Bicycles

Cyclists are required to obey the same road rules as drivers, plus some additional bicycle-specific rules. Like all road users, cyclists can be fined for failing to follow these rules.

What counts as a bicycle?

A bicycle (or bike) is defined as a vehicle that:

  • has two or more wheels 
  • is moved by human power through a belt, chain or gears.

This definition includes:

  • pedicabs 
  • penny farthings 
  • tricycles
  • power-assisted bicycles.

The following are not classified as bicycles:

  • wheelchairs 
  • wheeled toys 
  • scooters.

What's a power-assisted bicycle?

A power-assisted bicycle uses pedals as its main source of power, just like a bicycle, but it has a motor as well. 

Standard bicycle road rules apply to power-assisted bicycles.

See our Power assisted bicycles page for more information.

Mobile phone use by a rider of a bike

Using a mobile phone is prohibited, except to make or receive a phone call or to use its audio/music functions provided the phone:
  • is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the bicycle, or
  • can be operated by the rider without touching any part of the phone, and the phone is not resting on any part of the riders’ body but can be in a pocket.
Using a phone as a navigational device/GPS while riding is prohibited unless it is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the bicycle. All other functions (including video calls, texting and emailing) are prohibited.

The penalty is a fine of $476. Demerit points do not apply to bike riders, but do apply to drivers of motorised vehicles.

The rules

See the sections below to find out the rules around bicycles in Victoria. 

If you're caught breaking these rules, you could be fined or lose demerit points. See fines, penalties and fees and charges for more information. 

Read the newly released Bike Law (External link) - a bike rider's guide to road rules in Victoria


The key road rules and reference numbers regarding bicycles are:

  • 97 - Road access signs  
  • Part 15 – Additional rules for bicycle riders

Bicycle helmets

Cyclists and bicycle passengers need to wear a securely fitted and fastened helmet showing:

  • a mark of compliance with the Australian Standard, AS/NZS2063
  • the symbol of a JAS-ANZ(External link) (External link) accredited company (for helmets manufactured or imported after 1 July 2012)

You need to wear a helmet when you’re riding on:

  • roads
  • road-related areas
  • bike paths
  • bike lanes
  • shared and separated footpaths.

In special circumstances, you might be eligible for an exemption from wearing a bicycle helmet (External link)

See our Wearing a bicycle helmet (External link) page for more information about helmets.

Bicycle seats and handlebars

When riding a bicycle you must:
  • sit with a leg on each side of the rider's seat 
  • face forwards 
  • have at least one hand on the handlebars.
Bicycle passengers must sit on a seat designed for passengers.

Riding at night

If you are riding a bicycle at night you must have:
  • white light (flashing or steady) on the front 
  • red light (flashing or steady) on the back 
  • a red reflector on the back.
The lights must be visible from 200 metres and the reflector visible from 50 metres.

Tip: Make yourself as visible as possible to other road users. Wear bright and light-coloured clothing and something reflective or retro-reflective.
 
For more information look under 'Keeping visible' on the bike rider safety page

Be seen during daylight hours

Wearing bright or light coloured clothing and flashing lights during daylight hours can make you more easily seen by other road users. 
 

Riding with other riders

A cyclist can ride next to another cyclist (this is called ‘riding two abreast’) on the road with the following rules:

  • On single-lane roads, cyclists can’t ride beside more than one other cyclist (unless overtaking).
  • On multi-lane roads, cyclists:
    •  can’t ride more than two abreast in any single marked lane (unless overtaking)
    • can ride more than two abreast across multiple lanes.
  • When travelling two abreast, cyclists shouldn’t be more than 1.5 metres apart.
Tip for cyclists: when riding two abreast, consider other road users and if necessary, change to single file to help drivers overtake safely.
Tip for drivers: only overtake when it is safe and legal to do so. After overtaking, make sure you’re well clear of the cyclists before moving back.

Bicycle lanes

If there’s a bicycle lane on the road heading in the same direction as you, you must use this when riding a bike (unless it’s not practical to do so).

Bicycle lane rules for drivers

If you’re driving a car, you’re not allowed to drive in a bike lane unless:

  • you’re driving for 50 metres or less to:
    • enter or leave the road (e.g. to turn at an intersection)
    • overtake a vehicle that’s turning right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road
    • avoid an obstruction(e.g. a broken-down vehicle)
    • get from one part of the road to another
    • enter the traffic stream after being parked on the side of the road
    • pick up or drop off passengers (if you’re driving a public bus, public minibus or taxi)
  • there's a sign indicating that vehicles can use the lane. 

You must give way to cyclists already in the bicycle lane. 

Bike riders in bus lanes

From 1 July 2017 cyclists 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 and reflective strips, 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.

Riding on freeways

Bikes are allowed on the shoulders of some rural freeways, but they're not allowed on:

  • urban freeways
  • freeways or other roads with a sign showing that bicycles aren't allowed.  

Bicycle paths

You don't have to use an off-road bicycle path, separated footpaths or shared paths (if there is one) when riding a bike. You can choose to ride on the road instead if you wish. 

Riding on a footpath or shared path

You can ride on a footpath if you:

  • are a child under the age of 12 
  • are an adult supervising a child under the age of 12 
  • have been given and are following the conditions on a medical certificate that says you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to ride on the road. You need to follow the conditions on your medical certificate and show it to a police officer or authorised person when asked.

When riding on footpaths and shared paths, cyclists need to:

  • Keep to the left on footpaths and shared paths (unless impractical to do so)
  • give way to pedestrians

Bicycle trailers

To tow someone in a bicycle trailer, you need to:

  • be at least 16 years old  
  • make sure the trailer can safely carry your passenger 
  • make sure your passenger is wearing an approved, securely fitted and fastened helmet

Your passenger must be under 10 years old unless:

  • they have a medical certificate (signed by a medical practitioner) showing they have a disability or medical condition which makes it reasonable for them to ride in the trailer
  • you and your passenger comply with any conditions on the certificate
  • the certificate has an expiry date (if the medical condition or disability is temporary)
  • they carry the certificate and can show it to the police when asked. 

Bicycle boxes at intersections

A bicycle box is an area of road at an intersection with one or more bicycle symbols painted on the road between two stop lines. This area is reserved for cyclists to stop in when faced with a red light.
When stopping in a bicycle box, cyclists need to stop before the second line of the box. 

When turning at an intersection with a bicycle box in front of all traffic lanes, cyclists should:

  • turn left from the section of the bicycle box in front of the left lane
  • turn right from the section of the bicycle box in front of the right lane.

Bicycle box rules for drivers

When facing a red light, drivers must stop before the first stop line and not move into the bicycle box until the lights turn green.

Turning right using a hook turn at intersections

Bike riders can make a hook turn to turn right at any intersection (unless there are signs restricting this).

When performing a hook turn consider the following:

  • Avoid sitting in front of a dedicated left turn only lane when you cross to the far side of the intersection, make sure you are in front of a straight on lane. 
  • Avoid sitting in front of a truck when you cross to the far side of the intersection, as many large vehicles cannot see in front of them, particularly if they are high up and have large front bonnets.
  • Wear a brightly coloured top or reflective vest to make yourself seen.
  • Always use front and back lights at night and at times of low light.
Image showing bike rider using hok turn option (small)
In some locations, particularly in the Melbourne CBD, hook turns are obligatory for all vehicles, including bike riders.  These intersections carry special 'Right turn from left only' signs. Watch the following video to see how hook turns work in these locations.   
Using the same method, bike riders can choose to use a hook turn at any intersection, unless signed otherwise.

Signs and signals

Cyclists must follow all traffic control signs and signals including:

  • red lights
  • stop signs
  • give way signs.

What to do when a vehicle is turning left

Cyclists must not ride on the left side of a vehicle that is:

  • indicating to the left and turning left at an intersection

Tips for cyclists: if a car is indicating to turn left, ride in the traffic lane behind the turning vehicle. 

Brakes and bells

All bicycles must have at least one effective brake and a working bell (or similar warning device).

Car doors

Find road rule and safety information on our Car doors page.

 

Bicycle rack number plates

For rules about using bike racks and bike rack number plates, see our Bicycle rack number plates page.

Was this page helpful?


Take a moment to tell us why. If you'd like a response to your feedback, please message us instead.

 

Are you looking for...