Bike rules, road rules and the world of rules generally – part 1

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May 31, 2013 6

Seems like everywhere you go these days there are some kind of rules.  And just like everything else, there are cycling rules and road rules that apply to cyclists in New South Wales.

I thought it might be worthwhile, blogging on exactly what these are so we all know the rules and our rights on the road.  Particularly if like me, you sat for your driver’s licence test about a million years ago and you are a bit rusty on the detail.

bike pic

If you want to brush up on the details  – go here:

Cyclists are required by law to:

  • Wear a helmet – worn at all times when riding a bike
  • Have front and rear lights – must be fitted and used if riding at night
  • Have a bell or horn – fitted and in working order
  • Obey all road rules including stopping at red lights and stop signs
  • Use signed and marked bike lanes where available

Contrary to what anyone tells you, as a bike rider on the road you can:

  • Pass other vehicles on the left, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left
  • Travel to the front line of traffic on the left hand side of stopped vehicles (again, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left)
  • Take up a whole traffic lane (yes, a whole lane)
  • Ride a maximum of two abreast in a lane, not more than 1.5 metres apart
  • Cycle in bus lanes and transit lanes (but not bus only lanes)
  • Ride on footpaths that are designated shared paths
If there is bike lane available - use it!

If there is bike lane available – use it!

And what you CAN NOT do – ride on footpaths – unless you are under 12 years of age, accompanying a rider under 12 or again the footpath is a designated shared path. What’s a designated shared path? Click here for more info

Next week…. Rules for riding in bike lanes, separated cycle ways, shared paths, shoulder lanes, mixed traffic lanes – oh the list is endless! So many rules, so little time.

Happy cycling!

  • May 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm, Fiona said:

    The rule about having to use a bike lane only applies if it has the sign at the top of this page. It does NOT apply to cycleways, and it does not apply to shoulder lanes (like in Riley Street, for example). There are in fact hardly and proper bike lanes, just Park & William Streets, Hickson Road, and the contra-flow bike lanes around the place.


    • June 03, 2013 at 12:14 am, Rachael said:

      Yep so bike lanes are only those marked with the black and white sign as shown at the top of this blog.


  • June 01, 2013 at 1:42 pm, Steve said:

    On the topic of bike lanes, are there any design standards and in particular a minimum width? I commute and there is a very busy section of road about 200 m long where the marked cycle lane is the width of the concrete gutter ie about 30cm. This is not safe and I am sure it is the reason more people don’t commute by bike in this area.


    • June 03, 2013 at 12:15 am, Rachael said:

      Good question! not sure? Will check


  • June 02, 2013 at 12:26 am, Moz said:

    One little niggle: cyclists must use bike lanes *where practicable*. That’s very different from just “must use”, and a lot of people get it wrong. So, for instance, if the bike lane is full of wheely bins I’m free to ride in the adjacent general use lane. Ditto broken glass, storm drains, pedestrians, shopping trolleys and so on. Also, if the lane is poorly designed and unsafe at the speed I’m travelling. Or for any other reason.


    • June 03, 2013 at 12:15 am, Rachael said:

      Yes that’s right – the road rules state “the rider of a bicycle riding on a length of road with a bicycle lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction as the rider must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.’ – So you only HAVE to use the bike lane if it’s practical to do so.



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