Safety for Road Users
Bicycles are becoming an increasingly common sight on our roads. Whether it’s for leisure or commuting, cycling can boost fitness, is environmentally friendly, and is a great alternative to driving for short distances. What do you need to know to keep safe on the roads?
The law requires that cyclists:
- Wear an Australian Standards approved helmet. The approved bicycle helmet must be securely fitted
and fastened on the rider's head.
- Have at least one effective brake on their bicycle.
- Have a bell, horn, or similar warning device in working order.
- Only carry a passenger if the bicycle has provision for that passenger. The passenger must also wear a helmet.
- Keep as close as reasonably practicable to the left side of the road, except when about to make or making a right turn, when the road is divided into lanes, or when overtaking.
- May overtake both moving and stationary vehicles on the left, except when the vehicle is turning left and indicating a left change in direction.
- Give adequate indication of any change of direction using hand signals.
- Obey traffic signals, stop signs and give way signs.
- When riding on the road, must use bike lanes when in operation. You may move out of the bicycle lane to avoid debris, potholes or to safely overtake another bicycle.
- Not ride more than two abreast. In a bicycle lane, only ride two abreast if there’s room within the lane. On roads without bicycle lanes you can also ride two abreast but not more than 1.5m apart.
- Of all ages now may ride on the footpath.
- Give way to and alert pedestrians when approaching, keep left, and ride at a safe speed when riding on the footpath.
When riding at night or in bad weather conditions, must have:
- A flashing or steady white light at the front of the bicycle that is clearly visible at least 200m from the front of the bicycle;
- A flashing or steady red light at the rear of the bicycle that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle;
- A red reflector at the rear of the bicycle that is clearly visible for at least 50m from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight on low beam.
A lack of knowledge about road rules and responsibilities can sometimes create conflict between cyclists and motorists. It is possible to share the road safely if all parties show some courtesy and follow these simple rules.
What else can you do to stay safe when cycling?
- Make sure any lights attached to the bike are aimed towards the road so they don't dazzle oncoming motorists, especially LED units which can be very bright.
- Wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing whenever you ride.
- At night, wear reflective clothing and/or accessories (i.e. belt, arm or ankle bands).
- On narrow roads consider riding single file for safety and the convenience of others.
- Ensure your bicycle is well maintained. Make sure the seat, handle bars and chain are adjusted and set correctly. Check that the tyres are not worn and are correctly inflated as well.
- While motorists entering and leaving properties must give way to cyclists like they would pedestrians, it’s important to be aware of vehicles entering and exiting driveways when riding on the footpath in case they don’t give way.
- Where possible, make eye contact with drivers.
Sharing the road with cyclists
The law requires that motorists:
- Give cyclists a wide berth when overtaking; by law you must allow at least a metre when passing a cyclist on a 60km/h or slower road, and one and a half metres when overtaking a cyclist on a road over 60km/h.
- Can legally cross over a single or double solid white line or painted median in order to pass a cyclist or cyclists, provided you have a clear view of the road ahead, there is no oncoming traffic, and you leave the minimum overtaking clearance distance for the speed of the road you are driving on.
- Do not stop or park in bicycle lanes when they are in operation. They are for the exclusive use of cyclists. Bicycle lanes are operational at all times, unless otherwise stated on a sign.
- Give way to cyclists and pedestrians when entering and exiting driveways – be aware that cyclists could be riding on the footpath.
- Give way to cyclists riding in bike lanes when turning left to enter or leave a road. In a situation where there is no bike lane, the cyclist must give way to a vehicle indicating to turn left that has already commenced its turn.
- Are allowed to use a bicycle lane in certain conditions such as entering or leaving roads, or to avoid a vehicle turning right or making a U-turn. Motorists cannot travel in the bicycle lane for more than 50m.
- At intersections where there are areas for cyclists called bike boxes, designed for cyclists to wait for the signals to change, motorists must not stop their vehicle in this area and must allow cyclists to move off first.
- When parked, always check for cyclists (and other vehicles) before opening the door. Also ensure that passengers do the same, particularly where there are marked bicycle lanes.
- Ensure that when attaching a bicycle rack to a motor vehicle, the rack and any bicycle on the rack does not obscure the rear number-plate of the vehicle. We recommend attaching an approved number-plate to the rack to ensure the registration number is visible when bikes are being carried.
The South Australian Road Traffic Act and The Road Traffic Regulations (including the Australian Road rules) define the rules and responsibilities for all road users. This legislation can be accessed from www.legislation.sa.gov.au.
Motoring & Road Safety