Bike riders and sharing the road

Here you can find tips about how drivers, pedestrians and bike riders can share the road safely.

Road Rules that help us share the road

See below for some of the road rules that help us share the road safely.

 

There are road rules for drivers and riders to follow when interacting with pedestrians, for example:

  • Drivers and riders must give way to pedestrians at a pedestrian crossing, and must not overtake another vehicle which has stopped at a pedestrian crossing. 
  • When approaching a pedestrian crossing, drive or ride at a speed that lets you stop safely. 
  • When turning at any intersection (except a roundabout), you must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road you are entering. 
  • At roundabouts be aware of pedestrians needing to cross, slow down and give them the space and time they need.
  • When entering or leaving a driveway, you must give way to pedestrians and bicycles on any footpath, path or nature strip you cross.
  • In a shared zone shared, you must give way to pedestrians.
  • On a shared path bike riders must give way to pedestrians and stay to the left. Slow down and call out or ring your bell to let them know you are there.
  • You must give way to any pedestrian at or near the stop sign or line.  This includes pedestrians as well as bicycles crossing in front of you. 
  • Be patient and keep your distance from bike riders, at least one metre on roads with speed limits up to 60km/h, and at least 1.5 metres if you’re travelling over 60km/h
  • After overtaking, make sure you are well clear of the bike rider before moving back
  • Watch out for bike riders at intersections and roundabouts
  • Drive cautiously and watch out for bike riders in residential streets
  • Check behind you before opening your car door, use your mirrors and do a head check
  • Do not drive in bicycle lanes
  • Give way to bike riders in bicycle lanes if you are turning across the lane
  • Indicate when pulling out, changing lanes or turning, so bike riders know your intentions
  • Drivers may cross a solid white line to overtake a cyclist
  • View our video Checking for cyclists and motorcyclists (External link) for more information about how to be aware of cyclists when opening your car door
  • Check behind you before opening your car door, use your mirrors and do a head check.  Make sure your passengers are careful when opening their car doors too
  • Make sure you use hand signals when required to let others know when you are going to change direction.
  • Obey road rules and stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • When approaching a corner, give way to vehicles already indicating and turning left (they may be about to stop to give way to a pedestrian, or be a long vehicle that needs time to turn).

Bike riders giving way at intersection

  • Ride in bike lanes where they are provided, unless impractical to do so.
  • Use lights front and back at night and at times of low light.  It is safer to use lights during daylight too.
  • Trucks have huge blind spots and may not see you at all if you are positioned down either side of them, or directly in the front of them.  Try to avoid being in their blind spots when approaching an intersection or when stopped in a bike box.

 Image of a truck facing traffic lights with the words Stay out of blind spots

 

  •  When trucks are turning, keep out of their way.  Stay behind them so that you can see what they are doing, and keep out of their blind spot.

Truck turning? cyclist stay back

  • Wait behind trucks when they are turning left, do not lane filter into their blind spot.

  • Trucks can be very long, and double the length of the first section you see.  They can have a trailer attached of almost the same length, otherwise known as a 'dog'.

Truck and trailer (dog)

 

Bicycle riders can ride in a bus lane unless otherwise signed.  

Safety tips for bike riding in bus lanes:

  • Keep to the left of the bus lane
  • Give way to buses at all times
  • Wait behind the bus if it is coming to a stop and do not overtake or undertake it.
  • Bike riders travelling in a bus lane can proceed on the 'B-signal' during bus lane operating hours. Outside the bus lane operating hours, only buses can proceed on the 'B-signal'.
  • Be alert at bus stops and watch out for passengers getting on and off buses, stop behind the bus until it has moved off.
  • Be alert to other road users entering the bus lane,  eg at an intersection or to turn off the road
  • Before changing lanes and turning, always scan behind and signal your intentions to other road users.
  • If there is a bike lane beside the bus lane, a bike rider must use the bike lane. 
  • Using a hook turn can be a safer way to turn right.
  • Take extra care when cycling at night. Wear bright or light coloured clothing with reflective strips and reflective ankle bands, use front and rear bike lights. 
  • Bright or light coloured clothing and flashing lights during daylight can also improve safety
  • Choosing a less busy parallel road or path where it exists may be a safer option.
  • Bike riders must stop behind a tram that has stopped at a tram stop, to allow passengers to get on and off safely.

Stay behind trams when passengers getting on and off

 

 

Blindness and low vision is not always well understood within the community. It is important that all road users know how to identify people who are vision impaired, so they can act accordingly.

People who are vision impaired have less information when making decisions about where and when to cross the road. Other senses such as hearing can assist, but do not compensate for the loss of vision.

When driving, riding a motor bike or bicycle, it is important to be patient with pedestrians and to recognise that people who use canes or dogs may take longer to cross the road. Also be aware that a person who is vision impaired may not make eye contact, or respond to visual gestures.

Helpful information

Yes, except for a few differences and some additional rules for bike riders.

Bike riders must signal when turning right, and can help share the road more safely by riding predictably, using eye contact and indicating all changes of direction.

Yes, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left.

Only if accompanying a bike rider under the age of 13, or if suffering a disability and carrying a relevant medical certificate or otherwise exempted. Bike riders must always give way to pedestrians on footpaths and shared paths. Any bicycle rider 13 and above can accompany a child under 13 riding on the footpath.

 

From 26 April, when drivers pass a bicycle rider, they must leave a space of at least 1 metre between their vehicle and the rider on roads with speed limits up to 60km/h.

If drivers are travelling on roads with speed limits over 60km/h, they must leave a bigger space of at least 1.5 metres between their vehicle and the bicycle rider.

Where do the new rules apply?

These laws apply whenever a motorised vehicle is passing a bicycle rider, including:

  • When you are riding in a bicycle lane (including painted white lines, temporary separation like a pop up bike lane, and permanent separation eg kerbing separating the bicycle lane).
  • When you are riding two abreast on the road
  • When you are riding in bus lanes, riding single file in bus lanes helps buses pass by more easily.

Hints and tips 

When sharing the lane with motorised vehicles you may choose to ride single file to let others pass by, when safe to do so. It helps everyone get to where they want to go, particularly if the road is narrow or busy in both directions.

Bicycle riders have the option to do a hook turn at any intersection, unless signed otherwise. This can be a safer option as you don’t need to cross into the middle of the road to turn right. Be particularly careful not to prop in front of a dedicated left turning lane on a multi-lane road.

Ride predictably, follow the road rules, and indicate if you intend to change direction.

Heavy vehicles have large blind spots (i.e. front, sides and behind). 

Be aware of truck blind spots and keep out of them, stay behind trucks particularly when they are changing direction.

In addition, large vehicles may need to use more than one lane to turn.  It may appear that they have freed up space in the kerb side lane, which is where bike riders are accustomed to riding, however this gap is not safe to enter, stay back behind trucks that are turning.

Be aware of heavy vehicle drivers who may not be able to see you waiting in front of their cab at a stop line, in a bike box or waiting to hook turn.  

 

A bike rider must use a front light, rear light (flashing or steady), and a rear red reflector when riding at night or in conditions where visibility is poor.

Yes, this may be necessary in narrow traffic lanes where there is not enough space for another vehicle to overtake a bicycle safely within the lane.

Yes, but for no more than 50 metres, and only where necessary to pass a vehicle turning right, to enter or leave a side street, another traffic lane or parking space, or when stopping or parking if allowed.

Yes, this is a particular danger for bike riders, and a driver or passenger who does so can be fined, so please use your mirrors and do a head check before opening a car door.

Yes, unless impracticable to do so.

Yes, bike riders cycling on roads or paths are required to wear a properly fastened Australian standards approved bicycle helmet.

Yes, but they must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart.

On 17 July 2013, the Amy Gillett Foundation launched a consolidated cycling code of conduct titled ‘Sharing Roads and Paths’. The code brings key cycling related road rules and responsibilities together into one easy to use guide aimed at informing all road users on how to share spaces safely with bicycle riders.

Download a copy of Sharing Roads and Paths [PDF 856 Kb]

Cycling Victoria have also developed the ‘Code of Conduct for Training Cyclists’. It is designed to encourage safe riding by bike riders, particularly when riding in groups. 

Download a copy of the Code of Conduct for Training Cyclists [PDF 1.2Mb]

The purpose of both Codes of Conduct are to encourage bike riders to ride in a safer manner, to increase their compliance with the road rules and to show more respect for other road users.

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