How well do you know your road rules?
Ok, so this article relates directly to Tasmanian road law but it will be similar anywhere in Australia and likely in most countries where bikes and cars share the road.
When cycling you are bound by the same rules as driving a car except there are some exceptions. We've listed a few rules that may be of interest.
- Cyclists riding through multi-lane roundabouts who travel on the far left line of traffic must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout. Cyclists are allowed to turn right from the left-hand lane, but remember when passing each exit cyclists must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout. Beware-learn and understand this rule, it is different than in Europe
- On unmarked intersections cyclists must give way to the right. (at all intersections be ready to stop, some cars don’t understand the rules)
- Cyclists can make a ‘hook turn’ at all intersections when safe unless signage prohibits it. (a hook turn is a road cycling manoeuvre in which the cyclist turns right from the farthest left lane, across all other lanes of traffic)
- The rider of a bicycle must not ride past, or overtake to the left of a vehicle that is turning left and is giving a left hand change of direction signal. (different than Europe)
- The rider of a bicycle riding on a road with a bicycle lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction as the rider must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.
- It is legal for cyclists to ride on all footpaths in Tasmania unless signage prohibits cycling.
- The rider of a bicycle riding on a footpath or shared path must keep to the left of the path unless it is impracticable to do so and give way to all pedestrians and other animals.
- A bike rider must have at least one hand on the handlebar
- The rider of a bicycle must not carry more persons on the bicycle than the bicycle is designed to carry eg: no double dinking.
- The rider of a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head, and any passengers (eg: child in child seat) must also wear an approved helmet.
- The rider of a bicycle must not tow a bicycle trailer with a person in or on the bicycle trailer, unless the rider is 16 years old, or older; and the person in or on the bicycle trailer is under 10 years old, the bicycle trailer can safely carry the person; and the person in or on the bicycle trailer is wearing an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the person’s head.
- The bike must have at least one effective brake and a warning device such as bell or horn
- In poor light conditions or at night the bicycle must have a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle; and a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle; and a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight on low-beam.
- It is legal to ride two abreast on Tasmanian roads. When riding two abreast riders should not be more than 1.5m apart. This rule also applies on bike paths, shared paths and shoulder of the road.
- Power Assisted Cycles- a pedal cycle with an auxiliary motor with a power output of not more than 250 watts does not require to be registered and may be used on public streets and on road related areas. The rider does not need to hold a current drivers license but must wear an approved bicycle helmet and obey all Road Rules.
- Cyclists must stop at all red lights and stop signs, give way as indicated by road signs and give hand signals when changing direction. Under the Australian Road Rules a bicycle is considered a vehicle and must obey the same road rules as other vehicles.
- Bicycles can use bus lanes