Brush Up On Your Laws

Bike riders sitting in the sun with their bikes
A woman on a funky bicycle

Haven’t been bike riding in a while? Or want to brush up on the NSW laws around bike riding? Take a look at the list below so you’re in the know when you’re on two wheels.

In NSW, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and riders must comply with same road rules as other vehicles. There are special rules to make it safer and easier for drivers, pedestrians and bike riders when sharing NSW roads.

Things Drivers and Bike Riders Should Know

Minimum Passing Distance

The Minimum Passing Distance rule helps ensure that bicycle riders and motorists remain safe when sharing our roads. Drivers who pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least:

  • 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less
  • 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h
  • If drivers cannot pass a bicycle rider safely, they should slow down and wait until it is safe to pass the rider, leaving the minimum distance. To help drivers provide the minimum distance, some exemptions to the road rules will apply, such as keep to the left of the centre of a dividing line - broken and unbroken lines.

Find out more about the Minimum Passing Distance here

Roundabouts

Bicycle riders are allowed to turn right from the left-hand lane. When passing each exit, bicycle riders must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.

Transit lanes

Transit lanes are used for vehicles containing a certain number of people, but these lanes can also be used by bicycle riders, as well as buses, taxis, hire cars, motorcycles, and emergency vehicles.

Bicycle lanes

When a bicycle lane is marked on the road and has bicycle lane signs, bicycle riders must use it unless it is impracticable to do so. Cars may use these lanes for less than 50 metres when entering or leaving the road at a driveway or intersection, when overtaking a vehicle turning right or making a U-turn, or when avoiding an obstruction.

Bus lanes

Bicycle riders can use bus lanes, but not if the words “Bus Only” appear on the bus lane sign. Buses are the only vehicle allowed to use these Bus-Only lanes, except emergency service vehicles.

Riding Side by Side

Bicycle riders are allowed to ride two abreast, but not more than 1.5 metres apart.

 

The Door Zone

Drivers should check in their rear-view and side mirrors to avoid opening their car door into the path of bicycle riders. Not checking before opening a door can be dangerous, and legally the driver can be at fault.

Things Pedestrians and Riders should know

Footpaths

Children under 12 years of age can ride on footpaths, unless there is a ‘no bicycles’ sign. An adult rider who is supervising a rider under 12 can also ride on footpaths. Children between the age of 12 and 18 can only ride on footpaths if they are accompanying a rider under the age of 12 and are also being supervised by an adult rider. All bicycle riders may ride on bicycle paths or separated foot paths where indicated by signs or road markings.

Shared paths

Across NSW shared paths can be used by both pedestrians and bicycle riders. On shared paths, bicycle riders must keep left and give way to pedestrians. Bicycle riders are also encouraged to travel at a speed that is safe to pass pedestrians, and to allow pedestrians a metre of space on shared paths where possible. It’s  polite and courteous to let pedestrians know you’ll pass them by ringing your bell or calling “passing on your left/right”, when you are a few metres away.

 

Things Bike Riders Should know

Bicycle equipment

All bicycles must be fitted with a working bell, horn or similar warning device and at least one working brake. When riding at night or in hazardous weather conditions, bicycle must display a white light on the front of the bicycle and a red light and red reflector or the rear of the bicycle.

Helmets

Bicycle riders are required to wear an approved helmet securely fitted and fastened. Approved bicycle helmets have stickers or labels certifying that they meet the Australian and New Zealand standard (AS/NZS 2063).

Click here to find out more about staying safe on our roads.

 

 

This article is sponsored by Transport for NSW.