Bicycle road rules and safety
Bicycles are a type of vehicle—when you ride a bicycle on a Queensland road, you have rights and responsibilities like all other road users.
When you ride a bicycle, you must obey the general road rules as well as the specific road rules for cyclists.
There is no minimum age limit for the issuing of fines by the police.
Penalties common to cyclists and motorists
Cyclists who break the road rules will be given the same fines as motorists. Offences common to both cyclists and motorists include:
- failing to stop at a red traffic light
- disobeying a ‘no U-turn’ sign at an intersection
- failing to stop at a ‘stop’ sign at an intersection
- exceeding the speed limit in a speed zone by less than 13km/h.
If you commit an offence as a cyclist, you will receive a fine for the same amount as a motorist would, but you will not accumulate demerit points.
Penalties specific to cyclists
Penalties for offences that only apply to cyclists will also be increased.
Common offences specific to cyclists include:
- carrying more passengers than a bicycle is designed for
- failing to give way to pedestrians on a footpath or shared path
- failing to display a light at night or in hazardous weather conditions.
Riding a bicycle
When you ride a bicycle, you must:
- sit with 1 leg on each side of the seat
- face forwards
- keep at least 1 hand on the handlebars.
Carrying people on a bicycle
You can carry another person if:
- the bicycle is designed to carry more than 1 person and has a passenger seat
- each person is wearing a helmet.
You must use a hand signal when you turn right. To do this, extend your right arm out horizontally—at a right angle from the right side of the bicycle. Your hand should be open, with your palm facing forward.
Being towed on a bicycle
On Queensland roads, you must not:
- ride a bicycle that is being towed by another vehicle
- hold on to a moving vehicle while riding a bicycle.
The rider of a bicycle must not lead an animal.
Riding too close to a motor vehicle
You must keep at least 2m between you and the back of a motor vehicle when you follow that vehicle for over 200m.
Being a traffic hazard
You must avoid being a traffic hazard at all times—do not ride into the path of a driver or pedestrian.
Keeping left and overtaking
When you ride, you must:
- keep as close to the left as practicable on a road that is not a multi-lane road
- on a multi-lane road, you can take up any position within the lane
- ride to the left of any oncoming vehicle
- not overtake another vehicle on the left if that vehicle is turning left and indicating they will turn left
- not overtake another vehicle on the left if it is not safe to do so
- not ride with more than 2 riders side by side unless you are overtaking
- ride within 1.5m of the other rider if you are travelling side by side with someone.
A cyclist may ride on the hard shoulder to the left of an edge line.
When you ride a bicycle, you must wear an Australian Standard-approved bicycle helmet. You must securely fit and fasten it.
If you carry a passenger, they must also wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened. However, if they are a paying passenger on a 3- or 4-wheeled bicycle, they do not have to wear a helmet.
You do not need to wear a helmet if you have a doctor’s certificate stating that, for a specific amount of time, you cannot wear a helmet:
- for medical reasons
- because of a physical characteristic that makes it unreasonable for you to wear one.
If you have a doctor’s certificate, you must carry it with you when you ride without a helmet.
You also do not need to wear a helmet if you are a member of a religious group and are wearing a headdress customarily worn by your group, that makes it impractical to wear a helmet.
Everyday bicycle equipment
Every time you ride, your bicycle must have:
- at least 1 working brake
- a working bell, horn or a similar warning device.
Bicycle equipment for night time and unsafe weather
If you ride at night or in weather conditions that make it difficult to see, you must display (either on the bicycle or on you):
- a white light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the front of the bicycle
- a red light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the back of the bicycle
- a red reflector that can be clearly seen at least 50m from behind the bicycle—when a vehicle’s headlights shine on it.
Trailers and loads
Riding with a person in a bicycle trailer
You can tow a child in or on a bicycle trailer if:
- you are 16 years or older
- the child is under 10 years old and is wearing an approved helmet that is securely fitted and fastened
- the bicycle trailer can safely carry the child.
Carrying a load on a bicycle
You can carry a load on your bicycle. If you choose to carry a load, you must:
- attach the load to your bicycle in a way that does not make the bicycle unstable
- make sure the load is unlikely to fall from the bicycle.
Lanes, paths and crossings
Riding in a bicycle lane on a road
You can choose whether or not you wish to use a bicycle lane where one is provided.
Never ride in a bicycle lane on the wrong side of the road (travelling towards oncoming traffic).
Riding on the road shoulder
You can ride on the road shoulder, across a continuous white edge line on a bicycle. However, you must give way to vehicles on the road when moving back onto the road across the continuous white edge line.
Special purpose lanes
A special purpose lane is a marked lane, or part of a marked lane, including:
- bicycle lanes
- bus lanes
- tram lanes
- transit lanes.
You can ride your bicycle in these special purpose lanes.
Most of the Gold Coast tram system operates on a 'tramway'. A tramway is not a tram lane, or any kind of special purpose lane. Bicycle riders must not travel along the road in a tramway.
Riding across a road at a crossing
- pedestrian crossings (zebra crossings)
- children's crossings
- signalised pedestrian crossing.
You can ride across pedestrian crossings situated at traffic lights if you:
- proceed slowly and safely
- give way to any pedestrian on the crossing
- keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider.
You can ride across a zebra crossing or children’s crossing as long as you come to a complete stop first, and then:
- proceed slowly and safely
- give way to any pedestrian on the crossing
- keep to the left of any oncoming cyclists.
Riding on a separated path
On a separated path, you can only ride on the side that is for cyclists. The other side is for pedestrians. The separated path sign will show you which side of the path you must ride on. You must always ride to the left of bicycle riders coming toward you.
Riding on a footpath or shared path
On footpaths and shared paths, you share the space with pedestrians.
- keep left and give way to all pedestrians
- always ride to the left of bicycle riders coming toward you.
‘No bicycle’ signs and markings
You cannot ride on a road or path where signs or road markings ban bicycles.
Bicycle crossing lights
At bicycle crossing lights, you must:
- stop before entering the crossing (if the light is red)
- only cross when the light is green
- if the lights change to yellow or red while you are still in the crossing, cross using the safest, most direct route.
Roundabouts and intersections
At multi-lane roundabouts, motor vehicle drivers who want to turn right must enter the roundabout and turn from the right lane (unless signs or road markings indicate otherwise).
As a cyclist, you can enter the roundabout and turn right from the left or right lane.
If you choose to turn right from the left lane, you must give way to any vehicle that wants to leave the roundabout.
Roundabouts with only 1 marked lane
In a single-lane roundabout you can choose to take up the whole lane like other road users.
Bicycle storage areas
A bicycle storage area is a section of the road, close to an intersection with traffic lights, where you can wait (for the traffic lights to change) in front of the stopped motor vehicles. They are usually painted green with white bicycle symbols. Cyclists are allowed to cross the first stop line to enter the bicycle storage area but must stop at the second stop line at a red traffic light. Motor vehicles must stop at the first stop line.
From 1 January 2015 cyclists will no longer be required to enter a bicycle storage area from a bicycle lane.
When you use a bicycle storage area, you must:
- give way to anyone that is already in the bicycle storage area
- give way to any vehicle entering the area when there is a green or yellow light in front of the bicycle storage area.
Hook turn storage box
A hook turn storage box is an area marked on the road within an intersection. It shows you where to go if you are performing a hook turn.
Performing a hook turn
You can turn right at an intersection using a hook turn. The way you should do this depends on whether or not the intersection has traffic lights.
If the intersection does not have traffic lights, you should:
- keep to the far left side of the road and move forward through the intersection
- pause and give way to motorists moving through the intersection
- when the road is clear, move forward across the road.
If the intersection has traffic lights, you should:
- move forward through the intersection from the bicycle lane on a green light
- stop in the box or in a safe area in the opposite corner, and turn your bicycle to the right (in the direction of the marked arrow). If there is no line marking for hook turns, you should stop where you are clear of traffic. You will now be facing a red light
- when the light turns green, move forward through the intersection.
Some intersections will have line markings for you to use for hook turns.