Obligation to use bicycle lane

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Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby diggler » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:37 pm

If there is a bicycle lane, are you obliged to use it?

According to the NSW RTA

When a bicycle lane is marked on the road, cyclists must use it.

http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/bi ... rules.html

However, according to Section 153 of the Australian Road Rules, there is nothing that obliges cycists to use a bicycle lane

http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/viewt ... 008+fn+0+N

Can somebody reconcile this please? Have I missed something?

153 Bicycle lanes

(1) A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not drive in a bicycle lane, unless the driver is permitted to drive in the bicycle lane under this rule or rule 158.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

Note 1. Bicycle is defined in the Dictionary.

Note 2. Rule 158 provides additional exceptions applying to this rule, and also provides a defence to the prosecution of a driver for an offence against this rule.

(2) If stopping or parking is permitted at a place in a bicycle lane under another law of this jurisdiction, a driver may drive for up to 50 metres in the bicycle lane to stop or park at that place.

Note. Part 12 deals with parking and restricted stopping areas.

(3) A driver may drive for up to 50 metres in a bicycle lane if:

(a) the driver is driving a public bus, public minibus or taxi, and is dropping off or picking up, passengers, and

(b) there is not another law of this jurisdiction prohibiting the driver from driving in the bicycle lane.

Note 1. Public bus and taxi are defined in the Dictionary.

Note 2. The term public minibus is not a term that is used in this jurisdiction. The reference to that term in this subrule is retained in order to preserve uniformity with the Australian Road Rules.

(4) A bicycle lane is a marked lane, or the part of a marked lane:

(a) beginning at a bicycle lane sign applying to the lane, and
(b) ending at the nearest of the following:

(i) an end bicycle lane sign applying to the lane,

(ii) an intersection (unless the lane is at the unbroken side of the continuing road at a T-intersection or continued across the intersection by broken lines),

(iii) if the road ends at a dead end—the end of the road.

Note. Continuing road, intersection,marked lane and T-intersectionare defined in the Dictionary.
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by BNA » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:50 pm

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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:50 pm

Rule 247 (in Victoria)

....must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby zero » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:51 pm

The state rules are the rules, the ARRs are basically a vehicle by which most, but not all of the rules for the states have been synchronised, but they don't have any legal force.

Councils painting a bicycle lane or a bicycle symbol doesn't make it so - it has to have a start and end signs, and continuations over intersections to be a 'legal' bike lane. I avoid using many of the ones painted near me by riding on other routes. Some unavoidables I don't ride in because they have parked car doorswing interference and others I don't ride in because they are in dangerous locations / they lack the signage / they are removing me from the traffic flow and attempting to route me onto the footpath etc... There are a few that are ridable.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:52 pm

I understand that one is not obliged to unless there's a specific sign that bars bicycles. However, I would not use the regular lane if I don't have a decent turn of speed in my legs or when it's not safe to use the bicycle lane. To me, it's just bad form to obstruct and slow down motor traffic when there's a perfectly decent bike lane available.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:57 pm

il padrone wrote:Rule 247 (in Victoria)

....must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.


That's your out there, if the lane is full of crap and broken glass then using it is not practicable. That's 85% of them out my way, never seen a sweeper doing the lanes :roll:
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:58 pm

sogood wrote:just bad form to obstruct and slow down motor traffic when there's a perfectly decent bike lane available.

Well, yeah.... but no!
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:53 pm

il padrone wrote:
sogood wrote:just bad form to obstruct and slow down motor traffic when there's a perfectly decent bike lane available.

Well, yeah.... but no!

I've qualified earlier on bike lanes that aren't safe (or usable in this case). :P
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:58 pm

Correct. But so often the motor vehicle drivers that do the yelling are telling you to use just such a crappy bike lane :roll:
Last edited by il padrone on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby wombatK » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:17 pm

zero wrote:Councils painting a bicycle lane or a bicycle symbol doesn't make it so - it has to have a start and end signs, and continuations over intersections to be a 'legal' bike lane.

+1 Bicycle lanes are defined in Australian (and NSW)
Road Rule 153 part (4) specifically.

There are very very few of them in Sydney or elsewhere in NSW - making your obligation almost a moot point.

However, I know of at least one (East St Lidcombe, near Sydney Uni's Campus) that is marked out on the shoulder with car parking allowed so that you are only left with the car-door zone to ride in. Under Rule 153, driving is also permitted in it for up to 50m. Demonstrably unsafe, and impracticable for a cyclist concerned about survival to use that at all times.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby Oxford » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:24 pm

soft, that a perfectly good bike lane, what's the matter with, can't you hover your bikes?
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:49 pm

il padrone wrote:Correct. But so often the motor vehicle drivers that do the yelling are telling you to use just such a crappy bike lane :roll:

Yell back! Fortunately I have a pretty loud voice. ;)
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby diggler » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:02 am

il padrone wrote:Rule 247 (in Victoria)

....must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.


As far as I can tell, in NSW. a cyclist DOES NOT have to ride in a bicycle lane, practicable or not.

I got honked by a car for being on a road today and I'm not sure if I was riding illegally.

I find the bicycle lane in Kent St Sydney costs me a couple of red lights so I use the road for the last 2 blocks of the bike path to avoid this.

I realise that legal or not, riding on the road is going to p off motorists.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby trailgumby » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:28 am

Same rule applies in NSW as Victoria, actually. :lol: Wording is identical.

What you or I think doesn't cut it. The amount of misinformation and wrong-headed ignorance in the population at large means what people think is almost always WRONG. You need to reference the actual rules, which can be found readily doing a google search for "NSW Road Rules site:rta.nsw.gov.au"

Regarding the Kent St infrastructure in the Sydney CBD, that doesn't qualify as a bike lane under the definitions, It is a separated bike path. Therefore, their use is completely optional.

I agree your assessment regarding the lights by the way, and staying in the traffic is indeed legal. However, to avoid getting abuse - and multiple sets of traffic lights - I go via Sussex Street. Much faster trip. If I need to get onto the bridge I swing a left up off Hickson Road and run a 270deg loop up towards Argyle Cut and then right to go up the road to the Observatory. Hope this is useful. :D
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby simonn » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:52 am

diggler, there are three types of cycling infrastructure in NSW:

- Cycle lanes
- Cycle paths
- Shared paths

Cycle lanes are part of the road and you must use them, unless impracticable. Cycle paths and shared paths are "road related areas". They do not form part of the road and you are not required to use them if they exist alongside a road/route.

The Kent Street cycle lane is a cycle path, not a cycle lane, and you have no legal requirement to use it.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby diggler » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:27 am

Thanks, very helpful. I might try Clarence Street to go northbound.

Just curious, but could someone give an example of an actual bicycle lane in Sydney?
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby trailgumby » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:46 am

I was going to say Yeo St Neutral Bay, but a check on Google Street View seems to indicate that the "<bike symbol> LANE" signs are no longer there.

Y'know, I'm starting to think the RTA may have made an assessment of of their liability exposure and has removed the bike lane signs. :?

I have a clear memory of signs at the western end of Yeo St a few years ago. There is a highly risky contra-flow bike route uphill along Bent St between Winter Ave and Yeo that is signed "one way - bicycles excepted" that stood out in my mind, and then I was struck by the rare sighting of the LANE sign on the steep uphill section eastbound along Yeo.

There was definitely a "<bike symbol> LANE" signs at Rhodes at Rider Boulevarde opposite Ikea a year or so ago, and another at the eastern end at the intersection with Mary St. These have gone, too.

Weird.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby jules21 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:35 am

trailgumby wrote:Y'know, I'm starting to think the RTA may have made an assessment of of their liability exposure and has removed the bike lane signs. :?

without having specific knowledge, i'd be surprised if there wasn't a law indemnifying them of that sort of liability :)
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby simonn » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:36 am

diggler wrote:Just curious, but could someone give an example of an actual bicycle lane in Sydney?


OTTOMH...

Miller St, N. Sydney, southbound near the intersection with the Pac Hwy
Brook St, Cammeray (Warringah Fwy entrance) -> Amherst St to intersection with West St (roundabout, cycle lane is painted green) southbound only
Amherst St (not painted green and in both directions) from intersection with West St (roundabout) to traffic lights at intersection with Miller St
Some of the Old Pacific Hwy north of Hornsby (I think... not 100% sure of the signage)
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby wombatK » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:43 pm

diggler wrote:Thanks, very helpful. I might try Clarence Street to go northbound.

Just curious, but could someone give an example of an actual bicycle lane in Sydney?

I've only found a few on my side of the harbour.

East St Lidcombe (as above), and Edwin Flack Ave between Australia Ave and Olympic Boulevard
(when it's not a V8 supercar track).

Then there's this pearler at Henley Marine Drive Drummoyne.

At the intersection, about 100m past the Bike Lane side, the shoulder/bike lane narrows to about 50 cm or less wide. Strictly,
the intersection might terminate the official bike lane - but you've got to wonder what the point is.

Can't swear by it, but I thought I noticed a bike lane sign at the northern end of the Kent St cycleway. Maybe one of the
regulars can clarify.

The signs are hard to notice. I'd ridden by the East St sign maybe 50 times without noticing. Only noticed when I parked my car at the station just near it.

We could really do with some more distinctive marking, perhaps on the lane, to highlight the bicycle lanes.

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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby trailgumby » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:10 pm

jules21 wrote:
trailgumby wrote:Y'know, I'm starting to think the RTA may have made an assessment of of their liability exposure and has removed the bike lane signs. :?

without having specific knowledge, i'd be surprised if there wasn't a law indemnifying them of that sort of liability :)

Yair, you'd think so. But it's not so black and white when it comes to local government, and as I reflect on the locations I've noticed the signs disappeaer from, they'd be local roads managed and maintained by local government, not arterials managed by the RTA.

More than likely I'm talking though my hat, which is sitting over there on the hat rack. :wink:

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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby queequeg » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:20 am

diggler wrote:Thanks, very helpful. I might try Clarence Street to go northbound.

Just curious, but could someone give an example of an actual bicycle lane in Sydney?


I know of a couple.

The first is on my daily commute into Ntn sydney along the Pacific Hwy. It is the most pointless Bicycle Lane I have ever seen.

It starts (Northbound) just after Hotham Pde, and ends about 50m later.

The other one is on my old commute, through Macquarie Park on Talavera Rd. The Bicycle lane makes a bit more sense here. It starts on Talavera Rd at the bottom of the hill heading up Herring Rd, then it continues on the other side of the traffic lights until just before you reach Technology Place (at the new Macquarie Hospital).

Some time ago I mad a request to the Roads Minister about Cycling Infrastructure in NSW. In the reply, the RTA informed me that in the entire state, there was 76km TOTAL of on-road bicycle lanes. Most of them are short sections as above, which is probably why nobody really notices them all that much!
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby csy75 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:08 am

one of those road rules also states a vehicle, and a bike fits the definition, must stay as left as possible.

i.e. not claim the lane and stay near the curb/gutter.....bloody stupid if you ask me
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby Euan » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:20 am

csy75 wrote:one of those road rules also states a vehicle, and a bike fits the definition, must stay as left as possible.

i.e. not claim the lane and stay near the curb/gutter.....bloody stupid if you ask me

(Victoria)

Rule 129 states you must stay as far left, except on a multi-lane road under 80km/h.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby zero » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:28 am

csy75 wrote:one of those road rules also states a vehicle, and a bike fits the definition, must stay as left as possible.

i.e. not claim the lane and stay near the curb/gutter.....bloody stupid if you ask me


(a) the rule only applies to 2 lane roads two way roads. No rule prevents you claiming a lane on a multilane road - the only rule there prevents you using the outer lane on faster roads if you are not overtaking.

(b) the rule does not require you to ride further left than the typical left wheel track, as thats clearly the community established location of the practicable left. You aren't required to ride in the gutter, nor in line with gutter area obstacles, parked cars or on damaged surfaces.

There is a road that is 4.5m wide on one of my routes, it makes most sense for me to stay well left of the left wheel track there - ie it doesn't serve any purpose to force traffic around me.
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Re: Obligation to use bicycle lane

Postby mianos » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:34 am

Aside from looking this up I also asked the Sydney City Council bike representative at a meeting a while back, in regards to the mandatory usage of the bike lane up Bourke St. As far as I understand from reading the law and as stated by the Council (on record), it's not mandatory that you use it. For me it's not practical if I am on my road bike as well. You can't really do 35kph safely with the intersections running into it. On my clunker it's superb and if I am going slower I always use it.
On the other hand that does not stop ignorant loons from yelling at me to get on the bike lane when I am cruising south down the road at 40kph in a 40kph zone. It's no use getting upset at them because nothing short of a sudden stop from 60kph into a wall would change their behaviour.
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