Cycling

The city maintains over 230km of trails, bike lanes and signed bike routes. We work with the Region of Waterloo toward a fully connected, accessible transportation network that is safe for cyclists.

Waterloo is proud to be the first mid-sized city in Ontario recognized as a Gold Bicycle Friendly Community by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in 2018. Our Transportation Master Plan and active transportation committee help us to work toward a sustainable transportation system.

Maps

You can view our active transportation network using our in-house city map or Google Maps. We also provide printed, waterproof cycling maps at our facilities and various bike shops. The map is available for download (PDF).

Register for updates

To receive updates on the latest active transportation projects and initiatives, subscribe to our online newsletter, Cycling in the City.

If there is an area of active of transportation you're interested in learning more about, contact us at cyclingwaterloo@waterloo.ca and we will consider adding it to the newsletter.

Past issues of Cycling in the City

Bicycle parking

There are more than 225 bike parking spaces in uptown Waterloo, including covered parking in the Uptown Parkade, bike racks and secure bike spaces for rent.

Bicycle lockers are available for rent for $10/month plus HST for a minimum of four month rental term with a $30 security deposit. Lockers are located at the front of the Uptown Parkade. For further details, contact parking@waterloo.ca or call 519-886-2310.

This map shows all available bike parking spaces uptown. All city community centres have bicycle parking too. Our park directory page also lists if a park has bike parking.

During events like the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival or the Busker Carnival, you can leave your car and enjoy bicycle valet parking. City staff will monitor the valet area and you can leave your bike worry free.

Bicycle safety

Waterloo has a vision to be a fully-connected, accessible transportation network that is safe for cyclists. We have produced a series educational videos to help you ride as safely as possible.

Watch: Be seen, heard and protected (2:57), Roadway navigation (5:45) and Multi-use trails (3:35)

General tips

  • before riding your bike ensure the chain, tires, and brakes are in good condition
  • always ride with the traffic, either in bike lanes or close to the right side of the road
  • obey traffic signals and rules, including stopping at stop signs and using proper hand signals
  • make sure the roadway is clear before you enter it
  • watch for opening car doors
  • have a bell or horn on your bike, its the law
  • keep your lights and reflectors in good condition
  • wear your bike helmet
  • be predictable for other vehicles on the road and communicate your actions using hand signals
  • only bicycles with tires less than a 50cm diameter may cycle on sidewalks
  • walk all bicycles through a cross walk

Bicycle cross-rides

Bicycle cross-rides are essentially a crosswalk for cyclists, allowing riders to stay on their bikes to wait for a bicycle signal to change green.

Built in sensors underneath the pavement allows cyclists a seamless journey by not having to press a button indicating they wish to cross. Cyclist or a person with a disability simply stop before the white paint and the sensor sends a wireless signal to the light prompting it to change. 

Bicycle crosswalks are shared with pedestrian crosswalks and the cyclists portion is indicated by thick paint on the either side of the pedestrian portion of the crosswalk.

Pedestrians using the crosswalk just press the button when you want to cross, and walk within the marked crosswalk. 

Bike box 

Image of a bike boxA bike box is designated space for cyclists to wait in front of a vehicle at red light. Cyclists can then advance before a vehicle when the light turns green.

There are a number of locations where bike boxes are being incorporated at intersections with in Waterloo.

Locations include:

  • Davenport Road and Lexington Road 
  • Lexington Road and Bridge Street
  • Lexington Road and University Avenue 
  • Caroline Street North and Erb Street North
  • Columbia Street West and Erbsville Road
Green light

image of a bike box at a green lightCyclists approach the intersection as usual. Use the bike lane to travel straight ahead or turn right. Watch for right-turning signals from vehicles. When turning left, signal and merge into the left turn lane before the intersection, proceed through the intersection and into the bike lane.

Drivers move through the intersection as usual, sharing the road with cyclists. When turning right, check to see that the bike lane is clear. When turning right at a red light, stop behind the marked bike box. Check to see there isn't a cyclist coming before turning.

Amber or red light

image of a bike box at a red lightCyclists enter the bike box from the bike lane, watching for right-turn vehicles. To make a left turn, signal and move to the left of the bike box. When the light turns green, proceed through the intersection and into the bike lane. When turning right, stop in the marked bike box, watch for right-turning motorists, signal and proceed into the bike lane. 

Drivers stop at the line behind the bike box. Cyclists will pull into the bike box in front of you where it's easy for you to see them. When the light turns green, proceed through the intersection as usual with the cyclist going first. 

Cycling around ION

The ION light rail transit tracks are now in place across Waterloo. It is important when crossing the tracks to:

  • look both ways when crossing the tracks and only cross at designated crossing
  • always cross the tracks at a right angle
  • some intersections have been modified and no longer allow left turns, please follow these rules
  • never ride along the light rail tracks

For more information watch this video from the Region of Waterloo.

Bicycle pumps 

There are bicycle pumps located at public facilities across Waterloo if you find your tire needs air. You will find them at the following facilities:

Bicycle courses

CAN-BIKE is Cycling Canada's national program that covers bicycle safety and recreation. Covering four skill levels, CAN-BIKE offers riders the confidence to bike on and off-road and in urban areas as their main mode of transportation.

Reserve your spot

2019 CAN-BIKE upcoming courses

Course  Date Time  Cost
level 1 - fundamentals of cycling (ages 18+) Wednesday May 22 6 - 8 p.m. $40.00
level 1 - fundamentals of cycling (ages 9+) Monday May 27  6 - 8 p.m.  $40.00
level 2 - basic bicycle handling Tuesday June 4 5 - 8 p.m. $45.00
level 3 - core cycling skills
  • Thursday June 13
  • Thursday June 13
  • 6 - 8 p.m.
  • 12 - 4 p.m.
$60.00 
level 4 - advanced cycling skills
  • Wednesday April 25
  • Thursday April 26
  • Saturday April 28
  • 5 - 8 p.m.
  • 5 - 7 p.m.
  • 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
$95.00