Bicycle rider safety - get the facts
Bicycle riders have less protection than motorists and are more likely to be injured if there is a crash.
Whether you’re a motorist, a bicycle rider, or both, we all need to share the road safely.
Bicycle riders are legitimate road users and have the right to be treated with courtesy and care by others. Similarly, bicycle riders must obey the general road rules as well as the rules for cyclists.
Simple advice for bicycle riders
- Ride the right bike for your size and ability.
- The law requires bicycle riders to wear an approved helmet that complies with Australian standards AS 2063 or AS/NZS 2063 – make sure it is fitted to your head size.
- Remain visible – consider a hi‐visiblilty vest.
- If you ride at night or in weather conditions that make it difficult to see, you must display (either on the bicycle or on yourself):
- a white light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the front of the bicycle
- a red light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the back of the bicycle
- a red reflector that can be clearly seen at least 50m from behind the bicycle, when a vehicle’s headlights shine on it
- Be patient, courteous and consider other road users.
- Ride consistently and remember to use clear hand signals. Your hand should be open, with your palm facing forward.
- Use a footpath if you are not confident on road– it is legal in Queensland unless there is a ‘no bicycle’ sign.
- While riding on the footpath, riders must keep left and give way to pedestrians and to other bikes coming toward them.
- When riding two abreast, bicycle riders cannot be more than 1.5m apart.
- You can only ride with more than two riders side by side when overtaking.
- When riding on a multi‐lane road, a bicycle rider can use any part of the lane space. On other roads, ride as near as practicable to the far left side of the road.
- Obey the road rules.
Simple advice for motorists
- Actively look out for bicycle riders.
- Leave a safe distance when passing bicycle riders.
- Check your surroundings, blind spots, and indicate before changing lanes, turning or when opening your car door.
- Give way when required—treat bicycle riders like any other vehicle.
- Obey the road rules.
- Be considerate, dip your headlights when approaching a bicycle rider at night.
- Be patient—wait until it’s safe to pass a rider.
- Be extra careful around riders in wet weather—the road can become oily or slippery and reduce visibility.
- Indicate right long enough to warn other road users you’re about to change direction to pass a bicycle rider. Indicate left when you have passed the bicycle rider, and are moving back to your original position on the road. This applies whenever you change direction to pass a bicycle rider, not only when you have to cross centre or lane lines.
Laws for motorists passing bicycle riders
Bicycle riders are some of our most vulnerable road users. That’s why rules about staying wider of the rider are here to stay. Whether you’re on two wheels, four or more, check out the facts and tips below.
When the speed limit is 60km/h or under, motorists must leave a gap of at least 1m between their vehicle and bicycle riders when passing. When the speed limit is over 60km/h, the gap must be at least 1.5m.
Motorists passing bicycle riders are allowed to cross double lines or painted traffic islands, but only when it is safe.
If a bicycle rider passes a car, bus or heavy vehicle with less than the minimum distance, the driver has not committed an offence. Similarly, if a driver has stopped at traffic lights or in a line of traffic, and a bicycle rider stops within the minimum passing distance, the driver has not committed an offence.
The minimum passing distance applies to motorists passing a bicycle rider, not bicycle riders passing motorists. This is because of the greater risk faced by bicycle riders when drivers pass them too closely. Bicycle riders do not pose the same risk to motorists. However, bicycle riders are also expected to keep a safe distance when passing other traffic.
For more information about bicycle safety, please visit:
Road safety information: www.streetsmarts.initiatives.qld.gov.au/bicycle-riders
Bicycle information: www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Travel-and-transport/Cycling.aspx
Fines and demerit points: www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/demerit/cycling/
To engage with others about bicycle riding, please visit: