The Laws of Cycling in Australia: What You Need to Know

When riding a bike on the road, it is essential to obey the rules and wear the proper safety equipment. Not only could it save your life, but it can save you from heavy fines and penalties as well.

When you’re looking at taking up cycling in Australia, make sure you understand the responsibilities you’ll need to keep to. These laws and regulations change from state to state in Australia, so here is your guide to obeying the law – no matter where you are cycling.

Cycling laws by state

Victoria

You’ll need a few bike accessories in your stash for this state – a helmet, working brakes, a bell and lights are essential under Victorian law.

If you are riding at night or in bad weather it is compulsory to have a white light on the front of the bike visible from 200m, a red light on the back visible from 200m and a red reflector on the back visible from 50m.

It is also compulsory to obey all road rules that cars must adhere to, and you must always have at least one hand on the handlebars. Additionally, hand signals are required for turning right, but not left. Hook turns are also legal in Victoria.

The full list of laws and regulations can be found here.

New South Wales

The same road rules above also apply in NSW. Importantly, it’s also compulsory to wear a helmet.

Children under 16 are permitted to ride on footpaths, but not adults – unless they are supervising their child and riding alongside them.

Meanwhile, it is permissible to ride two abreast on the road, but riders must be no more than 1.5m apart. The same rules apply to lights as Victoria.

You can read the full list of laws here.

Queensland

The Sunshine State has legislation that means motorists must remain one metre away from cyclists at all times. The same helmet and lighting regulations as the other states apply here as well.

Queensland is one of the most judicious states when it comes to cycling, with a long list of regulations to get your head around

The full guidelines are available here.

South Australia

A working bell and brakes are required and the same conditions for lights as the others states applies as well.

Cyclists in SA will be charged the same as motorists for disobeying road rules, which can mean loss of demerit points on your licence.

The onus is on the bike rider in SA to not ‘cause a hazard’, which means you have to give way to pedestrians and cars and not pull out in front of them. Hook turns are allowed in SA as well.

The full guidelines are available here.

Western Australia

All-age riding on footpaths is permitted in WA, but aside from that the laws are in line with the other major states in regards to equipment, lighting and adherence to the road rules.

The full list of regulations are available here.

Northern Territory

The same laws and equipment regulations apply here as well, but the different laws include that you must keep more than two metres from the rear of a vehicle and children under 17 are not required to wear helmets if they are not riding on the road.

The full list of NT laws is available here.

ACT

The same road rules and equipment requirements (including lighting) apply in the ACT.

There is a trial currently underway which means that cyclists must cross a road using a pedestrian crossing and slow to 10kph. At an intersection, cyclists can only cross if the green pedestrian light is showing.

The full list of regulations is here.

Tasmania

The Apple Isle has the same one metre passing rule for motorists overtaking cyclists as

Queensland. They also have the normal helmet, equipment, lighting and requirement to obey road rules regulations.

It is also legal to ride two abreast, as long as you are no more than 1.5m apart and hook turns are permitted in Tasmania.

The full list of rules are available here.

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