Even if you are an experienced rider, you are exposed and vulnerable in the road environment and are at risk of serious injury or death if involved in a crash. Riding defensively and scanning the road can improve your safety. Learning how to share the road safely could save you your life.
Under NSW law, children less than 12 years of age and an accompanying adult if supervising a child, are allowed to legally ride on the footpath. This law was introduced because, whilst young children quickly develop skills required to ride, steer and stop a bicycle, their development limitations preclude the child’s capacity to ride on a road shared with moving vehicles. The child rider’s limitations may result in unpredictable and unsafe behaviour, though the child may have mastered a range of physical riding skills.
Under NSW law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and subject to the same road rules as other vehicles. Find out more about the Road Rules.
Tips for riding your bicycle safely
- Always wear an approved bicycle helmet, properly fitted and fastened to your head. For further information on bicycle helmets, click here.
- Always obey the road rules, including traffic lights, stop signs and give way signs.
- Ride in a predictable manner that does not require other road users to react suddenly to your movements.
- Give hand signals when changing lanes or turning left or right.
- Make yourself as visible as possible by wearing bright, light or reflective clothing.
- Plan your route using quieter streets, bicycle paths or shared paths, wherever possible.
- Maintain control of your bike at all times. It is an offence to ride with both hands off the handlebars, feet off the pedals or to carry anything which prevents you from having control.
To find further information about Bicycles please refer to myResources found at www.rta.nsw.gov.au/myrta/myresources.
Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers and motorcycle riders. When driving, be on the look out for bicycle riders as they are smaller than cars and harder to see.
Tips when driving near bicycle riders
- Bicycle riders are more difficult to see than cars or trucks, especially at night. Take care to check for bicycle riders in blind spots.
- When overtaking give bicycle riders a safe amount of space. This means at least one metre to the side in a 50 km/h zone, if the speed limit is higher, then bicycle riders need more space for their safety.
- Always check for bicycle riders whenever you travel on the road particularly when turning at intersections.
- Sometimes a bicycle can travel as fast or faster than a car, particularly in slow-moving traffic. Never underestimate their speed and be sure not to cut them off by moving in front of them. Remember that it takes longer for a bicycle to stop than a car at the same speed.
- Check in your rear view and side mirrors to avoid opening your car door into the path of bicycle riders. This can be dangerous and legally your fault.
- At times bicycle riders may need a full width lane to ride safely due to rough road edges and gravel. Be prepared to slow down and allow the rider to travel away from the kerb.
- Children on bikes can be unpredictable – be prepared to slow down and stop.
- Bicycle riders are allowed to ride two abreast, (side by side).