Blogs

BICYCLES VS CARS

MARCH 31, 2015
What is a bicycle?

A bicycle is a vehicle that:

  • has two or more wheels
  • is moved by human power through a belt, chain or gears.

Bicycles include:

  • pedicabs
  • penny farthings
  • tricycles.

Bicycles don't include:

  • wheelchairs
  • wheeled toys
  • scooters.

You don't need a licence to use a bicycle.

What is a power assisted bicycle?

A power assisted bicycle uses pedals as its main source of power, just like a bicycle, but it also has a motor.

See our Power assisted bicycles page for more information.

Penalties

If riders and drivers are caught breaking these rules they may be given fines and demerit points.

See Fines, penalties and fees and charges

The rules in detail

The Victorian road rules are published in Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (External link).

The key road rules and reference numbers regarding bicycles are:

  • 97 � Road access signs
  • Part 15 � Additional rules for bicycle riders
Bicycle helmets

Riders and passengers of bicycles must wear a securely fitted and fastened helmet. These helmets must have a mark showing that they comply with the Australian Standard, AS/NZS2063.

For helmets manufactured or imported from 1 July 2012, the helmet must be marked with the symbol of a JAS-ANZ (External link) accredited company to show they meet the standards.

Helmets must be worn when riding on roads and road-related areas like bike paths, bike lanes, shared and separated footpaths.

VicRoads has the authority to give a bicycle rider or passenger an exemption from wearing a bicycle helmet. For more information see our Exemptions from wearing a bicycle helmet page.

See our Wearing a bicycle helmet page for more information about helmets.

Bicycle seats and handlebars

When riding a bicycle you must:

  • sit with a leg on each side of the rider�s seat
  • face forwards
  • have at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Bicycle passengers must sit on a seat designed for passengers.
Riding at night

If you are riding a bicycle at night you must have:

  • white light (flashing or steady) on the front
  • red light (flashing or steady) on the back
  • a red reflector on the back.

The lights must be visible from 200 metres and the reflector visible from 50 metres.

Tip: Make yourself as visible as possible to other road users. Wear bright and light coloured clothing and something reflective or retro-reflective.

Riding with other riders

Bike riders must not ride alongside more than one other rider in a single marked lane or on any part of a road that is not a multi-lane road unless the bike rider is overtaking another bike rider.

On multi-lane roads, bike riders cannot (as stated) ride more than two abreast in any single marked lane on that road (unless, as stated, overtaking another bike rider) but may ride more than two abreast across multiple lanes.

If riding in the same marked lane (and regardless of whether the road is a multi-lane road or any other sort of road), bike riders in that marked lane must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart.

Tip: When riding two abreast please consider other road users and, if necessary, change to single file to allow drivers to overtake safely.

Drivers � only overtake when it is safe and legal to do so. After overtaking, make sure you are well clear of the bike riders before moving back.

Bicycle lanes � rules for bicycles

You must use a bicycle lane if there is one on the road heading in the same direction as you, unless it is impractical to do so.

Riding on freeways

Bike riding is not allowed on urban freeways. But, it is allowed on the shoulders of some rural freeways.

You cannot ride on a freeway or other road which has a road access sign showing that bicycles are not allowed.

Bicycle paths

You do not have to use an off road bicycle path, separated footpaths or shared paths if there is one.

Riding on a footpath or shared path

You can ride on a footpath if you:

  • are a child under the age of 12
  • are an adult supervising a child under the age of 12
  • have been given and are following the conditions on a medical certificate that says you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to ride on the road. You must be able to show the certificate to a police officer or authorised person when asked.

Bike riders must keep to the left on footpaths and shared paths, unless impractical to do so. Bike riders must give way to pedestrians on shared paths or footpaths (see above for restrictions regarding bike riding on footpaths).

Bicycle trailers

You cannot tow anyone in a bicycle trailer unless:

  • you are 16 years old or older
  • your passenger is under 10 years old
  • the trailer can safely carry the passenger
  • your passenger is wearing an approved, securely fitted and fastened helmet.
Bicycle boxes at intersections � rules for bicycles

Bicycle boxes have 2 stop lines, the first is before the bicycle box, and the second is after it.

When stopping in a bicycle box, riders must stop before the second stop line.

When turning at an intersection and the bicycle box runs in front of all traffic lanes you must:

  • turn left from the section of the bicycle box which is in front of the left lane
  • turn right from the section of the bicycle box which is in front of the right lane.

A bicycle box is an area of road at an intersection with traffic lights that has one or more bicycle symbols painted on the road between 2 stop lines. It is an area reserved for bike riders to stop when faced with a red light.

Turning right using a hook turn at intersections � rules for bicycles

Bike riders can make a hook turn to turn right at any intersection, unless signed otherwise.

Signs & signals

A bike rider must obey traffic control signs and signals including red lights, stop and give way signs.

Lane markings

A bike rider must use the bicycle lane if there is a bicycle lane on a length of road in the same direction as they are riding, unless it is impracticable to do soapbark

Left turning vehicles

A bike rider must not ride on the left side of a vehicle that is indicating left and turning at an intersection.

Tip: Stay in the traffic lane behind the turning vehicle.

Equipment on a bicycle

Bicycles must have at least one effective brake and a working bell or similar warning device.

Car doors � rules for drivers

See our Car doors page for information about opening car doors.

Bicycle lanes � rules for drivers

Drivers are not allowed to drive in a bike lane, unless they are driving for up to 50 metres:

  • to enter or leave the road, e.g. to turn at an intersection
  • to overtake a vehicle that is turning right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road
  • to avoid an obstruction, e.g. a broken-down vehicle
  • to get from one part of the road to another
  • the information on a sign shows that other vehicles can use the lane
  • to enter the traffic stream after being parked on the side of the road
  • to pick up or drop off passengers if you are a driver of a public bus, public minibus, or taxi.

You must give way to any bike riders already in the bicycle lane before you move into the lane.

Bicycle boxes at intersections � rules for drivers

Bicycle boxes have 2 stop lines, the first is before the bicycle box, and the second is after it.

When facing a red light, drivers must stop before the first stop line and not move into the bicycle box until the lights turn green.

Bicycle rack number plates � rules for drivers

See our Bicycle rack number plates page for rules about using bike racks and bike rack number plates.