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The NSW Road Transport (Safety & Traffic Management) Act 1999 came into force in December 1999. It incorporates the Australian Road Rules plus NSW specific provisions.

The full legislation (available from the RTA on > Rules and Regulations > Road rules or on the RTA Publication Hotline 1800 060 607 as the Road Users Handbook is too large for most mortals to ever read. Click here to see a short version of the Road Rules in relation to Bicycles Note it states, "... As cyclists have responsibilities when using the road system, they also have the right, like other vehicles, to use the road and be shown courtesy and care by other road users. "

Current RTA Bicycle links
bicycle hub page
bicycles index
cycling tips
helmet and gear

Fortunately for cyclists, Fiona Campbell has distilled from it the rules most relevant to cyclists:


from 26 November 2007

Under NSW legislation a bicycle is considered as a vehicle. As such, cyclists are required to obey the road rules, including stopping at red lights or Stop signs, Giving Way as indicated by signage and giving hand signals when changing direction. As cyclists have responsibilities when using the road system, they also have the right, like other vehicles, to use the road and be shown courtesy and care by other road users.

A bicycle means a vehicle with one or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor) and includes a pedicab, penny-farthing, scooter, tricycle and unicycle. See Australian Road Rules for further information.

Cyclists also have some special rights, which include:

To be a legal road vehicle during the day, a bicycle must have:

To be a legal road vehicle at night, a bicycle must also have :

It is compulsory to wear an approved helmet correctly when riding a bike. This applies to all cyclists, regardless of age, including children on bicycles with training wheels and any child being carried as a passenger on a bike or in a trailer.

Failing to obey road or bicycle rules may result in a fine.

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"Road Safety

NSW Police provides the public face of road safety to the community and is a key road safety stakeholder.

NSW Police is actively engaged in all aspects of the 5 E's of road safety:


This combination of activities seeks to achieve road trauma reduction and the free movement of traffic through day to day on road activities..."

More ...

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We've all experienced the frustration of trying to report incidents to police, trying to convince them to take it seriously. Here's what you need to know to get the best results:

To read the PDF document, get the Adobe Reader here.

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The ATSB's road safety activities include undertaking research projects to improve national road safety, research and statistical analysis, coordination of the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan, and publication of road fatality statistics.

Deaths of cyclists due to road crashes

"Though there are no comprehensive indicators of the extent of use of bicycles (or pedal cycles) for transport in Australia, there is some evidence suggesting the growing popularity of cycling for commuting to work and school and for recreation. For example, the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey results for 2004 show that cycling is the fourth most popular activity after walking, aerobics/fitness and swimming, with a 15 per cent increase in participants since 2001. It has also been reported by Bicycle Industries Australia that the number of bicycles sold in 2005 was 13 per cent greater than the number of motor vehicles sold and that more than a million bicycles were sold in Australia each year from 2002 to 2005. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the rising cost of fuel in 2006 has further increased the popularity of cycling..."

The take home message from the above report is to wear your helmet, have a properly maintained cycle, learn and obey the current road rules - especially important for cyclists between the ages of 12 and 19, and cycle defensively - don't expect motorists to obey the rules even if you do, be visible, and beware of cars creeping up from behind. Remember all road users are legally obliged to avoid collisions. Other than that we are probably still safer on cycles than in motor vehicles.

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RTA - Bicycle Riders page

RTA - Traffic & transport technical manuals

Following is a register of RTA traffic and transport technical manuals. This register gives a guide to the status of the documents.

Electronic copies of the documents are provided where available and these documents can be viewed, downloaded or printed using the link at the foot of the list. Alternatively the documents may be available by contacting the RTA's Information and Reference Centre on (02) 8837 0151..."

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"Road Users Handbook Print friendly version


This handbook is also available in: Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Serbian, Spanish,Turkish and Vietnamese.

This handbook is only an interpretation of the law made easy to understand by using plain English. Laws change often so make sure you have the most recent handbook available on the RTA website at ..."

Of particular note is the line,

"SHARING THE ROAD WITH BICYCLE RIDERS Bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers and motorcycle riders..." page 39,

which appears next to the illustration of the correct method for overtaking a motorbike, the same method for overtaking a cyclist, car, truck, horse-drawn vehicle, etc. Abusing and menacing the cyclist until they are forced into the gutter is not the correct way to overtake, no matter what time of day or night, on any particular stretch of road.

How to pass bicycles legally


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Bicycle Safety


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How to make a Hook Turn


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Advanced Stop Boxes / Storage Boxes

(Is bike transport about storing bikes? Perhaps for short periods within the road space) 23 June 2008

New road rules come in force regarding storage boxes.



NSW Guidelines for Bicycles
RTA November 2003
pps 57-58

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Road_Rule_Changes.pdf From the RTA website. Many of the rules in this document refer to cyclists, please take note.


by Michael Bluejay

"Since I've become more observant of how bikes and cars interact, I've decided that cyclists have two major safety threats: cars and themselves." -- Lee Nichols

Link to the page on the Critical Mass website, made relevant to Australian conditions.


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GilbertGrace - 09 Feb 2007

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