Understanding QLD’s Road Rules for Bicycle Safety

By Ben

As featured with Kat Feeney on ABC Brisbane Afternoons. 

Stay Wider of the Rider: Understanding QLD’s Road Rules for Bicycle Safety

In Queensland, the safety of cyclists is paramount. With an average of 7 fatalities and nearly one serious injury per day, the need for stringent road rules specifically for bicycle riders is undeniable. The “Stay Wider of the Rider” initiative underscores this commitment to safety, ensuring that both cyclists and motorists understand their responsibilities on the road.

For Motorists: Sharing the Road with Cyclists

Speed Limit 60 km/hr or Less: Motorists are required to maintain a minimum gap of 1 meter when passing a cyclist. This rule is absolute; there are no exceptions.

Speed Limit Over 60 km/hr: The passing distance increases to 1.5 meters for vehicles traveling over 60 km/hr. Again, there are no exceptions to this rule.


For Cyclists: Rules to Ride By

Safety Gear:

  • An Australian Standard approved bicycle helmet is mandatory.
  • Bicycles must be equipped with at least one working brake and a warning device like a bell or horn.

Night Riding:

  • A white headlight, red tail light, and a rear red reflector are required for visibility and safety after dark.

Navigating Tight Spaces

When space is limited, motorists may, if safe:

  1. Cross a double line, or
  2. Drive on a painted traffic island,

to maintain the required safe passing distance.

Signaling and Passing

Motorists must signal right before passing a cyclist and signal left once they have safely passed. If unable to maintain the minimum safe distance, drivers must slow down and wait for safe conditions to pass. Aggressive behaviors, such as passing without sufficient distance or honking, are prohibited.

Encounters at Stops

If a cyclist stops beside a vehicle within the minimum passing distance, motorists should:

  1. Allow the cyclist to ride ahead when traffic moves, and
  2. Wait until it is safe to overtake the cyclist.

Fault and Responsibility

When a cyclist passes a vehicle with less than the minimum distance, there is no fault assigned to the cyclist. The minimum passing distance rule is designed to protect cyclists, who are more vulnerable on the road.

Consistent Safety Measures

The minimum passing distance applies at all times, whether a cyclist is maneuvering around an obstacle or riding in a bike lane. Motorists must always ensure they pass cyclists safely.

Comprehensive Rules for Cyclists

Cyclists have a set of rules designed to keep them and others safe, including:

  • Riding with care and attention,
  • Using hand signals when turning,
  • Not towing or being towed, and
  • Following at a safe distance.

In the event of a crash, cyclists must stop, assist the injured, and exchange personal details with those involved.

Keeping Left and Overtaking

Cyclists must:

  • Stay as close as possible to the left side of the road,
  • Ride to the left of oncoming vehicles, and
  • Not overtake.

By adhering to these rules, we can ensure a safer environment for everyone on Queensland’s roads. Remember, a little space can save a life. So, let’s all do our part and “Stay Wider of the Rider.”


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