Queensland Bicycle Road Rules

Bicycles are a type of vehicle—when you ride a bicycle on a Queensland road, you have rights and responsibilities like all other road users.

When you ride a bicycle, you must obey the general road rules the same as other motorists as well as the specific road rules for bicycle riders.

The following part will introduce Bicycle Road Rules in Queensland as well as cycling tips.

Module1: Bicycle road rules and safety in Queensland

Riding a bicycle

Riding a bicycle

When you ride a bicycle, you must:

  • have 1 leg on each side of the seat
  • face forwards
  • keep at least 1 hand on the handlebars.

Carrying people

Carrying people

You can carry another person if:

  • the bicycle is designed to carry more than 1 person and has a passenger seat
  • each person is wearing a helmet.

Signalling

Signalling

You must use a hand signal when you turn right. To do this, extend your right arm out horizontally—at a right angle from the right side of the bicycle. Your hand should be open, with your palm facing forward.

Towing with a bicycle

Towing with a bicycle

You must not:

  • ride a bicycle that is being towed by another vehicle
  • hold on to a moving vehicle while riding a bicycle
  • lead an animal while riding a bicycle.

Riding with a person in a bicycle trailer

Riding with a person in a bicycle trailer

You can tow a child in or on a bicycle trailer if:

  • you are 16 years or older
  • the child is under 10 years old and is wearing an approved helmet that is securely fitted and fastened
  • the bicycle trailer can safely carry the child.

Riding too close to a vehicle

Riding too close to a vehicle

You must keep at least 2m between you and the back of a vehicle when you follow that vehicle for over 200m.

Being a traffic hazard

Being a traffic hazard

You must avoid being a traffic hazard—do not ride into the path of a driver or pedestrian.

Keeping left and overtaking

Keeping left and overtaking

When you ride, you must:

  • ride as close as possible to the left side (or on the road shoulder) on a single lane road. Or, you may take up any position within the lane on a multi-lane road
  • ride to the left of any oncoming vehicle
  • not overtake another vehicle on the left if that vehicle is indicating and turning left
  • not overtake another vehicle on the left if it is not safe
  • not ride with more than 2 riders side by side unless you are overtaking another rider
  • ride no more than 1.5m apart, if travelling beside another rider.

Bicycle helmets

Bicycle helmets

When you ride a bicycle, motorised foot scooter or a personal mobility device like a segway, you must wear an Australian Standard (AS) approved bicycle helmet. You must securely fit and fasten it. An approved bicycle helmet means a helmet that complies with AS 2063 or AS/NZS 2063.

You may only carry passengers on your bicycle if the bicycle is designed to carry passengers. If you carry a passenger on your bicycle, they must also wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened. However, if they are a paying passenger on a 3 or 4 wheeled bicycle, they do not have to wear a helmet.

You do not need to wear a helmet if you have a doctor's certificate stating that, for a specific amount of time, you cannot wear a helmet:

  • for medical reasons
  • because of a physical characteristic that makes it unreasonable for you to wear one.

If you have a doctor's certificate, you must carry it with you when you ride without 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 worn by your group, that makes it impractical to wear a helmet.

Attaching a camera

There is no law that prohibits the attachment of a camera to a bicycle helmet, as long as the helmet remains compliant with the above mentioned standards, and is an approved attachment (according to the helmet manufacturer).

You may use a camera mounted on your bicycle or a body mounted camera as an alternative.

Bicycle equipment

Bicycle equipment

Every time you ride, your bicycle must have:

  • at least 1 working brake
  • a working bell, horn or a similar warning device.

Bicycle equipment for night time and unsafe weather

Bicycle equipment for night time and unsafe weather

If you ride at night or in weather conditions that make it difficult to see, you must display (either on the bicycle or on you):

  • a white light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the front of the bicycle
  • a red light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the back of the bicycle
  • a red reflector that can be clearly seen at least 50m from behind the bicycle—when a vehicle's headlights shine on it.

Carrying a load on a bicycle

Carrying a load on a bicycle

You can carry a load on your bicycle. If you choose to carry a load, you must:

  • attach the load to your bicycle in a way that does not make the bicycle unstable
  • make sure the load is unlikely to fall from the bicycle.

Riding in a bicycle lane on a road

Riding in a bicycle lane on a road

A bicycle lane is a marked lane with either a bicycle lane sign or a road marking of a bicycle symbol and the word 'lane' painted in white. The road may be painted green.

You can choose whether or not to ride in a bicycle lane where one is provided. You must not ride in a bicycle lane on the wrong side of the road (travelling towards oncoming traffic).

A bicycle only lane sign

Riding on the road shoulder

Riding on the road shoulder

You can ride on the road shoulder or either side of a continuous white edge line on a bicycle. However, you must give way to vehicles on the road when moving back into the lane from the road shoulder.

Special purpose lanes

Special purpose lanes

You can ride your bicycle in a special purpose lane. A special purpose lane is a marked lane, or part of a marked lane, including:

  • bicycle lanes
  • bus lanes
  • tram lanes
  • transit lanes.

Most of the Gold Coast tram system operates on a 'tramway'. A tramway is not a tram lane, or any kind of special purpose lane. Bicycle riders must not travel along the road in a tramway. 

Riding across a road at a crossing

Riding across a road at a crossing

Crossings include:

  • pedestrian crossings (zebra crossings)
  • children's crossings
  • signalised pedestrian crossing.

You can ride across pedestrian crossings at traffic lights, if you:

  • wait for the green 'walk' sign
  • proceed slowly and safely
  • give way to any pedestrian on the crossing
  • keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider.

You can ride across a zebra crossing or children's crossing as long as you:

  • come to a complete stop first
  • proceed slowly and safely
  • give way to any pedestrian on the crossing
  • keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle riders.

You must give way to vehicles and other road users at uncontrolled intersections before you ride across.

Riding on a separated path

Riding on a separated path

On a separated path, you can only ride on the side that is for bicycle riders. The other side is for pedestrians. The separated path sign will show you which side of the path you must ride on. You must always ride to the left of bicycle riders coming toward you. 

A separated path sign

Riding on a footpath or shared path

Riding on a footpath or shared path

On footpaths and shared paths, you share the space with pedestrians.

You must:

  • keep left and give way to all pedestrians
  • always ride to the left of bicycle riders coming toward you. 

A shared path sign

'No bicycle' signs and markings

'No bicycle' signs and markings

You cannot ride on a road or path where signs or road markings prohibit bicycles.

A no bicycles sign

Bicycle crossing lights

Bicycle crossing lights

When riding along the road and facing a red traffic light, do not ride past the red traffic light unless a green bicycle crossing light is also facing you.

When crossing the road at bicycle crossing lights, you must:

  • stop before entering the crossing (if the light is red)
  • only cross when the light is green
  • if the lights change to yellow or red while you are still in the crossing, cross using the safest, most direct route.

Bicycle storage areas

Bicycle storage areas

A bicycle storage area is a section of the road, before an intersection with traffic lights, where you can wait (for the traffic lights to change) in front of the stopped vehicles.

A bicycle storage road area will have painted bicycle symbols, be between two parallel stop lines and may be painted green.

Bicycle and motorcycle riders are allowed to cross the first stop line to enter the bicycle storage area but must stop at the second stop line at a red traffic light. Motor vehicles, other than motorcycles, must stop at the first stop line.

A bicycle rider may choose to enter a bicycle storage area from a bicycle lane.

When you enter a bicycle storage area, you must:

  • give way to anyone that is already in the bicycle storage area
  • give way to any vehicle that is entering the area on a green or yellow traffic light.

Bicycle storage area

Roundabouts

Multi-lane roundabouts


Bicycle rider turning right at a roundabout





At multi-lane roundabouts, motor vehicle drivers who want to turn right must enter the roundabout and turn from the right lane (unless signs or road markings indicate otherwise). However, when you are riding a bicycle, you may enter the roundabout and turn right from the left or right lane.

Bicycle rider must give way to the red car that is exiting the roundabout. The driver of the blue car must give way to the bicycle rider ahead of them before exiting the roundabout.



It is important that all road users maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front to be able to stop safely, if necessary, to avoid a collision. If you choose to turn right from the left lane, you must give way to any motor vehicle that wants to leave the roundabout. If you are already on the roundabout and a motor vehicle is entering they should give way to you.

Roundabouts with only 1 marked lane

In a single-lane roundabout you can choose to take up the whole lane like other road users.

Hook turns

Performing a hook turn

You can turn right at an intersection using a hook turn. The way you should do this depends on whether or not the intersection has traffic lights.

How to use a hook turn to turn right

If the intersection has no traffic lights, you should:

  1. keep to the far left side of the road and move forward through the intersection
  2. pause and give way to motorists moving through the intersection
  3. when the road is clear, move forward across the road.

Heading 1 text goes here

  1. move forward through the intersection from the bicycle lane on a green light
  2. stop in the box or in a safe area in the opposite corner, and turn your bicycle to the right (in the direction of the marked arrow). If there is no line marking for hook turns, you should stop where you are clear of traffic. You will now be facing a red light
  3. when the light turns green, move forward through the intersection.

Some intersections will have line markings for you to use for hook turns.

Hook turn storage box

A hook turn storage box is an area marked on the road within an intersection. It shows you where to wait if you are performing a hook turn.

Hook turn storage box

Bicycle riding and mobile phones

Bicycle riding and mobile phones

To keep yourself and other road users safe your full attention is needed when riding. Using a mobile phone held in your hand when riding a bicycle is illegal—even if you're stopped in traffic. This means you can't:

  • hold the phone next to or near your ear with your hand
  • write, send or read a text message
  • turn your phone on or off
  • operate any other function on your phone.

Penalties for bicycle riders

Penalties for bicycle riders

There is no minimum age limit for the issuing of fines by the police.

Bicycle riders who break the road rules will be given the same fines as motorists, but will not accumulate demerit points. Offences common to both bicycle riders and motorists include:

  • failing to stop at a red traffic light
  • disobeying a 'no U-turn' sign at an intersection
  • failing to stop at a 'stop' sign at an intersection
  • using a mobile phone
  • exceeding the speed limit in a speed zone by less than 13km/h.

Common offences specific to bicycle riders include:

  • carrying more passengers than a bicycle is designed for
  • failing to give way to pedestrians on a footpath or shared path
  • failing to display a light at night or in hazardous weather conditions
  • failing to wear an approved helmet.

Motorised bicycles

Legal motorised bicycles

You can ride a motorised bicycle on all roads and paths, except where bicycles are prohibited. There are two types of legal motorised bicycles:

  1. A bicycle with an electric motor capable of generating no more than 200 watts of power.
  2. A 'pedalec'—a bicycle with an electric motor capable of generating up to 250 watts of power, but the motor cuts out at 25km/h and the pedals must be used to keep the motor operating. Pedalecs must comply with the European Standard for Power Assisted Pedal Cycles (EN15194). The vehicle must have a permanent marking on it that shows it complies with this standard.

Source of power

The pedals on a motorised bicycle must be the primary source of power with the motor providing assistance only. Regardless of the motor's power wattage, if the electric motor is the primary source of power, it is illegal and cannot be ridden on roads or paths. For example, if you can twist a throttle and complete a journey using the bicycle's motor power only, without using the pedals, it is illegal.

All motorised bicycles with internal combustion engines, for example, petrol or diesel motors, are also illegal.

Illegal motorised bicycles are sometimes offered for sale or hire but must not be ridden on roads and paths. They may only be ridden on private property that isn't accessible to the general public.

A motorised bicycle with an internal combustion engine, or an electric motor capable of generating over 200 watts (that isn't a pedalec), or with an electric motor that is the primary source of power must comply with the Australian Design Rules requirements for a motorcycle and be registered, if it is to be ridden legally on roads.

Rider requirements

When riding a motorised bicycle you are required to follow the same road rules as when riding a normal bicycle. This includes wearing an approved bicycle helmet and displaying lights and reflectors when riding at night and in hazardous weather.

Motorised bicycles are exempt from registration and compulsory third party insurance and riders do not need a driver licence. 

Module 2: Safety tips

Safety tips for Bicycle Riders

Bicycles 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

Ride 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 clothing can make you more visible to motorists.

Be predictable

Ride 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.

Safety tips for riding bicycles around pedestrians

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.

Module 3: Bike safety lesson

RACQ road safety lessons - Bike safety


Teaching your child how to safely ride a bike is one of the most important lessons they will learn. Understanding road safety takes many years and adults play an important part in laying those foundations. RACQ's Streets Ahead road safety education program for Queensland Primary Schools has some practical tips to help you can teach your kids to ride safely. For more information on RACQ's Streets Ahead program visit http://www.racq.com/streetsahead.