Bicycle riders

We want you to reach your destination safely - no matter what mode of transport you choose. In this section we want to help familiarise you with the road rules, so that when you hop on your bike, you can navigate the roads safely and confidently.

When travelling on the road, bicycles are classified as vehicles and are required to obey the road rules.

This section covers:

If you’re interested in knowing the road rules that apply to driving near bicycle riders see our Sharing the road with bicycles section.

Bicycle riders on roads

The following is a summary of the additional rules that apply to bicycle riders riding on roads:

  • Bicycles are considered vehicles under the road rules, and riders are permitted to ride on the road, even if there is a nearby off-road path (unless signs indicate riding a bike is not allowed on-road).
  • Bicycle riders must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on their head. There are some exemptions for religious or medical reasons. For more information on exemptions see VicRoads website.
  • A bicycle must have at least one effective brake and a bell, horn or similar warning device in working order.
  • At night, or in conditions of reduced visibility, approved lights and reflectors are also required. This includes a flashing or steady white light on the front of the bicycle, and a flashing or steady red light on the rear of the bicycle, and a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50m from the rear of the bicycle when a vehicles low beam headlights shine on it. All lights must be visible for at least 200m from the bicycle.
  • Bicycle riders must ride sitting on the bike seat facing forwards (unless it is not designed to be ridden this way) and with at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • A bike rider must not carry more people than the bike is designed for and any passenger must sit on their seat. It is the rider’s responsibility to ensure their passenger complies with this rule.
  • When a bicycle lane is provided on a road, in the direction of travel, cyclists must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.
road markings for cycle areas
  • Bicycle storage areas or ‘head-start boxes’ are provided at some signalised intersections. These are areas painted in front of the stop line, but before any pedestrian crossing to allow riders to safely wait in front of traffic (see image to the right). Bicycle riders must stop at the second line, within the storage area. Drivers must stop at the first line at a red light and not enter the area reserved for riders.
  • Bicycle riders are allowed to overtake to the left of a vehicle, unless that vehicle is turning left and indicating.
  • Bicycle riders must give hand signals when turning right including changing lanes and making a U-turn. Giving a left hand signal when turning left is not required by the road rules – though we recommend it be done whenever possible as a courtesy to other road users.
  • When turning right, bicycle riders have the option of making a hook turn at any intersection (with or without traffic lights) unless signs prohibit bicycles from doing so. Watch our video that explains how to make a hook turn on a bicycle.
  • At a multi-lane roundabout, bicycle riders riding in the far left lane of the roundabout are required to give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
  • Bicycle riders must not cause a hazard to other road users.
  • Bicycle riders must dismount to cross at a children’s or pedestrian crossing. At a marked foot crossing, a bicycle rider may ride across if there is a bicycle light when the light is green.
  • Bicycle riders are allowed to ride up to two abreast, and up to 1.5 metres apart. Another rider may pass if overtaking.
  • A rider of a bike may not ride on a road where signs or road markings indicate bicycles are not allowed.
  • A person must not ride a bicycle that is being towed by another vehicle.
  • Bicycle riders must not ride within two metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle for more than 200 metres.
  • From 1 July 2017, bicycles are allowed to use bus lanes.
  • From 1 July 2017, bike riders using a mobile phone can be issued with an on-the-spot fine, rather than police having to take them to court. Find out more on our mobile phone page.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017 rules 49, 50, 54, 55, 245 to 262 and 300.

 

Additional rules for bicycle riders on footpaths or shared paths

The following is a summary of the additional rules that apply to bike riders riding on footpaths or shared paths:

Road markings for a cycle lane
  • Children under 12 are allowed to ride on the footpath. Children should be encouraged to be alert for vehicles coming out of driveways. Even though the vehicle has to give way under the Road Rules, they may not see or hear an approaching rider. There are some exemptions for riders older than 12 who have a medical exemption. See VicRoads website for more information about medical exemptions.
  • Bicycle riders aged 18 years or older are allowed to ride on a footpath if they are accompanying and supervising a child less than 12 years of age who is also riding. A rider who is 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 that enables them to ride on the footpath. This enables adults to supervise teenagers riding on paths, when the teenager has an exemption that allows them to ride on footpaths.
  • All bicycle riders must keep left unless it is impractical to do so.
  • All bicycle riders must give way to any pedestrians on the footpath or shared path. On a path, with separate marked areas for bicycles and pedestrians, bicycle riders must not ride in the area reserved for pedestrians. However pedestrians pushing a wheelchair or using rollerblades can use a bicycle path, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise. Watch our video which explains how to safely use shared paths.
  • A rider of a bike may not ride on a footpath where signs or road markings indicate bicycles are not allowed.

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

 

E-bikes or power assisted bicycles

E-bikes or power assisted bicycles are pedal powered bicycles with an auxiliary motor. They are considered a bicycle for the purpose of the road rules when they have:

  • One or more auxiliary motors attached with a combined maximum power output not exceeding 200 watts or
  • An auxiliary motor producing no more than 250 watts continuously, where the rider is required to pedal for the motor to operate and the power cuts our at 25k/h. These e-bikes are known as a Pedelec or Pedalec.

A power assisted bicycle with a motor, where the motor is the primary source of power or the motor's power output exceeds 200 watts (whether or not the motor is operating), is considered a motorcycle for the purpose of the road rules. For more information see the Motorcycle riders section.

For more information on power assisted bicycles visit VicRoads website.

Bicycle carriers

The rule that prohibited drivers from driving on a road with an empty bicycle carrier attached to the rear of their vehicle will be deleted from 1 July 2017.

However, good practice is still to remove bike carriers to reduce the risk of injury to a passing pedestrian and also because racks can interfere with rear lights and sensors on vehicles.  If your bicycle rack obscures your number plate then you need to remove your number plate and attach it to the rack, or fit a bike rack number plate that is issued by VicRoads. Hand drawn plates are not allowed. The number plate on the bicycle rack must be adequately illuminated at night.

There are other requirements relating to the use of bicycle racks that are outlined in VicRoads ‘Vehicle Standards Information VSI34’.

Bicycle trailers

The following is a summary of the rules that apply to riders towing a bicycle trailer:

  • The rider of the bike must be 16 years or older.
  • The person in the bike trailer must be under 10 (some exemptions apply for children aged over 10).
  • The person in the bike trailer must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on their head. There are some exemptions for religious or medical reasons. For more information on exemptions see VicRoads website.

For more information see the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules rule 257.

Advice for safe riding

Illustrative image of bike safety with trucks
  • Ride with caution past parked cars. When safe, and legal, to do so ride outside the door zone of a parked car.
  • Don’t ride in a driver’s blind spot. The image on the right (from Transport for London) clearly shows the blind spots next to a truck.
  • When riding in a group in busy traffic, or on narrow roads consider riding in single file to allow other vehicles to safely overtake.
  • Be considerate about where you park your bicycle. Don’t obstruct footpaths, pedestrian, wheelchair or mobility scooter access.
  • It is also important riders wear the right clothing. This may mean light or bright clothing, high visibility or reflective materials depending on the situation.
  • 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.
  • Always wear an approved and properly fitted helmet. Watch our video which explains the important things to consider when purchasing a bicycle helmet

 

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