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Sharing the road with bicycle riders

Look out for cyclists, who share the road with other NSW road users. As a driver, know how to help keep them safe.

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Keep a lookout for bicycles

Bicycle riders have a right to use the road and have the same responsibilities as other road users.

They generally follow the same road rules as drivers. They have additional rules they must follow, such as wearing an approved bicycle helmet.

See the Bicycle Rider Handbook (PDF, 2.75 MB) for rules and safety advice for bicycle riders.

Bicycles can be harder to see than other vehicles. Watch out for them at all times, especially at dawn, dusk and night.

Bicycle riders often ride in the far left of the left lane. As a driver, it’s your responsibility to check your surroundings. Take extra care and check your blind spots for bicycles when changing lanes or turning left.

Be aware that bicycle riders can:

  • overtake on the left of vehicles
  • ride to the left of the line that marks the edge of the road
  • ride in bus lanes, tram lanes, transit lanes and truck lanes (but not in bus-only lanes or tramways)
  • ride on motorways and freeways, unless a sign says they must not.

Sometimes bicycle riders can ride as fast as, or faster than a car, particularly in slow traffic. Never underestimate their speed.

Allow riders a full lane

Bicycle riders must use bicycle lanes (part of the road dedicated to bicycles) where there’s one. If there’s not, or it’s not practical to use, they have the right to ride on the road. This includes riding in the middle of a lane.

Sometimes they may need the full lane because of rough road edges or gravel. Be prepared to slow down and give them room to ride away from the kerb.

Bicycle riders can ride two abreast (side by side) as long as they’re within 1.5m of each other. Another bicycle rider can overtake them.

Minimum passing distance - 1 metre rule

When overtaking bicycles, you must allow a distance of at least 1m between you and the rider when the speed limit is 60km/h or less, or 1.5m if it’s more than 60km/h.

If other drivers beep their horns to pressure you to pass a bicycle, stay calm. Only pass when you’re sure it’s safe.

You can cross single and double white lines to pass bicycles, but only if you have a clear view of approaching traffic and it’s safe to do so.

Take care at intersections

Look out for bicycles before turning at intersections and roundabouts.

Bicycle riders can do hook turns when turning right at intersections, unless a sign says they must not. This means they use the left lane to turn right. Bicycle riders must give way to vehicles leaving the intersection. As a driver, you must take care to avoid colliding with them.

Some intersections have places for bicycle riders to stop at a traffic light when the traffic lights are red. These are called bicycle storage areas and vehicles must not enter them while the traffic lights are red. See Signals for bicycle riders for more information.

Check before opening doors

You must not open your door into the path of a bicycle. Before getting out of your vehicle, check your rear view and side mirrors.

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