Blog | New Cycling Laws 2015

New Cycling Laws 2015


On the 25th of October 2015 two new cycling laws came into effect.  These changes came about in response to the Report of the Citizen's Jury on Sharing the Road Safely. Whether you're a cyclist, driver or pedestrian (or indeed a combination of these) the new rules are likely to affect you.

New law for cyclists

In an extension to existing legislation, cyclists of all ages are now allowed to ride on footpaths (previously only cyclists under 12 or cyclists over 18 accompanying a minor were permitted to cycle on the footpath).

Footpaths provide a safer and sometimes more direct alternative for cyclists.

While they are permitted to ride on the footpaths there are rules which apply:

When riding on any path they must:

  • exercise due care and consideration for pedestrians and other users
  • if necessary for the purpose of averting danger give warning by sounding their bell, horn or by other means
  • keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider
  • wear an approved helmet that is properly and securely fastened

Furthermore, specifically when riding on footpaths or shared paths cyclists must:

  • keep to the left unless it is impracticable to do so
  • give way to any pedestrians

Be aware: It is still an offence for a cyclist to ride where a sign prohibits bicycle riding on footpaths which are considered unsuitable for shared use.

For a comprehensive guide to the laws pertaining to cycling, download the Cycling and the Law handbook

New law for drivers

Drivers are now required to give a minimum of one metre when passing a cyclist where the speed limit is 60km/h or less or 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60km/h.

Cyclists have less protection than motorists and are more likely to be injured if a crash happens, so they need adequate space when on the road. The rule applies to all types of vehicles including cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses when passing a cyclist.

To assist with compliance of this rule, if a driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and can do so safely, they are permitted to:

  • Drive to the right of the centre of the road
  • Drive to the right of the dividing line
  • Drive on a dividing strip that is at the same level as the road
  • Drive on or over continuous lines around a painted island
  • Straddle lanes
  • Move across lanes
  • Drive not completely in a single line of traffic.

The penalty for drivers is $287 fine + $60 victims of crime levy, and 2 demerit points - there is a 3 month grace period for drivers to get used to the new rules before these penalties apply.

For consideration

COTA SA is very concerned for the safety of older pedestrians. We understand that there is a need for increased safety for bike riders but do not want to shift this problem from the roads to the footpaths.

Two significant from the Citizens' Jury report are that:

  • the jury called for both formal cycling eduction in schools as well as including cycling as part of the formal drivers' licence permit process
  • the jury stated "As part of this recommendation it must be clear to cyclists, that they travel at low speeds
    and have enhanced consideration of pedestrians"

COTA SA strongly supports these recommendations.  In our letter to The Hon Stephen Mulligan MP, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure we called for an ongoing education campaign for all users as well as consideration of regulations governing speed and behaviour on footpaths.

COTA SA also encouraged the governemnt to delay implementation of the new rules subject to consideration of ways to manage the risks to pedestrians and stated we would be happy to be part of any discussions.

What do you think?

COTA SA welcomes your views on this issue - email us on cotasa@cotasa.org.au to tell us what you think.

For more information about the rule changes see http://mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/newcyclinglaws