Cyclists

Cyclists died on WA roads in 2015.

Cyclists died on WA roads between 2010 and 2015.


The road can be an anonymous place. When we're in our car, bicycle riders can sometimes become faceless figures under helmets. Similarly, when we're on a bicycle, motorists can seem like anonymous shapes behind the wheel. Might Be a Mate aims to build empathy between motorists and cyclists giving practical advice on what safe road usage means.
 

Cycling on Footpaths

On April 27th 2016, WA’s laws changed to allow cyclists of all ages to use footpaths, unless otherwise signed. The amendment to the Road Traffic Code 2000 brought WA’s bicycle laws into line with the rest of Australia, making it legal for parents to ride alongside their children on footpaths, improving safety. Under the previous rules, only children under the age of 12 were able to ride on footpaths without breaking the law.

Things You Need to Know

Road Rules

Most of the road rules that apply to motor vehicle drivers and riders also apply to cyclists. But cyclists do have to abide by a set of their own rules too.

Cyclists:
  • must have at least one hand on the handlebars while in motion;
  • must not be more than two bicycles abreast on a road. When riding abreast, the two bicycles must be no more than 1.5 metres apart;
  • must ride in a bicycle lane if one is provided and in a reasonable condition for use;
  • must not ride within two metres of the rear of a motor vehicle, over a distance of more than 200 metres;
  • must not hold onto another moving vehicle or be towed by it;
  • must use the correct hand signals to turn left or right and to stop;
  • can use the left lane of a roundabout when turning right, provided they give way to all exiting traffic;
  • must not ride in a pedestrian mall;
  • cannot overtake on the left side of a motor vehicle if that motor vehicle is moving and indicating to turn left; and
  • cannot ride across a marked foot crossing unless the crossing displays bicycle crossing lights (and are green).

Helmets

  • It is compulsory for all cyclists to wear an approved helmet while in motion, unless exempted.

Lights

  • If a cyclist is riding at night, or in reduced visibility, their bicycle must be equipped with a front white light, that is either flashing or steady and visible for at least 200 metres in front of the bicycle.
  • Although not mandated, cyclists should wear brightly coloured, or at night reflective, clothing at night to increase visibility.

Sharing Footpaths

  • Cyclists of all ages may ride on footpaths in WA, unless otherwise signed.
  • Cyclists must ride in single file on footpaths.
  • Pedestrians, including mobility scooters and motorised wheelchair users, always have right of way.
  • Cyclists must wear helmets at all times.
  • Cyclists should use their bell to alert pedestrians/mobility scooter operators/motorised wheelchair users that a bicycle is approaching.
  • Drivers must give way to cyclists at driveways, but cyclists should slow down to ensure they have been seen.
  • Animals must not be tied to a moving bike.
  • Animals and children on footpaths can be unpredictable. Cyclists should slow and cycle to the conditions.
 

How to be Safe

Basic Bike Maintenance

A well-maintained bicycle is more reliable, safer and easier to ride.

This check list will keep your bike in good working condition:

  • A new bike will need a few adjustments before the components set correctly, so make a follow-up visit to the bike shop after about a month.
  • Carry a basic toolkit and puncture repair kit, that contains specially made compact bicycle tools with Allen keys and screwdriver heads.
  • Check your tyres weekly for splitting and wear, and ensure the tyre pressure is between the minimum and maximum pressure recommended on the side of each tyre.
  • Check monthly that your brakes work and that the cables are not fraying. Brake pads need to touch the wheels’ metal rim, but not the tyre.
  • Check your wheel spokes are not loose and that the rims are straight.
  • Clean and lubricate to your bike components, in particular the chain, to ensure it runs smoothly. But avoid the wheel rims.
  • Keep your bike out of the rain to avoid rust.
  • Make sure your front and back lights are working and are bright enough, before riding at night.

Visibility

It is extremely important that you and your bike are highly visible to other road users and pedestrians at night and in bad weather and low-visibility.

  • Make sure the rear red reflector, orange pedal reflectors and front white reflector on your bike are intact and not obscured.
  • Make sure your rear red light and front white light are working correctly and have enough power for riding at night or in low-visibility.
  • Wear highly visible clothing that will contrast with your surroundings.
  • And at night, wear clothing that has reflective material.

Ride to Conditions
  • Monitor your speed. Riding too fast can put you and others at risk.
  • In wet weather, slow down around corners and allow enough distance to brake.
  • If overtaking pedestrians or other cyclists allow adequate distance and time to pass.

 

Reporting a Hazard

Any hazards you spot while riding around WA’s paths and roads can be reported online to the Department of Transport or by phone to the Main Roads WA 24 hour hotline on 138 138.

Motorists and Cyclists

Overtaking a Cyclist

  • Motorists are advised to keep a safe distance of at least one metre when overtaking cyclists. If it is not possible to overtake with one metre clearance, slow down and wait until it is safe to overtake.
  • Motorists should check blind spots for riders before moving left or right on the carriageway.

Bicycle Lanes

  • Motorists cannot drive in a marked bicycle lane, unless the driver is permitted to do so.
  • Motorists are only permitted to drive in a marked bicycle lane for 50m to stop or park in a designated parking area.
  • Public bus and taxi drivers may also drive in a bicycle lane for up to 50m, if the driver is dropping off or picking up passengers.
 

Helpful Resources