Bicycle riders

Heading out on two wheels? Familiarise yourself with must-know tips and road rules for cyclists.

Bicycle riders are allowed to ride on roads and need to follow the same road rules as drivers, but there’s some additional rules that apply. We’ve summarised the key ones for you to help you on your way.

Cycling safety and visibility

  • When riding a bike, you must wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened.
  • Your bike must have at least one effective brake and working bell (or similar warning device).
  • Lights and reflectors are required at night or in conditions of reduced visibility. Lights must be visible from at least 200m away. This includes:
    • A flashing or steady white light at the front
    • A flashing or steady red light at the back
    • A red reflector clearly visible at the back of the bike from 50 metres
  • You can’t carry more people on your bike than what the bike is designed to carry, and all passengers must sit on their seat.
  • Face forward on your seat when riding and ensure at least one hand is always kept on the handlebars.
    • You can only use a mobile phone while riding to make or receive audio calls, listening to music or as a GPS as long as the phone can be used wirelessly or is secured in a commercially designed holder. More information on using technology on the road can be found in our mobile phones section.
  • Bicycle riders involved in a crash are required to give their details, and those of the owner of the bicycle, to any person who had been injured or the owner of any property that has been damaged.

Watch our video which explains the important things to consider when purchasing a bicycle helmet

Riding on bike lanes, paths and footpaths

Road markings for a cycle lane

Bike Lanes

  • You can ride on the road unless signs say otherwise, and if there’s a bike lane you must use it unless it is impractical to do so (for example, if it is blocked or there is a parked car).
  • Bicycles may use bus lanes unless a sign prohibits it.

Footpaths and shared paths

  • On a footpath or shared path, you must:
    • Give way to pedestrians
    • Keep left unless it is impractical to do so
    • Slow down and ring your bell when overtaking.
  • Children under 12 can ride on footpaths. Medical exemptions may apply.
  • Bicycle riders aged 18 years or older can only ride on footpaths if they’re accompanying and supervising a child under 12.
    • A rider 18 years or older may ride on a footpath with a rider 12 years and over, if the younger rider has a medical or other exemption allowing them to ride on the footpath.
  • You can’t ride on a footpath where signs or road markings indicate it’s not allowed (shared bike paths can be identified by a painted bike or pedestrian on a sign or the path).

Watch our video on bike path safety for cyclists and walkers.

For more information see rules 250 and 251 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

The difference between motorcycles, eBikes and power-assisted bicycles

Power assisted bikes are pedal powered bicycles with an auxiliary motor. Power assisted bicycles are considered a bicycle under the road rules if they are one of the following:

Pedal cycle

Pedalec

  • Has one or more auxiliary motors
  • Maximum power output doesn’t exceed 200 watts
  • The rider is required to pedal for the motor to operate
  • Has an auxiliary motor with an output of no more that 250 watts
  • Top speed is restricted to 25km/h

Your bike is considered a motorcycle when:

  • the motor is the primary source of power
  • the motor's power output exceeds 200 watts.

Visit VicRoads website for more information on power assisted bicycles.

Bike trailers

Only riders over the age of 16 can have a bike trailer and the passenger in the trailer must be under the age of 10 (religious and medical exemptions may apply). Both rider and trailer passenger need to wear a helmet on their journey.

See rule 257 of the Victorian Road Safety Rules 2017.

Resources

Read

Watch

The summaries RACV provide on Victorian road rules are based on the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017. We make sure to reference the exact rule where possible. When reading, keep in mind that we’re providing general information, not legal advice. If you’re looking for specific questions on any legal matter, consult with a lawyer for help.