Bicycle road rules
Under the Queensland Road Rules bicycles are considered vehicles, so people riding bicycles must obey all the general road rules. As legitimate road users, they have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle operators.
Rules that apply specifically to bicycles and cyclists are outlined below. The numbers in brackets refer to sections in the Queensland Road Rules that can be viewed for further information.
Riding and equipment
Riding a bicycle (s245)
While riding, you must sit astride the seat and keep at least one hand on the handle bars at all times.
Carrying people on a bicycle (s246)
You can only double another person if:
- the bicycle is designed to carry more than one person and has a passenger seat
- each person wears a helmet.
Wearing bicycle helmets (s256)
The rider of a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened.
Any passenger on a bicycle that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must also wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened, unless the passenger is a paying passenger on a three or four wheeled bicycle.
The only time you are exempt from wearing a helmet is if you are carrying a doctor's certificate for a specified period stating that you cannot wear a helmet:
- for medical reasons, or
- because of a physical characteristic it would be unreasonable for you to wear a helmet.
You also do not need to wear a helmet if you are a member of a religious group and are wearing a headdress customarily by your group, that makes it impractical to wear a helmet.
Equipment on a bicycle (s258)
Your bicycle must:
- have at least one effective brake
- have a bell, horn or similar warning device in working order.
Riding at night (s259)
When riding at night or in hazardous weather conditions with reduced visibility, you must display on your bicycle or yourself:
- a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200m from the front of the bicycle
- a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200m from the rear of the bicycle
- a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50m from the rear of the bicycle when a vehicle's headlights on low beam shine on it.
Signalling (s48, s49, s50)
Hand signals must be given when turning right.
To give a hand signal for changing direction to the right, you must extend your right arm and hand horizontally and at right angles from the right side of the bicycle, with your hand open and your palm facing the direction of travel.
Avoid being a traffic hazard (s253)
You must avoid becoming a hazard by riding into the path of a driver or pedestrian — this rule applies to all road users.
Bicycles being towed (s254)
You must not
- ride a bicycle that is being towed by another vehicle, or
- hold on to another moving vehicle while riding a bicycle.
Riding too close to the rear of a motor vehicle (s255)
You must maintain a distance of at least 2 m between you and the rear of a motor vehicle when following the motor vehicle for over 200 m.
Back to top
Trailers and loads
Riding with a person in a bicycle trailer (s257)
You may tow a child in a bicycle trailer if:
- you are 16 years or older
- the child in or on the bicycle trailer is under 10 years old
- the bicycle trailer can safely carry the child
- the child in or on the bicycle trailer is wearing an approved bicycle helmet that is securely fitted and fastened.
Insecure or overhanging load (s292)
- secure any loads to your bicycle in a way that does not cause the bicycle to be unstable
- make sure the load does not stick out from the bicycle in a way that is likely to injure a person, obstruct the path of other drivers or pedestrians, or damage a vehicle or anything else
- avoid hanging things off the handlebars.
Back to top
Lanes, paths and crossings
Riding in a bicycle lane on a road (s247)
- always use a bicycle lane where provided, unless it is impracticable to do so
- never ride in a bicycle lane on the wrong side of the road (travelling towards oncoming traffic).
Riding on or across a continuous white edge line (riding on the road shoulder) (s150)
You are allowed to ride on or across a continuous white-edge line on a bicycle.
You must give way to vehicles on the roadway when moving back onto the road across the continuous white edge line.
Riding in special purpose lanes (s153, s154, s155, s156)
A special purpose lane means a marked lane, or the part of a marked lane, that is a bicycle lane, bus lane, emergency stopping lane, tram lane, transit lane or truck lane.
You are allowed to ride in bicycle in a special purpose lane.
Riding across a road on a crossing (s248)
Cyclists are not permitted to ride across a road on a pedestrian crossing (Zebra) or children's crossing.
You must dismount from your bicycle and walk across a pedestrian crossing (Zebra) or children's crossing.
You can ride across pedestrian crossings situated at traffic lights if you:
- proceed slowly and safely
- give way to any pedestrian on the crossing
- keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider or person who is using a personal mobility device.
Riding on a separated path (s249)
On a separated path you can only ride on the side that is designated for cyclists.
Riding on a footpath or shared path (s250)
You must keep left and give way to pedestrians on footpaths and shared-use paths.
Riding to the left of oncoming bicycle riders on a path (s251)
You must always ride your bicycle to the left of other riders coming towards you on a bicycle path, footpath, separated path or shared path.
Riding on the footpath (s288)
In Queensland, cyclists of any age are allowed to ride on a footpath unless prohibited by a 'NO BICYCLES' sign—you must give way to pedestrians and ride in a manner that does not inconvenience or endanger other footpath users.
Obeying no bicycle signs and markings (s252)
You cannot ride on a road or footpath where signs or road markings specifically ban bicycles.
Stopping for bicycle crossing lights (s260, s261, s262)
At bicycle crossing lights:
- if the light is red, you must stop before reaching the light.
- you must only cross when the light is green.
- if the lights change to yellow or red while you are in the intersection, you must cross it by the safest, most direct route.
Shared bicycle lane for left turn
This arrangement is used at certain intersections to indicate a "shared" lane. As long as a motorist gives way to any cyclists on the "shared" lane, they are allowed to travel on part of a green bicycle lane for a short distance, in order to turn left at an upcoming intersection. The "Share bicycle lane for left turn" sign indicates the point where drivers are permitted to enter the bicycle lane to prepare for a left turn.
As a motorist you must:
- Be extra aware of the blind spots of your rear-view and side mirrors. It is especially important to turn your head and check to make sure there are no cyclists in the "shared" lane you are about to enter.
- Give way to any vehicles (including cyclists) already in the shared lane before entering.
- Give priority to any cyclists travelling on the shared lane; slow down and keep a safe distance between yourself and any cyclist.
Do not speed in order to cut ahead of a cyclist in a "shared" lane.
Do not try to overtake a cyclist by "squeezing" through the left hand side of a shared lane.
As a cyclist you need to:
- Be aware of the traffic around you – never assume a driver has seen you.
- If you are planning to turn left at an upcoming intersection, keep to the left hand side of the lane – you do not have to ride on the green portion.
- If you are not turning left, use the green portion of the lane.
Back to top
Keeping left and overtaking (s129, s131, s141, s151)
- keep to the far left of a road that is not a multi-lane road. On a multi-lane road, you can take up any position within the lane
- ride to the left of any oncoming vehicle
- not overtake another vehicle on the left if that vehicle is turning left and giving a left change of direction signal
- not ride more than 2 side by side unless overtaking
- ride within 1.5m of the other rider if riding side by side.
Bicycles can overtake to the left of a vehicle unless:
- the vehicle is signalling to turn left
- it is unsafe to do so.
A cyclist must give way to a vehicle that is signalling to turn left and driving in front of the cyclist.
Back to top
Roundabouts (s111, s119)
- drivers who want to turn right at two-lane roundabouts are required to enter the roundabout and complete the turn, from the right hand lane
- cyclists are exempt from this requirement and may enter the roundabout and complete a right hand turn from either the left lane or the right lane
- cyclists, if they choose to make a right turn from the left lane, must give way to any vehicle that is crossing their path to leave the roundabout.
Cyclists may turn right from the right lane of two-lane roundabouts.
Cyclists may also turn right from the left lane of two-lane roundabouts, but must give way to vehicles that cross their path.Note:
Cyclists riding in the far left marked lane of a roundabout with 2 or more marked lanes, or the far left line of traffic in a roundabout with room for 2 or more lines of traffic, must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
Back to top
Bicycle storage areas (s247A, s247B)
A bicycle storage area is an area of road close to an intersection with traffic lights that allows cyclists to wait in front of vehicles stopped at the intersection. They are usually painted green with white bicycle symbols.
Special rules apply to a rider using a bicycle storage area, including the following.
- You must enter a bicycle storage area from a bicycle lane (unless it is impractical to ride in the bicycle lane).
- You must give way to any vehicle that is in the bicycle storage area.
- Where there is a green or yellow light in front of the bicycle storage area, you must give way to any vehicle entering the area.
Back to top
Hook turns (s35)
You are able to turn right at an intersection on your bicycle using a hook turn (unless prohibited by a 'NO HOOK TURN BY BICYCLES' sign). The way to do this depends on whether or not the intersection is controlled by traffic lights.
If the intersection does not have traffic lights:
- Keeping to the far left side of the road, move forward through the intersection.
- After moving directly across the intersection and keeping to the left side, pause and give way to drivers moving through the intersection.
- When the road is clear, move forward across the road.
If the intersection is controlled by traffic lights:
- Move forward through the intersection from the bicycle lane on a green light. Stop in the box in the opposite corner — turn right (in the direction of the marked arrow). If there is no linemarking for hook turns, cyclists should stop where they are clear of traffic.
- When the light turns green, move forward through the intersection into the bicycle lane ahead.
Where possible, future intersection upgrades will include linemarking to reinforce the hook turn movement; however, cyclists can perform this movement at intersections without this linemarking.
View the hook turns document for instructions and a diagram detailing how to make a hook turn at traffic lights. A short video on the procedure is available in the following formats:
Hook turn storage box
A hook turn storage box is an area line marked on the road within a multi-laned signalised intersection showing a cyclist where to position themselves to do a hook turn.
What about motorists?
When stopped at traffic lights where hook turn storage boxes have been installed cyclists will be positioned in front of queued traffic. When the light turns green motorists will need to be aware of cyclists in front of them when moving through the intersection.
Back to top
Stay wider of the rider
Why do we need to make sure there’s enough room between cyclists and motorists? Because last year 13 cyclists lost their lives on Queensland roads, and something’s got to change.
That’s why, there are new road rules being trialled from 7 April to help cyclists and motorists share the road safely. Motorists will now need to stay wider of the rider when passing.
When the speed limit is 60km/h and under, you must give cyclists at least a metre. At over 60km/h you must give them at least a metre and a half. If you can’t do that, and stay on your side of the road, then that’s okay. The new rules allow you to cross unbroken centre lines, lane lines and painted traffic islands, but only when it is safe to do so.
There are a number of changes that will affect bike riders too. Like the fines for traffic infringements that will now be equal for motorists and cyclists.
When you obey the rules, you’ll avoid the fines and help make the road safer for everyone.
To get familiar with the new rules visit the website.
Authorised by the Queensland Government, Brisbane.