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Bicycles and the Law (NSW)

In New South Wales, under the Road Rules 2014, a bicycle is a ‘vehicle’. The road rules for cyclists in NSW are the same as the road rules for drivers of cars and other vehicles. There are also some special road rules for New South Wales cyclists. This article outlines the situation around bicycles and the law in NSW.

Cyclists can be penalised if they commit offences on the roads. Penalties are generally issued by police as on the spot fines.

Bicycles and the law – turning, overtaking and use of lanes

Special road rules about bicycles and the law in New South Wales are listed below.

  • Cyclists may do hook turns at intersections unless signage indicates otherwise;
  • Cyclists do not need to indicate when turning left or signal when doing a hook turn;
  • Cyclists may ride two abreast so long as they are not more than 1.5 metres apart;
  • A cyclist may overtake two other cyclists riding two abreast;
  • Cyclists may ride in a bus lane, tram lane, transit lane or truck lane but must not ride in a Bus Only lane;
  • Cyclists may ride on the left of a continuous white edge line;
  • Cyclists are allowed to overtake on the left.

Responsibilities of cyclists

Responsibilities of cyclists on New South Wales roads are set out below.

  • Cyclists must sit on the seat and have one hand on the handlebars at all times;
  • The bicycle must have a functioning brake, a horn or a bell;
  • Cyclists riding at night must wear have a white light at the front and a red light at the back;
  • Cyclists must use the marked bicycle lane unless it is impractical;
  • Cyclists must not carry more people than the bike is designed to carry;
  • Cyclists must not ride on crossings without the green bicycle light;
  • Cyclists and passengers must wear helmets securely fastened;
  • Cyclists must not be towed by another moving vehicle.
  • Cyclists turning right at roundabouts can turn from the left lane but must give way to vehicles leaving the roundabout.

Bicycles and the law on footpaths 

Cyclists are not allowed to ride on the footpath in New South Wales. However, children under 16 may ride on the footpath unless there is a ‘no bicycles’ sign. Paths that are designed for cyclists and pedestrians to share are signposted. When riding on a shared path, cyclists must keep left and ride at a speed that is suited to the environment.

Bicycles and the law on hand signals

When riding on the roads, cyclists are required to use hand signals to indicate when they are turning right or changing lane.

Cycling offences

On the spot fine apply to the following offences.

Negligent riding

A cyclist can be fined for riding negligently or dangerously ie. In a way that endangers the life of yourself or another person.

Drink riding

It is an offence to ride a bike while intoxicated by alcohol. A person can be fined or imprisoned for drink riding.

Not wearing a helmet

A person can be fined for failing to wear a helmet while riding or failing to have the helmet securely fastened.

Minimum passing distance

New South Wales drivers must leave at least one metre when overtaking a cyclist where the speed limit is under 60. When the speed limit is over 60, motorists must leave at least 1.5 metres. Drivers who break this rule face a penalty of a $330 fine and two demerit points.

If you need legal support in a traffic matter or in any other legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.

Fernanda Dahlstrom

This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

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