Rule of the road

Get familiar with the rules, rights and responsibilities of being a cyclist on our roads

As a road rider, you have the same rights and responsibilities as any other road user. This means you are legally obliged to following the road rules.

As you venture out on to the road, it's important to know your rights and the laws that are relevant to you as a cyclist.

Laws that are specific to bike riders can vary state to state, but there are several simple rules that are common across Australia: 

  • Wearing a helmet: When riding a bike, you must wear an Australian Standards approved helmet  that is securely fitted and fastened (unless you have been granted an exception for medical or religious reasons).
  • Light up: When riding at night or in low light, you must have front (white) and rear (red) lights and a red rear reflector. Lights can be set to steady or flashing.
  • Ring-ring: You must have a bell or similar warning device on your bike.
  • Keep left: Keep left of the lane you are riding in.
  • Stop on the red: It seems like common sense, but as with other vehicles, bike riders must stop at pedestrian crossings, red lights and stop signs.

Click here for the full list of road rules that apply Australia-wide.

Things you may not know:

If you're new to riding on the road, there are also a few special exemptions that apply to bike riders that you may not be aware of.

  • Riding two abreast - on the road, cyclists can ride side-by-side, provided they are no more than 1.5 metres apart.
  • Indicating - cyclists are only legally required to use a hand signal when they are turning or changing lanes to the right. But it's good practice (and good manners) to always indicate your actions and make your intentions, to turn or stop, clear.
  • Shoulders - riders may also ride on the shoulder of the road, provided they signal and give way when crossing back over the white line and back into traffic.
  • Overtaking on the left - provided that the vehicle being overtaken is not signalling left (in that instance the bike rider must give way), cyclists can overtake motorists on the left.
  • Bike lanes - cyclists must ride within a bike lane when there is one provided, unless it is not practical to do so, such as if the lane is blocked by debris or parked cars.
  • Hook turns - as a bike rider, you are permitted to perform hook turns
  • Following a vehicle - a cyclist must not follow within two metres of a motor vehicle for more than 200 metres, or physically hang on to another moving vehicle

While it may seem like a lot to remember, many are common sense and as you increase your riding, recall will be second nature.

To learn the specific road rules that apply to your state, visit: