Sharing the road with bicycle riders

Bicycles are a type of vehicle and bicycle riders and motorists have the same rights and responsibilities when using the road.

Bicycle riders must obey the same general road rules as motorists as well as the  bicycle road rules.

Bicycle riders who break the law are subject to the same fines as motorists.

Laws for motorists passing bicycle riders

Motorists must stay wider of  bicycle riders by  giving a minimum of:

  • 1m when passing a bicycle rider       in a 60km/h or less speed zone
  • 1.5m where the speed limit       is over 60km/h.

Passing a bicycle rider means that you (as a motorist) and the  bicycle rider are travelling in the same direction. This includes when you are  travelling side-by-side in separate lanes on a multi-lane road. It does not  apply if you are travelling in opposite directions.

The passing distance is measured from:

  • The rightmost part of the       bicycle, or the person on the bicycle
  • The leftmost part of the       vehicle, or something sticking out from the vehicle (e.g. a side mirror).

The minimum passing distance applies even if the bicycle rider is  riding around an obstacle.

These  road rules  apply to all motor vehicles—including cars, motorcycles, heavy vehicles and  public transport vehicles.

Crossing lines to pass a bicycle rider

To pass a bicycle rider—as long as it is safe to do so—you are  allowed to:

  • drive over centre lines       (including double unbroken centre lines) on a 2-way road
  • straddle or cross a lane       line (including a continuous lane line) on a multi-lane road
  • drive on a painted island.

If it is not safe to pass a bicycle rider, you must wait until it  is safe to pass.

Indicating when passing

Drivers must indicate when passing bicycle riders if they need to  change their position on the road.

  • Indicate 'right' long       enough to warn other road users that you are about to veer right to pass a       bicycle rider
  • Then indicate 'left' when       you have passed the bicycle rider and are returning to your original position on       the road.

You must indicate if you need to change  your position on the road, even if you do not need to cross the centre or lane  lines.

Passing 2 bicycle riders riding side-by-side

If you want to pass 2 bicycle riders that are riding next to each  other, the minimum passing distance applies to the bicycle rider closest to the  right. It is legal for 2 bicycle riders to ride side-by-side on a road, as long as  they are not more than 1.5m apart.

Check your blind spots

Bicycle riders are much smaller than cars and heavy vehicles, so  they are harder to see. Check your blind spots before changing lanes, turning  or when you open your car door.

Giving way

Make sure you treat bicycle riders like any other vehicles on the  road. Give way to them when required and travel at a safe following distance.


As a motorist, you will get 3 demerit points and a $400 fine  if you do not give the minimum distance when you pass a bicycle rider. If the matter  goes to court, a maximum fine of more than $5,300 can apply.

Be patient and considerate

Watch out for bicycle riders at all times, but especially at  night, dawn or dusk. Be considerate and dip your headlights when approaching a  bicycle rider at night.

Be patient. If it isn't safe to pass a bicycle rider, wait until  it is safe. This should not hold you up for long and it could save the  bicycle rider's life.

Turning left behind a bicycle rider

If a bicycle rider is ahead of you and you want to turn left, turn  behind the bicycle rider. Overtaking and cutting off the bicycle rider is very dangerous.

Wet weather

Wet weather can cause the road to become oily or slippery  and reduce visibility, so be extra careful around bicycle riders at these times.