Sharing the road
Sharing the road
It's important to always be aware of other road users on and around the road, and to safely share our roads. Always look out for more vulnerable road users like bicycle riders, motorcyclists and pedestrians, especially at intersections and roundabouts.
Sharing the road with bicycle riders
Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers and motorcycle riders. Drivers must watch out for bicycle riders, as they’re smaller than cars and harder to see. Bicycle riders, like other vehicles, also have the right to travel on roads and be shown courtesy and care by other road users.
Minimum Passing Distance road rule exemptions
If you can’t pass a bicycle rider safely, you should slow down and wait until it is safe to pass the rider, leaving the minimum distance.
To help drivers keep the minimum distance, some exemptions to the road rules apply.
You'll be exempt from the following rules, as long as it is safe to pass the bicycle rider with at least a metre of space and you have a clear view of approaching traffic:
- keep to the left of the centre of the road (two-way road with no dividing line)
- keep to the left of the centre of a dividing line – broken and unbroken lines
- keep off a flat dividing strip
- keep off a flat painted island
- drive within a single marked lane or line of traffic
- move from one marked lane to another across a continuous line separating the lanes.
A driver (except a bicycle rider) mustn't stop in a bike lane unless the driver:
- is driving a public bus, public minibus, or taxi, and is dropping off/picking up passengers
- is permitted to drive in the lane under these Rules or another law of this jurisdiction
- is permitted to stop or park in the bike lane under another law of this jurisdiction.
For more information on road rules for bike lanes, visit the NSW legislation website.
Tips when driving near bicycle riders
- Bicycle riders are more difficult to see than cars or trucks, especially at night. Take care to check for bicycle riders in blind spots and especially when turning at intersections and roundabouts.
- Sometimes a bicycle rider can travel faster than a car, particularly in slow-moving traffic. Never underestimate their speed and don’t cut them off by moving in front of them. Remember that it takes bicycle riders longer to stop than cars.
- Check your rear-view and side mirrors to avoid opening your car door into the path of bicycle riders. It can be dangerous and is legally your fault.
- At times, bicycle riders may need the full width of a lane to ride safely because of rough road edges and gravel. Be prepared to slow down and allow the rider to travel away from the kerb.
- Children on bikes can be unpredictable – be prepared to slow down and stop.
- Bicycle riders are allowed to ride side-by-side.
Sharing the road with pedestrians
You must give way to pedestrians crossing the road into which your vehicle is turning. You must also give way to pedestrians if there's a danger of colliding with them, even if there's no marked pedestrian crossing. As a vehicle’s speed increases, so does the risk of injury or death to pedestrians hit in a crash.
- Slow down on roads where there are likely to be a lot of pedestrians, especially near schools, shopping centres and hotels where there are likely to be pedestrians who have been drinking.
- Be aware that pedestrians are hard to see at night and in poor weather.
- Don’t assume that a pedestrian has seen you and will wait for you to go past.
- Be mindful that vulnerable pedestrians may need extra time to cross – children can be difficult to see and may act unpredictably.
Safe speed zones allow drivers travelling at a speed limit to safely respond to potential risks on the road. A shared zone is a road/network of roads where pedestrians and other vehicles moving slowly can share the road safely. When driving in a shared zone, give way to all pedestrians and keep to the 10km/h speed limit.
No stopping zones
No stopping signs are placed next to pedestrian crossings. This is so pedestrians can have a clear view of approaching vehicles and drivers can see pedestrians who are about to cross the road. It is illegal and dangerous to stop in these areas.
40km/h high-pedestrian activity areas
The 40km/h high pedestrian activity areas (HPAA) are sections of road where there's heavy interaction between vehicles and pedestrians. They may be near shopping strips, railway stations, bus interchanges, popular beaches and medical centres.
The maximum speed limit is 40km/h at all times. Associated traffic calming measures alert you of the lower speed limit and pedestrians near the road. The 40km/h HPAA zones are part of a NSW Government initiative to create a safer environment for all road users, particularly pedestrians. Local councils, in partnership with Roads and Maritime Services, design and apply these schemes in line with our guidelines for 40km/h zones.
Watch out for trains
Level crossing safety is an important area of focus for the NSW Government and part of our effort to achieve the Future Transport Strategy commitment of a significant reduction in trauma across our transport networks.
You should slow down at level crossings and obey the signs. Don’t enter a level crossing if flashing lights, bells or boom gates are operating. Trains can travel up to 160km/h and take up to 14 football fields to stop, which means that even if train drivers see you, they can’t stop.
Through the Level Crossing Improvement Program (LCIP), we provide additional funding for level crossing upgrades and support safety education campaigns, enforcement initiatives, site data analysis and policy development.
LCIP initiatives are overseen by the Level Crossing Strategy Council (LCSC) to ensure the goals and objectives of the LCSC Strategic Plan 2021–30 are met.
Find out more about road safety around level crossings.