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Safety tips

Sharing the road

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Safety tips for bicycle riders

An image of a cyclist in BrisbaneBicycles are vehicles and belong on the road. While sharing the road with motorists, you must share the responsibilities. Remember to try and keep a distance of about 1m between you and other vehicles when riding through heavy traffic.

Be aware

An image of a cyclist on the roadRide defensively. Know what the other traffic is doing. Scan the road behind – shoulder check regularly. Be prepared to manoeuvre for safety even though bicycles have an equal right to use the road. Watch for cars entering from driveways.

Be seen

Use lights at night and have reflectors on your bike. Light-coloured or reflective clothing can make you more visible to motorists.

Be predictable

An image of two cyclistsRide in a straight line and at least 1m from the kerb so you can move around road hazards. Use hand signals. Let others know where you are going. Avoid weaving in and out of traffic or around parked cars.

Be careful at intersections

Proceed with care since most bicycle crashes occur at intersections.

Beware of car doors

When riding beside parked cars, look for people inside. If you see people preparing to exit a parked car, be sure to ride more than a door width away.

Use the appropriate lane

Do not ride in a 'left turn only' lane if you are going straight through. Move into the through lane early. In a narrow lane, on a roundabout or in slow traffic, it might be safer to take a whole lane.

Options for turning right

Signal, move to the right turning lane and turn when safe. While as a pedestrian, ride to the far pedestrian crossing, dismount and walk across the pedestrian crossing.

Follow the road rules

Remember you have the same rights and responsibilities as all other road users.

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Safety tips for riding bicycles around pedestrians

Paths include footpaths, shared-use paths and segregated paths.

With more and more people using paths throughout Queensland, it is important to keep in mind that all users have legitimate rights on certain types of paths – but with those rights come personal responsibilities. Such as, in Queensland, bicycle riders are allowed to ride on footpaths unless prohibited by signs, but they must give way to pedestrians.

Here are some tips on sharing paths safely:
  • Keep left unless overtaking and signal.
  • Always check the path is clear ahead and behind you before you pass anyone.
  • Ensure you leave plenty of space between you and the person you are passing.
  • Ride or skate at a speed that allows you to move safely around others.
  • Ride or skate at speeds appropriate to the conditions – ride slower if it is raining or the path is crowded.
  • Be predictable – walk, ride or skate in a straight line. Crashes may occur when someone does something unexpected.
  • Try not to surprise other people on the path by moving up behind them undetected, passing too close, suddenly changing your direction or stopping without warning.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • See and be seen – at night wear light coloured clothing or reflective gear. Walkers, joggers, scooter riders and skateboarders might like to wear a red flashing light on their back at night, especially during periods of high use. By law, bicycles ridden at night must have steady or flashing front and rear lights visible for at least 200m and a red reflector on the rear.
  • Hear and be heard – bicycle riders use your bell (by law, you must have one on your bike). Others on the path should remember that bike riders sound their bells to warn you that they are approaching, not to demand you get out of the way. However, if you are in the way, move to the left of the path and allow them to pass. Wearing headphones will reduce your awareness of the people around you.
  • Teach children to be aware of other people using the path.
  • Acknowledge other people on the path – let them know you understand if they signal they are about to change direction by making eye contact or using other body language, and don't make any sudden changes in your direction without warning. Keep in mind that some people using the path might have disabilities which mean they cannot always see or hear you.
  • Bikes are required to give way to others on a footpath or shared path because they are the fastest moving vehicles. Skaters, rollerbladers and people on scooters must also take extra care and give way because they move faster. Keeping to the left hand side allows room for faster moving walkers, joggers, wheelchairs, rollerbladers, scooters, skateboards and bikes to pass safely.
  • On segregated paths, use the side that's made for you (note: rollerbladers and skaters must use the side that is for bikes. People in or pushing wheelchairs may use the side that is for bikes).

Note: The tips are not a statement of the law and should not be taken as such. Bicycles are vehicles and belong on the road. While sharing the road with motorists, you must share the responsibilities.

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Last updated
23 November 2017