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Bicycles and the Law (WA)

In Western Australia, cyclists of all ages are allowed to ride on the road or on the footpath, but are subject to all road rules. The Road Traffic Code 2000 and the Road Traffic Act 1974   govern cycling in WA. This article deals with bicycles and the law in WA.

Bicycles and the law – equipment

To use the roads lawfully in WA, a bicycle must have a rear wheel brake, a bell or other warning device, a red reflector at the back, a yellow side reflector on both wheels and yellow reflectors on both side edges of each pedal.

When riding in the dark or in hazardous conditions cyclists must have a front white light that can be seen from 200 metres away and a red rear light that is visible from 200 metres away.

When riding on roads, cyclists must wear a helmet with the straps fastened. A passenger travelling in a trailer or a child being carried in a child carrier seat must also wear helmets.

Where can I ride?

Cyclists of all ages are allowed to ride on the footpaths in WA. Cyclists of all ages may also ride on the roads, however the police recommend that children under the age of nine do not ride on the roads unsupervised.

Optional hook turns

Cyclists may do hook turns at any intersection so long as there is no ‘no hook turn by bicycles’ sign. To do a hook turn, cyclists must approach the intersection on the left of cars and travel to the far left of the road they are entering, proceeding through the intersection when all traffic has cleared.

Bicycle lanes

Under Section 213 of the Road Traffic Code 2000 it is compulsory for cyclists to use the bike lane in areas where one is provided. Bike lanes are designed to make roads safer by providing a designated space for cyclists. 

Bicycles and the law – lanes, turns and other vehicles

Cyclists must obey all the road rules, including obeying ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and not riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are also a number of additional rules for cyclists. These include:

  • Cyclists must always have at least one hand on the handlebars;
  • Cyclists must not ride within two metres of a vehicle’s rear for more than 200 metres;
  • Cyclists must not be towed by another vehicle or hold onto another vehicle;
  • Cyclists must not ride on freeways;
  • Persons must not cycle with more than two abreast. When riding two abreast, the two bicycles must not be more than 1.5 metres apart;
  • Bicycles must not be ridden in pedestrian malls or plazas;
  • Cyclists must not ride recklessly or carelessly;
  • Cyclists must use hand signals when turning left, turning right or stopping.

Bicycles and the law on alcohol 

Under Section 229 of the Road Traffic Code, it is an offence to cycle while under the influence of liquor or drugs to the point of being incapable of properly controlling the bike. The penalty for this is a fine of 2 penalty units.

Shared paths

Some paths are designated to be shared by cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists must keep left on shared paths except while overtaking. Cyclists must give way to pedestrians and must ride single file.

Bicycles and the law on accidents 

If a cyclist is in an accident with another rider, a motor vehicle, pedestrian or an animal and the other party sustains an injury or there is property damage valued at more than $3000, the accident must be reported to police. The cyclist must also stop and give their details to the other party if requested.

Bicycles and the law on public transport

In Perth, cyclists may take their bicycles on trains and ferries without any additional charge but only during non-peak times. Bicycles cannot be taken onto buses. Cyclists are not allowed to take bicycles on trains or ferries during peak times, unless the bike is a fold-up bike and inside a carry bag.

If you require legal advice about a traffic matter or 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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