Recent changes to road rules

This page outlines the key road rules changes that have been made in the last few years.

The Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017 are based on the model Australian Road Rules. The following outlines the changes.

Road Safety Road Rules changes - 26 June 2018 

This group of changes are minor in nature and largely provide clarification or alignment to existing practice.

Amended rules

Road Rule 45 - What is changing direction
The rule was amended to clarify that a driver moving to the left or right to a stationary position must use a change of direction signal.  

Road Rules 65, 72, and 73 - Giving way at marked foot crossings, intersections and pedestrian crossings
The rule requires drivers to give way to pedestrians entering marked foot crossings, slip lanes at intersections and pedestrian crossings. These rules currently only require drivers to give way to pedestrians on these areas.

Road Rule 115 - Driving in a roundabout to the left of the central traffic island
The rule was amended to allow large vehicles (that is, buses and vehicles of more than 15 tonnes) to drive over central traffic islands in roundabouts to the right of the centre in certain circumstances as long as it is safe and practicable to perform.

Road Rule 155A - Introduction of new Tram ONLY signs
Standards Australia has developed new Tram ONLY (tramway) signs so that the word ONLY is white on a red patch. Existing signs will continue to remain in force.

Sign showing a black tram on a sign with the word ONLY on a red background and white lettering.
Road Rule 270 - Wearing motor bike helmets
The rule has been amended so that the relevant helmet standards are specified and allowance is made for some wear and tear as long as the helmet inherently complies with the relevant helmet standard.

The prescribed standards for approved motorbike helmets are Australian standards AS1698 or AS/NZS1698 and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) 22.05.

Road Safety Road Rules key changes - 1 July 2017 

New rule

Road Rule 79A - Approaching and passing stationary or slow - moving police vehicles, emergency vehicles, enforcement vehicles and escort vehicles.
A 40km/h speed limit applies when passing a stationary police vehicle, emergency vehicle, enforcement vehicle and escort vehicle with flashing lights or sounding an alarm.

See the Law enforcement & emergency vehicles page.

Amended rules

Road Rule 62 - Giving way when turning at an intersection with lights
The rule was amended to make it clear that turning motorists must give way to cyclists crossing at a green bicycle crossing light.

The amendments are:

Road rule 70 - Giving way at a give way sign at a bridge or length of narrow road

To make it clear that a driver at a give way sign must give way to any oncoming vehicle already on or approaching a bridge or narrow length of road.

Road rule 127 - Keeping a minimum distance between long vehicles

The minimum following distance for road trains and long vehicles (not on a multi-lane road, in a built-up area, or when overtaking) is:
  • 200 metres for a road train behind a long vehicle
  • 60 metres for a long vehicle (other than a road train) behind another long vehicle. 

Road rule 128A - Entering blocked crossings

To make it clear that this rule applies despite anything to the contrary in rule 171 “Stopping on or near a children’s crossing” or rule 172 “Stopping on or near a pedestrian crossing (except at an intersection)”. The amendment also makes it clear that the changes made to rule 128A are not intended to permit a driver to park a vehicle contrary to rule 171 or rule 172.

Road rule 134 - Exemptions to keeping to the left of a dividing line

To clarify that a driver may cross a dividing line to park in angle parking on the opposite side of the road; and to allow road users to cross two parallel broken dividing lines. 
Road rule 138 - Keeping off a painted island

To make it consistent with rule 134, making it possible for drivers to turn across a painted island to enter a part of the road of one kind from a part of the road of another kind; or, to access angle parking on the opposite side of the road.

Road rule 147 - Moving from one marked lane to another marked lane across a continuous line separating the lanes

To allow drivers to cross a continuous line to drive in the lane if the special purpose which led to the line being created (e.g. part-time tram lane) is not operative at the time. 
Road rule 153(4) - Bicycle lanes.

To clarify that road markings, and not only signs, can be used to commence or end a bicycle lane (the marking comprising a white painted bicycle symbol and the word “lane”, and including the word “end” as appropriate). 

Road rule 163 – Driving past the rear of a stopped tram at a tram stop 

When there isn't a safety zone and the tram doors on your side of the road are open, you must stop at the rear of the tram until the doors close and the road is free of pedestrians. Once the tram's doors are closed and all pedestrians have left the road, you can pass the tram. You are not allowed to drive faster than 10 km/h when passing a stopped tram which has its doors closed.

Road rule 179 - Stopping in a loading zone

To clarify the types of vehicles that are allowed to stop in a loading zone.

Road rule 187 - Stopping in a bus lane, tram lane, tramway, transit lane, truck lane or on tram tracks

To change ‘bus lane’ to ‘Bus lane’ and to remove a reference to ‘bicycle lanes’.

Road rule 197 - Stopping on a path, dividing strip, nature strip, or painted island

To make it clear  that drivers are prohibited from stopping (parking) on traffic islands (excluding bicycles). 

Road rule 221 - Using hazard warning lights

To substitute a correct reference to the Bus Safety Regulations 2010.

Road rule 222 - Using warning lights on buses carrying children

To substitute a correct reference to the Bus Safety Regulations 2010.

Road rule 227 - Using portable warning triangles

To insert a note at the foot of rule 227(3), “See rule 220 for the requirement to operate certain lights on vehicles that are stopped”.

Road rule 238 - Pedestrian travelling along a road (except in or on a wheeled recreational device or toy)

To clarify that this rule does not apply to a shared zone. 

Road rule 250 - Riding on a footpath or shared path

To allow a postal worker to ride a bicycle on a footpath or shared path in the course of his or her duties as a postal worker. 

To allow 12 years old or older to ride on a footpath if they have a medical certificate stating they have a medical condition or disability that makes it impractical for the rider to ride on the road. 

Road rule 260 - Stopping for a red bicycle crossing light

To clarify the operation of the bicycle crossing light rules and to ensure consistency throughout the Rules. 

Road rule 261 - Stopping for a yellow bicycle crossing light

To clarify the operation of the bicycle crossing light rules and to ensure consistency throughout the Rules. 

Road rule 265 - Wearing of seatbelts by passengers 16 years old, or older

To insert a new rule allowing passengers under 1 year old to sit on the lap of another passenger when travelling in a public minibus, taxi or tow truck where no appropriate child restraint is available for use and removes responsibility from the driver of a correctional, juvenile justice or sheriff’s vehicle for a passenger who does not wear a seatbelt. 

Road rule 266 - Wearing seatbelts by passengers under 16 years old

To prohibit the use of a booster seat with a lap belt only, and to clarify that when a booster seat is used it must be used with either a lap and sash type of approved seatbelt or an approved child safety harness. 

Road rule 267 - Exemptions from wearing seatbelts

To remove the exemption for children under the age of 7 years old from wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle which is travelling at 25km/h or less where the passengers are undertaking frequent pick up or delivery. 

Roads rule 268 - How persons must travel in or on a motor vehicle

Increases the categories under which a person or persons may be exempted from this rule by substituting ‘exempted the person, or a class of persons of which the person concerned is a member’ for ‘exempted the person’.

Road rule 270 - Wearing motor bike helmets

A motor bike helmet is not required to be worn when the engine of the bike is off, and the bike is being pushed and the circumstances are considered safe.

Road rule 271- Riding on motorbikes and motor cycles

To allow a rider to remove his or her feet from the footrest to manoeuvre the vehicle, such as where he or she is reversing the bike into a parking space, or when the motor bike (at low speed <10km/h) is decelerating to come to a rest, or accelerating from a rest. The rule further allows a rider to remove both hands off the handlebars when the bike is stationary but not parked. 

Road rule 288 - Driving on a path

Particularly the postal vehicle exemption, to ensure consistency in the application of exemptions for postal vehicles by creating uniformity; and to make it clear that where the postal vehicle comprises a motorcycle (with or without a trailer), the postal worker rider is exempt from the rules against riding on a path or nature strip where the postal worker rider complies with the specified conditions. 

Road rule 289 - Driving on a nature strip

Particularly the postal vehicle exemption, to ensure consistency in the application of exemptions for postal vehicles by creating uniformity; and to make it clear that where the postal vehicle comprises a motorcycle (with or without a trailer), the postal worker rider is exempt from the rules against riding on a path or nature strip where the postal worker rider complies with the specified conditions. 

Road rule 299(2) - Television receivers and visual display units in motor vehicles

To clarify that a person may use a driver’s aid function on a mobile phone, such as a navigational device, provided that the existing requirements are met and the driver does not touch the phone to use the driver’s aid on the mobile phone while driving. 

Road rule 300 - Use of mobile phones

To clarify that a driver may use driver aid functions, such a GPS application, on a mobile phone where the existing use requirements are met and the driver does not touch the phone while driving..

Learner, P1 or P2 drivers are not allowed to use a mobile phone at all while driving. This includes hands-free and hand-held phone calls, and messaging of any kind. Penalties for all drivers caught illegally using a mobile phone while driving were increased.

From 1 October 2014, motorcyclists who have less than three years experience also banned from using phones for any purpose (hands-free, hand-held or for navigation).

Road rule 313 - Exemption for postal vehicles

To ensure consistency in the application of exemptions for postal vehicles by creating uniformity; and to make it clear that where the postal vehicle comprises a motorcycle (with or without a trailer), the postal worker rider is exempt from the rules against riding on a path or nature strip where the postal worker rider complies with the specified conditions. 

Road rule 316 - When do traffic control devices comply substantially with these Rules

To insert two examples: (a) A children's crossing may have a red and white post missing temporarily. The missing post does not prevent the crossing from meeting the description of such a crossing that is set out in rule 80(6). (b) A freeway may have several freeway signs missing. The missing signs do not prevent the area from still being considered to be a freeway.

Terminology in the ‘Dictionary’ at the end of the Road Safety Road Rules 2009 has also been amended so that: 

(a)  A new definition of ‘secure services vehicle’ is inserted that means any vehicle used to transport a child or youth to or from a secure welfare service, youth justice centre or youth residential centre as defined in the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.

(b)  the definition of ‘postal worker’ is amended to provide a uniform definition to include both employees and contractors of Australia Post engaged in the delivery of parcel and/or letter mail.
 
(c)  a new definition of ‘public minibus’ has been inserted and means a motor vehicle operated as a commercial minibus service within the meaning of the Bus Safety Act 2009 providing a regular passenger service under a service contract.

(d)  the definition of ‘slip lane’ is amended to include “but not a median strip”. 

(e)  the definition of ‘turning lane’ is amended to include lanes for U-turns, allowing drivers to cross a single lane around a painted island to enter a turning lane, including a left, right or U-turn turning lane.

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