Most people in NSW can’t avoid riding on roads with cars to get where they need to go. The rules make it clear that bike riders have a right to be on the road, and all road users are supposed to take care.
The introduction of Minimum Passing Distance law has helped raise awareness in some drivers, but more needs to be done to achieve Towards Zero goals.
When you are driving a motor vehicle, there are a few ways you can make a different in the safety of a bike rider. We've listed 5 below:
- Leave plenty of space when passing - a metre for roads with 60km speed limits or less, and 1.5 metres if limits are faster
- Be patient, bike riders will be out of your way as soon - honking and yelling can break their concentration and make this more difficult
- Let bike riders cross or merge when they indicate to turn right
- Give bike riders space when they can’t stay in the bike lane or over to the left due to debris, road-kill or damaged road surfaces
- Don’t suddenly swerve into or park in the bike lane
Tips for a better ride
- Get help selecting a good route - many councils make maps, friends and local bicycle user groups can help with local knowledge. Google has a knack for diverting riders onto direct-but-dangerous roads
- Give big vehicles a wide berth where possible. Trucks, buses, vehicles towing trailers, farm vehicles- many have blind spots
- Watch out for wildlife- magpies, kangaroos, or road-kill pushed into the bike lane all present hazards. Periods of drought or bad weather can make this worse, and the risk posed by wildlife is higher at dawn and dusk.
- Ride predictably - car drivers expect vehicles to behave and move like theirs, and will be more likely to look for you where they expect to see a car
- Watch out for debris - storms, flooding, high winds and seasonal changes can mean debris on the road and in the bike lane, watch for obstructions and report to council or RMS so they can be removed
Riding a bike can often mean you beat the traffic whilst staying physically active. Many councils encourage bike riding, and will try to help with local issues.
Bicycle NSW also helps members resolve ongoing issues with local riding conditions.