A major part of being a responsible cyclist is making sure you’re aware of the road rules and how they impact you. Not only will this prevent you from getting fines, but it will also help you to avoid accidents and other mishaps. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been riding all your life or have just started – it’s always a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of the rules. Here are the road rules that every Melbourne cyclist must be aware of.

 

What am I riding?

This might seem like a silly question to ask, but it’s always good to know what the legal definition of a bike is. Any item that has two or more wheels and is moved by a human using a belt, gear or chains is classified as a bike. This includes electric bikes but excludes wheelchairs and scooters.

 

Where can you ride?

At what point should you move from the footpath to the road? The law states that any child under 12, or an adult supervising a child under 12, CAN ride on the footpath, but anyone older than this MUST ride in the designated bike lanes on the road. If the bike path is shared with foot traffic, cyclists must also give way to pedestrians. Do you ride with other cyclists? If so, it’s important to note that you can’t ride next to each other on single lane roads, and it’s advised that you ride two-abreast on multi-lane roads, to prompt cars to change lanes when overtaking.

 

Texting and riding

The laws governing texting and driving are strict, and bicycles are no different. You can use your mobile phone to take or make a voice call, as a navigation device or to listen to music, provided the phone is attached to the bike and doesn’t require touch to be operated. The temptation to use one’s phone can be great, so we recommend getting a specially designed GPS device so that you keep your concentration on the road.

 

Helmet laws

By law you must wear a helmet while riding a bike. It must be an Australian Safety Standard helmet as should you be in an accident, if it is not to this standard, you won't be able to make any claims, insurance or otherwise. So ensure it is to Australian Safety Standard first, and a good rule of thumb is, you should change your helmet every five years even if it hasn't been in an accident. If you need any assistance with this, please don't hesitate to ask your local bike store.

 

Visibility

When riding at night, you need to ensure you have a flashing or steady white or red light on the front and back, in addition to your reflectors. The lights should be visible from 200 metres and the reflector 50 metres. Although the law doesn’t require it, it’s recommended that you also wear reflective clothing for your own safety – whether you’re riding during the day or the night.

 

These are the basics that need to be adhered to when you’re riding a bike in Melbourne. Make sure you’re familiar with them, as this knowledge could save you a hefty fine and help you avoid any unnecessary accidents.

 

If you’re after some more information about Melbourne’s road rules for cyclists or want to get an accessory to help you adhere to them, get in touch with us today!