Road rules for bicycle riders
A bicycle is considered a vehicle in NSW and must follow the same road rules as other vehicles. There are also some special road rules that only apply to bicycle riders.
Rules for bicycle riders
- You can ride side-by-side another bike, but no more than 1.5 metres apart.
- You must use the marked bike lane in your direction if there is one, unless it's impracticle to do so.
- You must give a hand signal when turning right or merging to the right lane. You should do this for about 30 metres before you turn, or change lanes or lane position. You don’t need to give a left or stop signal, or signal when making a hook turn but it's strongly recommended you do.
- You can overtake 2 other bicycle riders who are riding side by side.
- You can overtake on the left of stopped and slow-moving vehicles.
- You can ride to the left of a continuous white edge line.
- You can turn right from the left lane of a roundabout, but you must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
- You must not ride on a pedestrian crossing. Instead, walk your bike across. You can ride across if there's a bicycle crossing signal. You must obey the signals at crossings.
- You must not be towed by or hold onto another moving vehicle.
- You must keep left of oncoming bicycle riders or pedestrians on a footpath, shared path or separated path.
- You must not carry more people than the bike is designed for. If carrying a passenger, they must be wearing an approved, fitted and fastened helmet.
- You must face forward on the rider’s seat, with one leg on each side and at least one hand on the handlebars.
Where can you ride?
You can ride on the footpath if:
- you're under 16 years of age
- you're 16 years or older and are supervising a child under 16 riding a bike.
If you're 16 years or older and not supervising a child under 16 years riding a bike, you can’t ride on the footpath.
You can ride a bike on shared paths. You must keep left and give way to pedestrians on shared paths.
You must ride in a bicycle lane if it's marked on the road and has bicycle lane signs, unless it's impracticable to do so. Cars may use them for no more than 50 metres to enter or leave the road at a driveway or intersection.
You can ride in transit lanes, tram lanes, truck lanes and bus lanes, but not bus only lanes.
You can ride in bus lanes. Be aware of other vehicles using the lane, especially when coming up to intersections as all vehicles can travel in a bus lane if they’re turning left. When riding in a bus lane, you must follow the main traffic lights. You can’t go on the green ‘B’ bus signal and must wait for the main traffic light green signal.
You can’t ride in bus only lanes. These are marked by ‘Buses Only’ on the bus lane sign or lane markings.
There are only 2 ways that you can use a mobile phone while riding.
- Hands-free – you can only use your phone hands-free (without touching it) to:
- make or receive voice calls
- play audio, for example, music and podcasts.
- In a phone holder – you can only use and touch your phone to:
- make or receive voice calls
- play audio, for example, music and podcasts
- use as a rider/driver’s aid, for example, maps and navigation apps or dispatch systems.
Phone holders must be commercially manufactured and fixed to your bicycle and must not obscure your vision.
You must not use a mobile phone while riding for any other function. This includes:
- video calls
- social media
- using the internet
When riding, you must not hold a mobile phone in your hand. It must not rest on your leg, be between your shoulder and ear or any other part of your body.
Helmets and equipment
Bicycle riders must wear an approved helmet securely fitted and fastened. This includes children on bikes with training wheels and any child being carried as a passenger or in a bicycle trailer.
Approved bike helmets have stickers/labels showing they meet the Australian and New Zealand standard (AS/NZS 2063) and have passed safety tests. When buying a helmet, look for these labels.
Always replace your helmet if it has been dropped on a hard surface or been in a crash. Also replace it if you see any cracks in the foam or if the straps are worn/frayed.
Don’t wear any caps or hats under your helmet. Doing so compromises the fit and safety of the helmet, as the hat or cap can push the helmet higher on your head, which can expose your skull in a fall or crash.
You should also choose a bright colour to help other road users see you.
Your helmet should fit and be adjusted with no twists in the straps. It should look like this:
By law, your bike must be fitted with a working horn or bell and at least one working brake.
It must also have a:
- white light on the front of the bike that can be seen for at least 200 metres
- red light on the back of the bike that can be seen for at least 200 metres
- red reflector on the back of the bike that can be seen for at least 50 metres by a vehicle’s headlight on low beam.
These lights must be on when riding at night, between sunset and sunrise, or in bad weather conditions.
Wear bright or light-coloured clothing so other road users can see you. You should also wear reflective clothing at night, along with a high-visibility slap band. Wear closed-toed shoes that fully cover your toes and heels, such as sneakers or running shoes.
For more information
Safety advice for bicycle riders in NSW.