and prevent injuries.
  • Remember that wearing a seat belt is the law in Alberta. But it's more than that — it just makes good sense. Make it a habit. It sets a good example for others, including your children.

Drive sober

  • Always be in complete control when driving.
  • Have no drugs or alcohol in your system.
  • Drive calmly (not aggressively).
  • Be fully awake and alert.
  • Focus only on driving and don’t do anything else. Alberta’s distracted driving law tells drivers not to do things such as text, read, or use hand-held cell phones while driving. The penalty for distracted driving is a $300 fine and 3 demerit points. For more information about the distracted driving law, read Alberta's Distracted Driving Laws​.

Cycling safety tips

When you ride a bicycle on the road, it is classified as a vehicle. Cyclists have the sameresponsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Remember to share the road. Since bicycles are one of the smallest vehicles on the road, make sure drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians can see and hear you.

Wear the gear

  • Wear reflective tape, reflectors, and rear lights so it’s easier for drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians to see you.
  • Wear bright clothing to catch people’s attention even during the day.
  • Wear headlamps or use handlebar lights to light the road in front of you.
  • Wear a proper fitting helmet. This is the law for people under 18. It also sets a good example and could save your life​.
  • Use a bell to let pedestrians and other cyclists know that you’re near.

Get trained

Know the all the rules of the road for biking, including how to use bike lanes and how to hand signal.

Pedestrian safety tips

Some of the most serious injuries to people walking are from motor vehicles. Pedestrian safety is for everyone at any age.

Look first

  • Remember—you share the road with drivers and cyclists. Make sure drivers and cyclists can see you.
  • Use pedestrian lights if the intersection has them. Always check the intersection before stepping onto the crosswalk or road, even if there are lights. Don’t cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
  • If there are no crossing lights, wait until it is safe to cross. Assume drivers can’t see you.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and wait for cars to stop before you cross. Even cars that seem to be slowing down may not stop. Wait until traffic has come to a complete stop before crossing. Watch for traffic turning at intersections or into driveways.
  • Pay attention, be aware of what’s around you, and be in control of your actions when you’re walking. Having drugs or alcohol in your system or talking on your cell phone can put you at higher risk for an injury when walking.

Wear the gear

  • Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips when walking at dusk or at night.
  • Carry a flashlight or headlamp to light your way and wear a flashing red light to be visible at night.
  • Use a cane, walker, or another type of mobility aid if you need to.
  • Wear your glasses and hearing aids. Wear sunglasses or a visor in the daytime, even in winter.
  • Wear proper-fitting shoes with a good grip. Add ice grips to your shoes and a pick at the end of your poles or cane in the winter.
  • If you’re wearing headphones, keep your volume low enough to hear what’s going on around you.

Get trained

  • Know and obey all the rules of the road.
  • At traffic lights, cross as soon as the light turns green or the walk signal says walk. Don’t cross once the “don’t walk” signal starts to flash or once the light has turned yellow. Never cross at a red light.
​​ ​

Current as of: February 13, 2021

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services