Road rules for bicycle riders

Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as other road users in NSW. There are also rules that only apply for bicycle riders.

Special rules for bicycle riders

  • You may perform hook turns at intersections unless prohibited by a sign posting.
  • You do not need to give a left or stop signal, or signal when making a hook turn.
  • You may ride 2 abreast but not more than 1.5 metres apart.
  • You may overtake two other bicycle riders who are riding side-by-side.
  • You may travel in a Bus Lane, Tram Lane, Transit Lane or Truck Lane but not in a Bus Only Lane.
  • You may ride to the left of a continuous white edge line.
  • You may overtake on the left of stopped and slow moving vehicles.

Responsibilities for bicycle riders

Bicycle riders have a number of responsibilities when riding on and off the road.

These responsibilities include:

  • Bicycle riders must sit astride of the rider's seat facing forward, with at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Bicycle riders must not ride a bicycle that does not have at least one working brake and a fully functioning bell, horn, or similar warning device.
  • Bicycle riders must use the storage boxes when provided.
  • Bicycle riders must not ride a bicycle at night or in hazardous weather conditions unless the bike displays a flashing or steady white light from the front, and a flashing or steady red light from the rear. The bike also requires a red reflector which is visible from the rear.
  • When in the left lane of a multi-lane roundabout and wanting to turn right, bicycle riders must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
  • Bicycle riders must not carry more people on a bike than it is designed for.
  • Where there is a marked bicycle lane in their direction, bicycle riders must use the lane - unless it is impracticable to do so.
  • Bicycle riders must not ride on a crossing unless there is a green bicycle light.
  • Bicycle riders must not be towed by or hold onto another moving vehicle.
  • Bicycle riders must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider's head.
  • Bicycle riders must not carry a passenger who is not wearing a securely fitted and fastened helmet.
  • Bicycle riders must keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider or pedestrian on a footpath, shared path or separated path.

Riding in traffic

Bicycle riders must use a bicycle lane where one is available. If there is no bicycle lane, ride to the left of the road but avoid grates, debris and parked cars.

Bicycle lane sign
Road sign indicating there’s a bicycle lane

When riding in traffic you must stop:

  • at red lights
  • at stop signs
  • at give way signs if there is traffic travelling on the crossroad
  • at a railway crossing when:
    • there is a stop sign
    • the crossing lights are flashing
    • the boom gate is down
    • a railway employee signals traffic to stop
    • a train is coming
  • when entering a roadway, it is advisable, especially from driveways.

Hand signals

Hand signals help to tell other road users what you are doing and where you are going.

You are required by law to give a hand signal when turning right or merging to the right lane.

When signalling, do so about 30 metres before you turn or change lanes or lane position.

Giving a hand signal does not guarantee your safety. Assess the actions of other road users around you to make sure it is safe before turning or changing lanes.

Riding on a pedestrian crossing

You can only ride your bicycle across a crossing where bicycle crossing lights are installed.

At a red bicycle crossing light:

  • You must stop before the crossing and only proceed if the bicycle crossing light changes to green or is not showing red.

At a green bicycle crossing light:

  • You may proceed through the crossing area, exercising caution if there are also pedestrians. In addition to bicycle crossing signals, you must obey any traffic signals or signs, as would other road users.

If there is no bicycle crossing light, you must dismount and walk across the crossing.

Bicycle and pedestrian crossing lights
Traffic lights showing green bicycle crossing light

Bus lanes and bus only lanes

Bicycle riders can use bus lanes. However you should be cautious of other vehicles using the lane, particularly when approaching intersections, as all vehicles can travel in a bus lane if they intend to turn left.

Bicycle riders are not permitted to use a lane when the words 'Buses Only' appear on a bus lane sign or lane markings.

Buses only lane sign
'Buses only lane' road sign

'B' lantern

There are traffic lights with 'B' lanterns installed on bus only lanes to provide priority for buses.

When you come to a set of traffic lights with a 'B' lantern, you are not allowed to go on a green bus traffic signal. Instead, follow the main traffic signals displaying a red, amber or green light.


You should always adjust your speed to your environment. For example, sharing a path, you should ride at a speed that doesn't endanger yourself or those around you. Ride according to the path environment, your experience and skill level.

There are some shared paths with enforceable speed limits.

School zones and school buses

School zones are signposted and operate outside schools in the morning (8am through to 9.30am) and in the afternoon (2.30pm through to 4pm) during school term time.

There are also a small number of school zones that have different operating hours to suit the individual school.

As a road user, you are required to give way to children crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing. You should also follow the direction of a pedestrian crossing supervisor using the handheld stop/slow sign. Be wary of car doors opening and other potential hazards like children running across the road.

Buses can pose a hazard to bicycle riders. Buses may pull out at any time in front of you, so allow yourself plenty of clearance and move quickly.

You must give way to a bus that is attempting to merge into traffic in accordance with the law.

Shared paths and footpaths

Shared paths are paths designed for pedestrian and bicycle use. Shared paths are signposted and marked so you can tell if you are meant to share the path with pedestrians.

Bicycle and pedestrian shared path sign
Shared bicycle and pedestrian path sign

When riding on a shared path, keep to the left at all times unless it is impractical to do so, and give way to pedestrians.

You should also adjust your speed to suit the environment.

Use your bell or horn to signal your presence to other users of the shared path, especially when approaching pedestrians and other riders. As a bicycle rider, you must overtake on the right hand side.

Be particularly careful around young children, older pedestrians and animals.

Riding on a footpath

Generally, bicycle riders must not ride on a footpath. However, children under the age of 16 years can ride on the footpath unless there is a NO BICYCLES sign.

Bicycle riders aged 16 years or older must not ride on a footpath unless:

  1. The rider is an adult accompanying and supervising a child who is under 16 years old.
  2. The rider is aged 16-17 years, and is cycling under the supervision of an adult accompanying a child under 16 years old.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

A cyclist must not ride a bicycle on any part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge other than the cycleway.

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