Where to ride

Where you ride depends on why you are riding. It also depends on your riding confidence and the kind of spaces you are comfortable riding in. 

Whether you are riding for fun or to get from A to B, there is a variety of options. 

This section covers where you can ride, both away from motorised traffic (including for recreation) and on the street. It provides tips on how to plan your ride and how to extend your options with public transport or going part of the way by car.

Off-street and recreational riding

Riding away from streets is often more scenic and relaxing. Places to ride away from motorised traffic include shared paths, rail trails and other off-road trails. You may also ride on footpaths when riding with young children.

: image of bike rider riding on a shared path, with a sign saying it is a shared footway with a picture of a bicycle and a pedestrian.Shared paths 

  • Many paths in urban areas are signed as shared paths for walking and bike riding. They are often around parks and foreshores.
  • Your local council may have bike maps showing shared paths in your area. 
  • Keep left on shared paths and give way to people walking. Slow down and use your bell or call out to let people know you are passing.

Rail trails

  • Victoria has 45 rail trails. Rail trails are old rail lines converted to shared-use trails. 
  • Rail trails offer great off-road leisure riding. 
  • Rail trails in Melbourne and some regional centres also offer good connections for getting around town. 

Find out more about Victoria’s rail trails from Rail Trails Australia.

Off-road trails

  • Many tracks and trails in nature reserves and state parks around Victoria are great for riding. Bike access varies. It depends on the location or the type of trail.
  • Visit the Parks Victoria website for information on where you can ride,  including mountain biking trails. 

12 years and under with illustration of child riding a bicycle on the footpath; 13 years and older plus 12 years and under with illustration of two bike riders riding on the footpath; child and adult together with illustration of an adult riding a bike with a child seat and child sitting in the seat, and an adult riding a bike with a child on a tag a long bike attached to their bike.  Footpaths

  • You may only ride on a footpath if: 
    • you are 12 years old or younger
    • you are riding with a child aged 12 years or younger, or
    • you have a medical exemption.
  • Keep left on footpaths and give way to people walking.

On-street riding 

Even if you plan to ride on an off-road trail it is likely you will need to ride on public roads at some point.

Bike lanes

: two adults bike riding side by side, on a local street.

  • Bike lanes provide space on roads away from the main traffic. Line markings and bike symbols identify them as spaces for bikes. 
  • Riders must use bike lanes unless it is not practical to do so. 
  • Green-painted bike lanes help alert other road users that it is a space for bikes.

Separated cycleways

  • Some on-street bike lanes are fully separated and protected from motorised traffic by raised kerbs, bollards or car parking spaces. 

Bike boxes

  • Some signalled intersections include dedicated space for bikes to wait at traffic lights. This space is a painted box with a bike symbol inside it. It is called a bike box.
  • Bike riders may move to the front of the lane to wait in the bike box ahead of other vehicles. This helps riders be seen. But if a large truck or bus is at the front of a lane it is safer to wait behind the vehicle to avoid being in the driver’s blind spot. 

image of a bike rider stopped at the front of an intersection with a green and white painted bicycle box painted on the road.


  • A ‘share lane’ marking (a bicycle with two arrows or ‘chevrons’) shows that bikes should move into the main traffic lane. 
  • Sharrows may appear on the approach to a roundabout when a bike lane ends, or on narrow local streets. 
  • Sharrows let other road users know to expect bike riders in the middle of the lane.

Even in areas where there is no specific lanes or road markings for bicycles, bikes can travel on all roads. (This is unless signs prohibit bikes, such as on urban freeways.) 

image of a yellow bicycle and chevron arrow painted on the road (a sharrow).

Apply the principles outlined in our Riding know-how section to ride safely and confidently on streets. 

Plan your ride for low-stress riding

The way you would ride somewhere is likely to be different from the way you would drive. If you are riding somewhere new, plan your ride so you stay on paths or streets where you feel comfortable. 

Use these tips to find a low-stress riding route:

  • Instead of a taking a direct route along busy roads, look for quieter, lower speed streets that go in the same direction.
  • It may be more comfortable to use a slightly longer route to avoid a busy spot.
  • Use bike lanes and off-road paths where they are available.
  • Ask a friend, neighbour or colleague who rides for suggestions on which way to ride.
  • If you don’t feel confident riding across a busy road or intersection, hop off your bike and cross as a pedestrian.
  • If you are in an area where people often get around by bike, look out for other riders. Busy bike routes are usually a safer option.

Maps and tools to help you find your way

Try the following apps and digital mapping platforms to help plan your ride. 

  • Google Maps – These show bike route options when you select ‘bicycle’ as your transport. Be aware that it may not include all local routes. 
    Suggested routes are not always appropriate. Use the street view function to check the suggested route before you start riding. (Google sometimes recommends higher speed roads.) 
  • arevo – RACV’s journey planning app for Melbourne includes a function to plan your trip by bike. The maps colour-code different types of bike facilities so you can choose off-road paths, separated bike lanes or on-road riding.
  • Council bike maps – Many metropolitan councils and some regional towns have bike maps of their local area
  • Facebook – Look for a bike-friendly Facebook group in your local area for suggestions on where to ride locally.

The Bicycle Network has more tips on planning your ride on its How to plan a bike route webpage.

Public transport can help you ride further

Depending on where you live, public transport may be a good option to: 

  • get you to the start of a trail
  • extend your riding distance
  • return you home after a ride.

You can take your bike on trains. Check the conditions for travelling with a bike  on metropolitan and V/Line services on the Public Transport Victoria website.

Parkiteer secure bike parking cages  are available at many metropolitan and some regional train stations. These allow you to ride to the station and safely store your bike. You need to register and pay an annual access fee before you can use the bike parking cage.

Folding bikes can be carried on trains, buses and trams.

Putting your bike in the car

There are several options for transporting bikes by car. Which is best depends on the car and the number and size of bikes:

  • In the back of the car – A bike might fit on its side in the boot, especially if the rear seats fold down. You may need to remove the front wheel to make it fit. A retailer or bike-riding friend can show you how to do this if you haven’t done it before. 
  • Bike rack on a tow bar – A specially designed bike rack may fit up to six bikes. This depends on the rack design (most fit fewer bikes) and the sizes of the bikes. 
    If you have a bike rack fitted you must ensure the car’s number plate can be seen from 20 metres. You can purchase bike rack number plates from VicRoads.
  • Bike rack on roof racks – You can fit two bikes on the roof of most cars using specially designed racks. You will probably have to take off the front wheels first. Make sure you can lift the bikes before buying a rack.

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