“On Your Bike, Sunshine!”
A Snapshot of Road Rules for Cyclists
By Yavin Kumar @ Sydney Criminal Defence Lawyers
Every year, an average of nine bicycle riders are killed and more than 1900 people are seriously injured on our roads in New South Wales. Cyclists count towards 2.5 per cent of total road fatalities, and roughly 16 per cent of serious injuries. At the same time, riding a bicycle is considered to be the equivalent of riding any other form of transport (car, motorbike, boat etc) in our state, and as such, bicycle riders must follow and comply with the same road rules as other vehicles, and vice versa. With this said, special rules do exist with the aim of increasing safety and awareness for motorists, pedestrians and bicycle riders alike, when sharing our roads.
Things for Bicycle Riders to Know
Much like other motorists, bicycle riders have a large array of responsibilities when riding on and off the road. Failure to follow these duties can result in a person being charge contrary to the Road Rules 2014 (NSW). Below is a list of various responsibilities that cyclists have when using public roads:
- Riders must sit facing forward, and must have one leg on each side of the bicycle. At least one hand must be on the handlebars.
- Riders cannot ride a bicycle that does not have at least one working brake and a fully functional bell, horn, or any other device that can be used to warn others.
- If a storage compartment is attached to a bicycle, it has to be used.
- A bicycle cannot be ridden at night or in dangerous weather conditions, unless the bicycle displays a clear of flashing white light from the front, a clear or flashing red light from the back, as well as a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle. All of these things must be clearly visible.
- At a multi-lane roundabout, if a bicycle rider wants to turn right from the left lane, they must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
- Riders cannot carry more passengers than what the bicycle is made for.
- If a bicycle lane is marked on any stretch of road, it must be used by all riders unless it is impracticable to do so.
- Riders cannot ride on a crossing unless there is a green bicycle light.
- Riders cannot hold or be towed by another vehicle.
- All riders must wear an approved helmet, which has to be securely fastened to their head whilst riding. Passengers cannot be carried if they are not wearing a helmet.
- Riders must always keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider or pedestrian on a footpath.
- Riders are allowed to use bus lanes, but should be cautious of using the lane, particularly when approaching intersections – all vehicles can travel in a bus lane if they intend to travel left.
- As a general rule, riders must not ride on a footpath. The two exceptions to this are that if a rider is under 12 years of age, any accompanying/supervising adult may use the footpath with them. Alternatively, if the rider is between 12-17 years of age, they may also use the footpath with any accompanying/supervising adult.
On top of this list, another important rule to consider is that cyclists must also be able to use hand signals whilst riding, as they help other road users to know what they are doing, and where they are intending to move. Cyclists are required under the Road Rules 2014 (NSW) to give a hand signal when turning either left or right, or merging into another lane, and must be done at least 30 metres before turning, changing lanes, or changing lane position.
Giving a hand signal to indicate a turn does not guarantee your safety, so always be sure to observe your surroundings and any possible road hazards prior to changing lanes or merging.
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