There are many new rules of the road this spring in Quebec and they affect drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

Some of the new rules came into effect on April 18 but most of the Highway Code changes made by Bill 165 come into effect on Friday May 18.

Bicyclists

  • Can ride through a red light when a pedestrian light is showing, as long as they come to a full stop first and give priority to pedestrians
  • Are no longer required to signal a stop (are still required to signal a turn unless doing so is unsafe)
  • Fines have increased, and are now $80 to $100. They no longer accumulate demerit points on their driver's licence
  • Are permitted to ride between lanes of traffic if the right-hand lane is turning right. In other words a cyclist going straight should be in the lane going straight, not in the lane that is required to turn right
  • Must stop when a bus is displaying stop signs
  • Are forbidden from wearing any headphone or earphones

Drivers

  • Those with a learner's licence cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • Drivers 19 and under with a probationary licence can only have one passenger aged 19 and under between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • Must stay at least 1.5 m away from cyclists and pedestrians when the speed limit is 50 km/h, or 1 m when the speed limit is less than 50 km/h
  • Fines for not using a seat belt, failing to indicate, and other violations have increased
  • Children must be in booster seats until age 9, or until 145 cm tall
  • The winter tire requirement will be in effect from Dec. 1 until March 15, but only beginning in 2019
  • Speed limits are now 30 km/h on designated cycling sharing streets, and 20 km/h on pedestrian shared streets
  • Passing in the centre lane, when it is reserved for left-hand turns, is prohibited

Motorcyclists

  • Are allowed to use high beams during the day
  • Are not allowed to lane split
  • Those with a learner's licence are no longer required to be accompanied

Pedestrians

  • Must walk on the shoulder facing traffic where there is no sidewalk, unless crossing the street is unsafe, or they are walking on a wider or better lit shoulder

Cell phones

A significant change regarding the decade-old ban on using cell phones comes into effect on June 30.

On that date the first-time fine for using a cell phone in a vehicle will increase to $600, and the fine for repeat offenders will double. (Cyclists will face a fine of up to $100.)

Offenders will also be subject to five demerit points and will face an immediate licence suspension. They will lose their licence for three, seven, or 30 days depending on whether it is their first, second or third offence within two years.

Check the full list of the SAAQ's new regulations