Road Rules

Road Rules for Cyclists

It’s important to stay safe out there!

  • Wear a Helmet
  • Check bike before riding
  • Do short test ride to check brakes and your ability
  • Use hand signals
  • Respect others on bike paths
  • Use bell to alert people and animals when approaching
  • Ride defensively

Cyclists in NSW must obey the road rules. They must stop at red lights or stop signs, give way as indicated by road signs and give hand signals when changing direction. Under the Road Rules on the NSW legislation website, ADD LINK  a bicycle is considered a vehicle and has the same road rules as other vehicles

Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as other road users. There are also special road rules that only apply to bicycle riders.

The NSW Road Rules ADD LINK and the Road Users’ Handbook ADD LINK are good information sources for NSW road rules.

Special rules for bicycle riders

  •      You may perform hook turns at intersections unless prohibited by sign posting.
  •      You do not need to give a left or stop signal, or signal when making a hook turn.
  •      You may ride two abreast but not more than 1.5 m apart.
  •      You may overtake two other bicycle riders who are riding side-by-side.
  •      You may travel in a Bus Lane, Tram Lane, Transit Lane or Truck Lane but not in a Bus Only Lane.
  •      You may ride to the left of a continuous white edge line.
  •      You may overtake on the left of stopped and slow moving vehicles.


Choose a route that suits your comfort level.  Whenever possible cycle on shared pathways or dedicated bike lanes.  Don’t rush into cycling. Give yourself plenty of time to understand the road rules and gain riding experience before you ride in traffic. If you are a new rider it’s a good idea to find a space away from traffic where you can practise and build your confidence before you take to the road.

Maximise your safety when riding by constantly assessing your environment for any hazards that may cause a crash. Scan the road for holes, gaps, uneven surfaces, debris and regularly look over your shoulder to check what is beside and behind you. Do not wear headphones when riding. You must be able to hear potential hazards so you can react quickly.

Hazard perception

     SEE road hazards (pedestrians, motorists, other bicycle riders and the road environment, eg potholes, opening doors, and grates).

     THINK about what might happen and anticipate how to avoid a problem.

     DO what you feel will ensure your safety.


Before you start a ride: adjust the seat to fit your height, engage the brakes to ensure that they work, and check the tyres to make sure they’re not flat. Have a short “test ride” before setting off and if there’s a problem with the bike, return it and choose another bike.


  1. A helmet must be correctly fitted to maximise its effectiveness in the event of a crash.
  2.     Position the helmet on your head and tilt it forward until the front of the helmet is two fingers above the bridge of your nose.
  3.     Fasten and straighten the helmet buckles and straps and adjust for a snug fit.
  4.     One finger should be able to fit between the buckle and your chin while the helmet is firmly in place on your head.
  5. Avoid wearing anything under the helmet such as a hat or beanie as this may affect the correct fitting of the helmet on your head.  It may also hinder ventilation causing you to become dehydrated.

Boomerang Bikes provide helmets or various sizes conforming to Australian Standards – ensure you choose one that fits correctly.


Shared paths are paths designed for pedestrian and bicycle use.  Shared paths are signposted and marked so you can tell if you are meant to share the path with pedestrians.  When riding on a shared path, keep to the left at all times unless it is impractical to do so, and give way to pedestrians.  You should also adjust your speed to suit the environment.  Use your bell or horn to signal your presence to other users of the shared path, especially when approaching pedestrians and other riders.  As a bicycle rider, you must overtake on the right hand side.  Be particularly careful around young children, older pedestrians and animals.  Bicycle riders are also encouraged to allow pedestrians a metre of space on shared paths, where possible.  If it is not safe to provide the metre distance when passing, bicycle riders should continue to ride slowly and give way to pedestrians.


Generally, bicycle riders must not ride on a footpath.  However, children under the age of 12 years can ride on the footpath unless there is a NO BICYCLES sign.

Bicycle riders aged 12 years or older must not ride on a footpath unless:

  •   The rider is an adult accompanying and supervising a child who is under 12 years old.
  •   The rider is aged 12-17 years, and is cycling under the supervision of an adult accompanying a child under 12 years old.


Hand signals help to tell other road users what you are doing and where you are going.  You are required by law to give a hand signal when turning right or merging to the right lane.  When signaling, do so about 30 metres before you turn or change lanes or lane position.  Giving a hand signal does not guarantee your safety.  Assess the actions of other road users around you to make sure it is safe before turning or changing lanes.


Bicycle riders have a number of responsibilities when riding on and off the road.  These responsibilities include:

  •   Bicycle riders must sit astride of the rider’s seat facing forward, with at least one hand on the handlebars.
  •   Bicycle riders must not ride a bicycle that does not have at least one working brake and a fully functioning bell, horn, or similar warning device.
  •   Bicycle riders must use the storage boxes when provided.
  •   Bicycle riders must not ride a bicycle at night or in hazardous weather conditions unless the bike displays a flashing or steady white light from the front, and a flashing or steady red light from the rear.  The bike also requires a red reflector, which is visible from the rear.
  •   When in the left lane of a multi-lane roundabout and wanting to turn right, bicycle riders must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
  •   Bicycle riders must not carry more people on a bike than it is designed for.
  •   Where there is a marked bicycle lane in their direction, bicycle riders must use the lane – unless it is impracticable to do so.
  •   Bicycle riders must not ride on a crossing unless there is a green bicycle light.
  •   Bicycle riders must not be towed by or hold onto another moving vehicle.
  •   Bicycle riders must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head.
  •   Bicycle riders must not carry a passenger who is not wearing a securely fitted and fastened helmet.
  •   Bicycle riders must keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider or pedestrian on a footpath, shared path or separated path.

There is a wealth of information concerning cycling in NSW, including cycleways, safety and rules for cyclists on Roads and Maritime website under “Bicycles” ADD LINK  . The “Bicycle Riders Handbook” can be downloaded from this page ADD LINK.  Transport NSW website has lots of information under “Go Together” ADD LINK  Much of the information below has come from these two websites.