Bicycles and the Law (Qld)
Under the Queensland Road Rules, a bicycle is a vehicle. If a person is riding a bicycle on a public road, they must obey the road rules just like the driver of any other vehicle. Cyclists can be issued with fines if they break road rules, but no demerits can be issued to them. While all the road rules apply to cyclists as well as drivers, there are also some special things to know about bicycles and the law.
Riding on a footpath
In Queensland, cyclists may ride either on the footpath or on the road. When riding in a pedestrian area, a cyclist must keep left and give way to pedestrians. Some footpaths are signed “no bikes” and in these places cyclists must ride on the road.
Equipment required by cyclists
To ride lawfully, a cyclist must have a helmet and must wear it firmly affixed to their head, unless they have a medical certificate saying that they cannot do so. A bike must have at least one functioning brake and a bell, horn or some other warning device.
If a cyclist is riding at night or in bad weather, they must have a red reflector on the rear, a red flashing light or steady light at the rear, and a headlight.
Bicycles and the law
There are road rules that apply only to cyclists in Queensland. These rules are contained in sections 245 to 301 of the Queensland Road Rules. A breach of these rules carries an $130 on the spot fine.
Offences specific to cyclists include:
- Riding while not astride the rider’s seat;
- Failing to keep one hand on the handlebars;
- Failing to stop before riding across a crossing;
- Disobeying a “no bicycles” sign;
- Not wearing a helmet;
- Not wearing lights at night;
- Riding without brakes, horn or bell.
Breaches of general Road Rules
Fines also apply to cyclists who breach the general Road Rules. Penalties for these offences can range from $52 to $1044, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
Offences that cyclists can be fined for include:
- Overtaking when it is not safe;
- Failing to stop;
- Failing to give way;
- Causing an obstruction at a level crossing;
- Failing to indicate;
Bicycles and the law on alcohol and drugs
It is an offence under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1961 to put in motion any vehicle on a road while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. This offence attracts a maximum penalty of 40 penalty units (currently $5338) or imprisonment for up to nine months.
Mobile phone use
It is an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone while riding and a person can be fined up to $1000 for this.
In Queensland, riding in the bicycle lane is optional following changes to Road Rules in 2015. Before the change, cyclists were required to ride in the bicycle lane where there was one. This was changed because it was found that sometimes it was unsafe for cyclists to ride in the bicycle lane, such as when there were cars parked in it.
Cyclists may ride across a pedestrian crossing so long as they stop first to ensure it is safe to do so.
Which part of the road should I ride on?
On a single lane road, a cyclist should ride as close to the far-left side of the lane as it is safe to do. On a multi-lane road, a cyclist may ride in any part of the lane.
If you require legal assistance in any matter please contact Armstrong Legal.