Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
This page is a summary of how the Queensland road rules apply to bicycles. Some of the published road rules for bicycles are clear and specific, others require some interpretation, and some types of cycling specific situations aren't specifically covered (example: lane filtering) and you need to make sure any other relevant rules are followed. Note I don't want this thread to be about if the rules are any good or not. These are the ones we have, and this thread is to summarise how they apply to cyclists.
The Queensland road rules are available here: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Queens ... Rules.aspx
Can I ride on the road?
- Yes, a bicycle is a "vehicle", and a cyclist is a "driver". See s15 and s16.
- You cannot cycle on a road where there is a sign saying no bicycles (s252).
- You must use a bicycle lane rather than the road (s247) where it is practicable to do so.
However, to be specific, a "bicycle lane" is a marked lane which has a bicycle lane sign post and ends with an end bicycle lane sign or an intersection where the marked lane doesn't continue (s153). NONE of the following are a bicycle lane, so you do not have to use them (s153):
a) a shared footpath
b) pretty much any kind of path that's not on the road
c) council style bike routes on road shoulders which involve painting a yellow bicycle on the road shoulder every x meters, usually with cars parking in the same space. This is *not* a bike lane.
But won't I be obstructing other drivers when cycling on the road?
You are not allowed to unreasonably obstruct another driver or pedestrian (s125(1)).
However, you are *not* unreasonably obstructing if you are
a) stopped in traffic (s125(2)a) ; or
b) you are driving slower than other vehicles (unless you are driving abnormally slowly in the circumstances). (s125(2)b).
A cyclist isn't being abnormal in their circumstances if they are going slower than other vehicles, because it is normal for a cyclist to be slower than cars on the open road, therefore you are not breaking this rule.
Do I have to give way to cars?
Sometimes - only where you are required to by the same road rules that apply to all vehicles.
Except for a specific rule regarding roundabouts and a few other very rare cases, essentially the same giving way rules apply equally to cars and bicycles.
Can I do a hook turns?
Yes you are allowed to do hook turns even when there is no sign saying hook turns allowed.
You cannot do a hook turn if there is a sign saying no hook turns by bicycles.
Can I pass cars on their left?
Yes, as long as you do not do so when a vehicle is turning left and indicating left. (s141(2)).
You can also overtake on the left when cars are allowed to overtake on the left, see:
s141(1)a - its a multi lane road and its safe to do so in a marked lane to the left of the vehicle
s141(1)b - the vehicle is turning right/u turning, indicating right, and its safe to overtake to the left
s141(1)c - the vehicle is stationary and it is safe to overtake to the left
Can I lane filter? (ie. cycle down the space between 2 lanes of traffic).
There is no rule against it. However there are some rules that still may apply:
- On a multi-lane road, you must drive within a single marked lane (no part of you or your bike should straddle a lane marking) (s146).
- You must leave sufficient distance to avoid a collision or obstructing the path of a vehicle (s144(a))
- You must not return to the lane/line of traffic where the overtaken vehicle is until there is sufficient distance to avoid a collision, or causing an obstruction to the path of the vehicle. (s144(b))
- When entering a bicycle storage area, you must enter it via a bicycle lane(s247A) so you can't filter into it.
Can I ride on the road's shoulder?
Yes you can.
But at intersections, or when re-entering the road (eg needing to go back onto the road itself to go around a parked car), you will need to give way to all other traffic. (s87).
The same thing applies when you are riding in a council style bike route (the ones on the shoulder with yellow bicycles painted on the road, often used for car parking). You will need to give way whenever re-entering traffic or at intersections.
Can I drive in the middle of a road lane?
On a multilane road, yes you can. You can claim a lane as there is no rule against it.
On a single lane road, you must drive as near as practicable to the far left side of the road. (s129)
This does not require you to ride on the shoulder, as the shoulder is only a road related area, not a road. (s11, s13)
Can I ride 2 abreast?
Yes, see s151.
But you must not ride over 1.5m away from the other rider.
You can effectively ride 3 abreast as long as the 3rd rider is overtaking the other two.
Can I ride on the footpath?
Yes, in Queensland you can. (s250)
But you must keep to the left of the path where it is practicable, and must give way to pedestrians. (s250)
You must keep to the left of oncoming cyclists on the path. (s251)
You can't ride on a path where it is signed that bicycles aren't allowed. (s252)
If you are on a multi-lane roundabout, and you are turning right, you may choose to use the left lane around the whole roundabout (whereas cars cannot, they must use the right lane unless otherwise marked).
However you have to give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout at each exit from the roundabout.
Other things you can't do...
You must sit astride the seat facing forwards (s245)
You can't ride with no hands (s245)
You can't dink (s246) (note you can have multiple people on a bike where it is designed to do so).
When entering a bicycle storage area, you must enter it via a bicycle lane(s247A)
You can't ride across a children's crossing, or pedestrian crossing (s248).
You can't ride across a marked foot crossing unless there is a green bicycle crossing light for you. (s248)
You can't create a hazard by moving into the path of a driver or pedestrian (s253). So don't swerve out in front basically.
You can't be towed by another vehicle, or hold onto another vehicle while the vehicle is moving. (s254)
You can't ride within 2m of the rear of a moving car continuously for more than 200m (s255)
Restrictions around towing a bicycle trailer that I won't list, see s257.
You can't use a mobile phone in your hand while riding (s300).
You can't lead an animal including by tethering it to your bike (eg a dog) s301.
You can't dazzle other road users with your super bright bike lights s219.
You must wear an approved bicycle helmet, securely fitted. (s256).
You must have at least 1 effective brake (s258)
You must have a bell or similar warning device in working order (s258).
At night or in hazardous weather conditions that cause reduced visibility (heavy rain?!), you must display:
a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for 200m from the front
b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for 200m from the rear
c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50m from the rear when hit by headlights on low beam
Last edited by InTheWoods on Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen
Thanks you very much for that Inwood, your contribution is greatly appreciated.
The intent is to keep this thread as short as possible to reduce search effort. If there's to be any discussion, could we have it in a separate thread please and I'll edit this as required.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
I think they're all the same for Victoria as well.
I'll see if I can drop em off at Warnie's next time I'm up that way.
I'll make sure to make the printing nice and big and might even get some pictures to help him comprehend them.
I just love riding my bike!
You may if the bicycle is designed to carry a passenger eg. Big Dummy with foot-pegs and passenger-bar (not dinking, but some woud describe it as such).
Great stuff Inwood.
Just one point about the section on riding on the shoulder of the road. I think the statements about whether it's a good idea or not should be removed, especially the comment that "you will get doored in the end". This sort of commentary about how safe it is could apply to a lot of rules (lane splitting, riding 2 abreast, etc) and there are arguments either way. If this is just a summary of the rules, not a commentary on whether they are good or bad, it should be consistent for all, and that sentence should be removed.
Other than that one comment, it's an excellent summary, thanks.
The single biggest rule that needs to highlighted more is about giving way when you are returning from the shoulder.
This also means when you are riding along the road and the shoulder line curves in at an intersection, you have to give way to cars who are left hooking you.
Just another reason why not to ride in the shoulder.
On other rules that I can't figure out is: if you are going straight through a T intersection in the shoulder, do you have to stop at a right light? Does it depend on if the stop line is drawn over the shoulder or not? What makes this interesting is that the shoulder is a road related area, and thus if you are required to stop (which you do seem to be based on the words 'approching a red light') you would also technically be required to stop even when you are on the foot path!
Yep I covered that in the the shoulder rule part.
s56 pretty much covers your red light question. It doesn't matter if it has a stop line or not. And it only applies to "drivers", which includes cyclists but excludes pedestrians. While its not specifically stated, it would be clear that a red light doesn't apply to an unbroken footpath adjacent to the road. If they had to cover obvious stuff like that the rules would be even more unreadable than they already are
Sadly what seems obvious is not the way the law works. The shoulder is a road related area. The footpath is a road related area. There is no further distinction made in the law under red lights.
Secondly the definition of an intersection is where the roads (including road related areas) met or cross another road. The road related area to the left of a shoulder neither meets nor crosses a road at a T intersection. So I beleive it is technically legal to ride through a red light on the shoulder.
I will probably keep doing it until I have a judge tell me im wrong.
I really like this rule. I guess it all depends what the phrase "where it is practicable to do so" means or how a lawyer would interpret this.
Does this mean that where there is a bicycle lane, I should be riding in it? Even if it contains broken glass and other debris and usually there is a row of parked cars all ready to door you with their car doors.
that's the good part, it doesn't matter what a lawyer thinks (or the police), it's what you think that matters and so long as you can elocute that choice to a judge, you're fine. so long as you have a justifiable reason (broken glass, detritus, debris, storm water grates, cars and door zones, etc) then it is not practicable to use the lane. off course it has to be an actual bike lane to begin with to qualify for it to then be practicable to use.
Life is not about waiting for the rain to pass.....it's about learning to dance (or ride) in the rain.
I thought a cyclist had to indicate using hand signals when turning left and right, but apparently it is only right.
I agree the trouble with riding on the shoulder is cyclists are supposed to give way when crossing the white line back into the lane.
If there's a row of parked cars in it, I doubt it is a bike lane. It sounds like a road shoulder with bicycle awareness symbols painted on it.
However, that said, if there are parked cars right on the edge of a real bike lane and you are going fast, that would make it impractical in many cases to use the lane due to the dooring risk or narrow width of the lane.
The legal definition of practicable also incorporations what a person aught to resonably know and do. As long as you ride wide and occupy the car lane clearly, I don't think you will ever have any problem using any excuse.
However there is also the liability side of this rule. If you straddle lanes by driving down the line and are hit, you are going to have a tough time arguing that it was not reasonably praticable for you to know you were putting yourself in a dangerous situation - a resonable person would know to pick a lane.
I am still unsure about the rules for reflectors and lights.
I always thought that you had to have front and rear reflectors on your bike, at all times.
I am in the process of joining the police so cant afford to have any infringments so am probably the only poster on this forum that has a front and rear reflector, a bell and even kept the yellow wheel reflectors to make sure!
I have seen lights that have reflectors built in, so I assume that they will comply with any rules. Can I just run flashing lights at all times instead of a reflector during the day?
In the quote- are b, and c interchangeable or do you have to have both?
From my reading, it will be all of the above LB. That's why most rear lights these days have an additional reflector (well mine does anyway).
Amateur oenologist and green-friendly commuter.
There's a difference between what is legally required for you to be on the road, and what is legally required for the bike shop to sell you a bike. I believe the shops have to have wheel reflectors etc, but its not actually required here to be on the road. Just required for sale.
Edit: Both B and C are required based on the language. Lots of decent lights have a reflector built in eg. Radbot 1000.
Last edited by InTheWoods on Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
+1. Would love to know what the (legal) answer is My ride has everything: reflectors (even the wheel ones), lights & bell. Would prefer to get rid of as many as possible while still obeying the law (handlebar & seatpost are cramped).
I am looking at a light that has a reflector as well, and am planning to just use my lights whenever on the road even in daylight. I dont like the look of having a bell, and am thinking of moving it to under my seat, I will still be legal (I think) but get rid of the ugliness.
Probably pushing it mate. How about twisting it so it's under the handlebar? Still usable but not very visible At least with bells, there's plenty of options. You could find the tiniest one. Reflectors on the other hand ..
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