Cycling as a form of exercise is becoming more and more popular Australia-wide. It is a great way to socialise, get outdoors and get some fresh air. It is also a fantastic way to commute to and from work.
But with the number of cyclists per capita increasing, bike laws must be adhered to. While cyclists need to obey the general rules of the road just like all other motorists, there are specific laws for cyclists as well. And it isn’t the same across the country; each state has its own set of laws.
Below is a list of the laws in each state and how they differ, check out your State’s laws below:
Riding a bicycleWhen you ride a bicycle in Queensland, you must:
- Have one leg on each side of the seat;
- Face forwards; and
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
Carrying peopleYou are allowed to carry another person if:
- The bicycle is designed to carry more than one person and has a passenger seat; and
- Each person is wearing a helmet
SignallingYou must always use hand signals to indicate which direction you wish to head. To do this, extend your arm horizontally – at a right angle from either the right or left side of the bike. Your hand should be open, with your palm facing forward.
Riding too close to a vehicleYou must always keep at least 2 metres between you and the back of a vehicle when you follow a vehicle for 200 metres or more.
For the rest of the cycling laws in QLD, click here.
Bicycle lanesIf there is a bicycle lane provided on the road heading in the same direction as you, you must use this lane when riding unless it is not practical to do so.
Bike riders in bus lanesAs of 1 July 2017, cyclists are allowed to ride in the bus lane unless signed otherwise. Below are tips for cycling in the bus lanes:
- Keep to the left of the bus lane;
- Give way to buses at all times;
- Do not overtake or undertake a bus. Always wait behind the bus if it is coming to a stop.
Side by sideYou are allowed to ride two abreast, but not more than 1.5 metres apart.
FootpathsChildren under the age of 12 can ride on a footpath. An adult rider who is supervising a cyclist who is under the age of 12 may also ride on the footpath alongside them. All other cyclists are only allowed to ride on the footpath where indicated by signs.
Shared pathsAcross New South Wales, shared paths can be used by both cyclists and pedestrians. You must always travel at a speed that is safe for you and the pedestrians you encounter.
For more information regarding the bike laws in NSW, click here.
Rules that only apply to cyclists
- Cyclists must not hold onto another moving vehicle or be towed by it;
- Cyclists must not ride a bicycle on a freeway or other road that has designated restrictions that prohibit bicycle riding;
- Cyclists must not ride recklessly or carelessly;
- Cyclists must not ride in a pedestrian mall, square or plaza;
- Riders must give way to pedestrians at all times (pedestrians include people walking, using motorised wheelchairs and people on rollerblades and skateboards);
- Riders must travel in a single file on all paths, though they are allowed to ride two abreast on a road as long as they are no more than 1.5 metres apart; and
- Animals must not be tied to a moving bike.
As with all laws, cycling laws are in place to keep cyclists, motorists and pedestrians safe. To ensure Australia keeps cycling accidents to a minimum, it is imperative people abide by these laws and ride to the conditions and their ability. And remember, laws do change from time to time so keep up with the current laws via the links above.
Ride safe Australia!
Written by Shine Lawyers on September 26, 2017. Last modified: August 31, 2018.