Drivers and sharing the road

Tips about how drivers and other road users can share the road safely.

Give way when turning

cycling rule - give way to walkers when turning 

  • When turning (left or right) at any intersection, except a roundabout, you must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road you are entering.

  • Pay particular attention when turning right.  Drivers must give way to pedestrians crossing the road they are turning into, as well as oncoming traffic (including bike riders) when turning right.

cycling rule - Give way to pedestrians when turning

Give way to pedestrians crossing the road

  • Drivers 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 at a speed that lets you stop safely. 
  • At roundabouts be aware of pedestrians needing to cross, slow down and give them the space and time they need.
  • On a slip lane a driver must give way to any pedestrian crossing the lane, whether there is a marked pedestrian crossing or not. 

 cycling rule - give way to walkers

Give way to pedestrians in other situations too

  • When entering or leaving a driveway, you must give way to pedestrians and bicycles on any footpath, path or nature strip you cross.

cycling rule - give way to wlakers crossing driveways

  • In a shared zone, you must give way to pedestrians 
  • 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.

It is important that all road users know how to identify people who are vision impaired so they can act accordingly.

People who 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

From 26 April, when passing or overtaking 

Be patient and keep your distance from bike riders, at least one metre on roads with speed limits over 60km/h, and at least 1.5 metres if you’re traveling over 60 km/h.

After overtaking, make sure you are well clear of the bike rider before moving back.

The minimum passing distance is measured from the widest part of the combination of vehicle and trailer being towed.

If drivers cannot pass the bicycle rider safely, drivers need to slow down and wait until the next safe opportunity to do so.  

For large vehicles such as when towing boats, horse floats, caravans and ‘tradie’ trailers, as well as heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, a safe distance may be more than the 1m or 1.5m minimum. Therefore, drivers may need to slow down, sit behind and wait for a safe place to pass.

Be patient and keep your distance from people who ride bicycles.

Why is this rule important?

  • Providing enough space for bicycle riders allows them some room to swerve if they come across a parked car door opening in their path, or some debris or a hazard on the road. 
  • Larger vehicles passing closely can create wind turbulence that can make them lose their balance. 
  • Leaving the required amount of passing space also makes bicycle riders feel safer and more at ease while sharing the road with motorised vehicles.

Overtaking

Drivers can cross solid single lines, double lines or centre lines when overtaking people who ride bicycles, when there is a clear view ahead and it is safe to do so. If it’s not safe you need to wait until you find a suitable place to pass.

Before overtaking look twice - look ahead for oncoming traffic including motorcyclists and bicycle riders approaching on the other side of the road.

After overtaking, make sure you are well clear of the bicycle rider before moving back, make sure you can see them in your rear view mirror.

If drivers cannot pass the bicycle rider safely, divers need to slow down and wait until the next safe opportunity to do so.

Drivers can cross single yellow lines into tram lanes to pass bicycle riders, only when the way is clear and it is safe to do so, they must not get in the way of any approaching trams.Drivers must not enter tram ways and must not cross double yellow lines or any raised separation on the edge of tram ways.

Where do the new rules apply?

The minimum passing distance rules apply whenever a motorised vehicle is passing a bicycle rider, including:

  • When bicycle riders 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 bicycle riders are riding two abreast on the road (which they are legally allowed to do)

Where bicycle riders ride to the outside of the bike lane when riding past park cars, they are often trying to avoid the car door zone, to keep well clear of any unexpected car doors opening.

Bicycle riders have the option to do a hook turn at any intersection, unless signed otherwise. This can be a safer option as they don’t need to cross into the middle of the road to turn right.

At intersections

  • Watch out for bike riders at intersections and roundabouts.
  • Bicycle riders have the option to do a hook turn at any intersection, unless signed otherwise.

Bike riders can use a hook turn to turn right unless signed otherwise

  • Drivers must stop before a bike box when stopping at a red light. Stop before the first white line, and when the lights turn green, give the bike rider a head start.

smaller animated image advising drivers they need to stop before the boike box for cyclists

On local roads

  • Drive cautiously and watch out for bike riders in residential streets.

When changing lanes or merging

  • Do not drive in bicycle lanes.
  • Give way to bike riders in bicycle lanes if you are turning across the lane (including slip lanes).

image - LOOK Green Lane? Take extra care
     
Give way to anyone travelling in a lane you are moving into, including bike riders.

Let others go before you go

  • When merging, give way to anyone already in the part of the lane you are merging into, before moving across.
Car merging left 
  • Indicate when pulling out, changing lanes or turning, so bike riders know your intentions.

When opening car doors to get out of your car

  • Check behind you before opening your car door, use your mirrors and do a head check. 

Car dooring image
 

  • View our video Checking for cyclists and motorcyclists  for more information about how to be aware of cyclists when opening your car door.
  • Doing a head check and side mirror check helps you see into your blind spot before you change lane or turn.

Drivers check mirrors and head check before changing lane or merging to turn left

  • Motorcycle and scooter riders are allowed to lane filter at low speed so they may appear in places you might not have traditionally expected them.
  • Whilst many motorcycles and scooters are now fitted with advanced braking systems, braking distances are typically longer than in a car. Ensure that you leave riders with enough space.
  • Motorcycle and scooters are typically maneuverable and can accelerate quickly, so be mindful that conditions around you may have changed.
  • Always check your blind spots before changing direction by undertaking a head check. 
  • Try to make eye contact with riders as this can assist in determining that you have seen the rider.
  • Indicate when pulling out, changing lanes or turning, so riders know your intentions.
 

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