Bicyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as drivers and motorcyclists.
Bicycles are smaller and can be more difficult to see than other vehicles, especially at night, dusk or dawn.
Cyclists share the road with you. Take care and allow them plenty of room when overtaking. A minimum of 1m overtaking clearance is recommended between 50 and 70km/h, and a minimum of 2m clearance at speeds over 70 km/h.
Take extra care around young riders (they are particularly unpredictable).
Cyclists are vulnerable road users that need special concern. Do not to underestimate the speed of cyclists (they can reach 55km/h), especially when they are approaching an intersection or you are turning across their path. Underestimating a cyclist’s speed is one of the most common causes of crashes between vehicles and cyclists.
Check behind you for bicycles before you leave your vehicle. Crashes caused by a door opening in front of cyclists may leave you legally liable and can cause severe injuries.
If you intend to turn left and a cyclist is in front of you, slow down and let them turn left or go through the intersection ahead of you. Do not cut across in front of a cyclist.
When driving at night, remember that high beam lights can dazzle people cycling and walking. Dip your lights when approaching or overtaking a cyclist at night.
Do not sound your horn at a cyclist except for safety reasons. It can startle the rider and cause them to swerve and possibly cause a collision. If a cyclist decides to ride on the road when there is a shared path available, give them enough clearance.
Cyclists and the law
Cyclists must obey the same rules and regulations as drivers of vehicles. These include traffic control lights, ‘STOP’ and ‘GIVE WAY’ signs, signals, and keeping to the left.
The rules and regulations that apply to cyclists only, include:
- riders and any passengers must wear a correctly-fastened approved helmet
- do not ride a bicycle on any portion of a freeway or on a highway that has signs banning cycling (e.g. sections of the Roe and Tonkin Highways)
- do not ride on footpaths unless under 12 years of age
- keep to the left on shared paths and do not ride abreast unless overtaking
- on a shared path, give way to pedestrians
- another vehicle or bicycle must not tow your bicycle
- you must ride astride a permanent and regular seat and have at least one hand on the handlebars
- don’t carry more people than the number the bicycle is designed to carry
If a traffic control signal does not change after waiting for several minutes on a bike, use the pedestrian button to register your presence. This will cause the signals to change.
When riding at night, your bicycle must have:
- a white front light (visible up to 200m ahead)
- an unobstructed red light at the rear (visible up to 200m to the rear)
- a red reflector visible for 50m from the rear when lit up by a vehicle’s headlights
Your bicycle must not have:
- a red light shining to the front
- any light except red shining to the rear
Wear a helmet
It is compulsory to wear an Australian Standards approved helmet.
Many road injuries and deaths suffered by cyclists are due to head injuries. A correctly fitted, approved helmet will reduce your chances of death or serious injury, in a crash.
Any child-carrying seat on a bicycle must be securely attached to the frame, without sharp edges. It must have guards to prevent fingers and toes being trapped in moving parts. When a child is carried in a child-carrying seat, the rider must be at least 16.
For your own enjoyment and safety, also follow these important points:
- make sure your bicycle is correctly equipped.
- a shared path is for use by cyclists and pedestrians (designated by signs). While cyclists are not legally required to use them, they can be safer than roads. Cyclists must keep left and give way to pedestrians on shared paths.
- when riding at night, wear light coloured clothing. During daylight hours, vivid coloured clothing and/or helmet can help to attract motorists’ attention.
- ride your bicycle in a predictable manner (don’t change direction without looking behind and to each side). Use hand signals to indicate your intention to others.
- avoid cycling on roads that carry large volumes of high-speed vehicles unless an appropriate cycle lane or sealed shoulder has been provided.
Equipment for your bicycle
Your bicycle must have the equipment shown:
Continue reading the Drive Safe: A Handbook for WA Road Users Summary:
6. Cycle Safe
Check out the other resources available to help you pass the Learner's Test WA and get your learner permit (L plates):