Last updated 5 September 2016 This chapter is currently under review.
The Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009 (Qld) (Road Rules Regulation) apply to bicycles. Bicycles are included as vehicles within those Regulations. Accordingly, individuals riding bicycles must obey all of the general road rules. The general road rules that always apply include that cyclists must:
- give way to the right at unsigned cross intersections
- abide by traffic signs, lights and road markings
- obey the speed limit
- stop at a stop sign (i.e. all wheels of the vehicle must come to a complete halt)
- obey the No U-turn sign at traffic lights.
The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads has a number of resources about Queensland road rules.
Riding and equipment
Part 15 of the Road Rules Regulation set out a number of rules that are specific to cyclists:
- The rider of a bicycle must sit astride the rider’s seat facing forwards (except if the bicycle is not built to be ridden astride), ride with at least one hand on the handlebars and, if the bicycle is equipped with a seat, not ride the bicycle seated in any other position on the bicycle (reg 245).
- A rider of a bicycle may only carry another person if the bicycle is designed to carry more than one person, has a passenger seat and each person is wearing a helmet (reg 246).
- The cyclist riding on a length of road with a bicycle lane designed for bicycles travelling in the same direction must ride in the bicycle lane unless it is impracticable to do so.
- A person must not ride a bike unless it has at least one effective brake and a bell, horn or similar warning device in working order (reg 258).
- A person must not ride a bicycle that is being towed by another vehicle or hold on to another moving vehicle while riding a bicycle (reg 254).
If you do not comply with the rules it will be considered an offence.
When riding at night or in hazardous weather conditions with reduced visibility, a bike rider must display on their bicycle or their person:
- a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle
- a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle
- a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when a vehicle’s headlights on low beam shine on it (reg 259).
A bike rider must give hand signals when turning right. To give a hand signal for changing direction to the right, a bike rider must extend their right arm and hand horizontally and at right angles from the right side of the bicycle with their hand open and their palm facing the direction of travel (regs 48–50 Road Rules Regulation).
All road users must avoid becoming a hazard and cyclists must do this by not riding into the path of a driver or pedestrian (reg 253).
A cyclist must not ride within two metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres (reg 255).
An individual riding a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened (reg 256 Road Rules Regulation). Any passenger on a bicycle that is moving or stationary must also wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened, unless that passenger is a paying passenger on a three or four-wheel bicycle. The term ‘approved bicycle helmet’ is defined in sch 5 of the Road Rules Regulation to mean a helmet that complies with Australian Standard 2063.1 and 2063.2 or another standard the chief executive considers at least equal to that standard.
A person is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet if the person is carrying a current doctor’s certificate stating that, for a stated period, the person cannot wear a bicycle helmet for medical reasons or because of a physical characteristic of the person, and it would be unreasonable to require the person to wear a bicycle helmet (reg 256(4)).
A person is also exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet if the person is practising a religion that requires a headdress to be worn, and it therefore makes it impractical for the person to wear a bicycle helmet (reg 256(5)).
Trailers and loads
Regulation 257 of the Road Rules Regulation provides that a bike rider may tow a child in a bicycle trailer if:
- the rider is 16 years or older
- the child in or on the bicycle trailer is less than 10 years old
- the bicycle trailer can safely carry the child
- the child in or on the bicycle trailer is wearing an approved bicycle helmet that is securely fitted or fastened.
If the person is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet then the appropriate current doctor’s certificate should be carried. The maximum penalty for breaching the requirements of this provision is $2356.
The road rules regarding insecure and overhanging loads apply to bicycles. A cyclist must not ride or tow a bicycle if it is carrying a load that is not properly secured to the vehicle, is placed on the vehicle in a way that it causes the vehicle to be unstable or projects from the vehicle in a way that is likely to injure a person, obstruct the path, other drivers or pedestrians, or damage a vehicle or anything else including the road surface. The maximum penalty for non-compliance with this Regulation is $2356.
Lanes, paths and crossings
The Road Rules Regulation also deal with the rules regarding bicycle lanes on roads, footpaths and crossings. As a cyclist you:
- should use a bike lane where provided unless it is impracticable to use it and never ride in a bicycle lane on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic (regs 153–156)
- may ride on or across the road shoulder but you must give way to vehicles on the roadway when moving back onto the road across the continuous white line (reg 150)
- are not permitted to ride across a road on a pedestrian crossing, children’s crossing or marked foot crossing. This would include a pedestrian crossing situated at traffic lights. Instead you must dismount from your bicycle and walk across a pedestrian crossing, children’s crossing or marked foot crossing unless there is a bicycle light showing a green bicycle crossing light (reg 248)
- can only ride on the side of a separated path that is designated for cyclists where a path is separated for pedestrians and cyclists (reg 249)
- must keep left and give way to pedestrians on footpaths and shared-use paths (reg 250)
- must always ride your bicycle to the left of other riders (reg 251)
- cannot ride on a road or footpath where signs or road markings specifically ban bicycles (reg 252)
- can ride on footpaths, at any age, unless prohibited by a ‘no bicycles’ sign.
All of the above rules are penalty provisions and attract a penalty of 20 penalty units if they are not complied with.
Keeping left and overtaking
Riders must ride as near as is safely possible to the far left side of the road. On a multi-lane road (i.e. a road with two or more lines of traffic travelling in the same direction), a rider can occupy a lane and travel in the right hand lane when necessary. Cyclists must stay to the left of any oncoming vehicle and not overtake another vehicle on the left if that vehicle is turning left and giving a left change of direction signal. Cyclists are not permitted to ride more than two abreast unless overtaking and must ride within 1.5 metres of the other rider if riding two abreast (regs 129, 131, 141, 151 Road Rules Regulation).
Bicycle storage areas
At traffic light intersections, the area that allows cyclists to wait in front of vehicles stopped at the intersection is called the bicycle storage area. It is usually painted green with a white bicycle symbol. The following special rules apply to this area:
- Cyclists must enter a bicycle storage area from a bicycle lane (unless it is impractical to ride in the bicycle lane).
- They must give way to any vehicle that is already in the bicycle storage area.
- Cyclists must give way to any vehicle entering the area where there is a green or yellow light in front of the bicycle storage area (reg 247B Road Rules Regulations).