LawTalk Blog

Have questions about South Australia's Cycling Laws?

cyclists riding in bike lane

The age old ‘road rules’ debate between cyclists and motorists is nothing new but it’s important to be as accurately informed as possible to ensure you know your rights. Rather than getting caught up with stories of impatient motorists or that cyclists are a law unto themselves, we’re setting the record straight below with some of SA’s most common cycling laws.

Are cyclists subject to the same basic road rules as drivers of motor vehicles?

A bicycle is defined as a vehicle under South Australian law, which means cyclists are subject to the same basic road rules as motorists. This includes maintaining a position as close to the left-hand side of the road or bike way as possible, except when turning right or where the road is divided into lanes.

Do motorists need to maintain a certain distance when passing a bicycle?

Yes, motorists are obliged to maintain a ‘sufficient distance’ when overtaking a cyclist. When travelling less than 60km/h this distance is at least 1 metre. Over 60km/h, it’s 1.5 metres.

To ensure compliance of this rule, motorists can drive to the right of a dividing line when overtaking, providing they can do so safely.

Can motorists drive in the bike lane?

Generally, no—but there are exceptions including:

  • When the bicycle lane is not in operation
  • When stopping in an emergency
  • If entering or leaving the road from private property, a parking area or another road (only for up to 50 metres)
  • Overtaking a vehicle turning right or making a U-turn (only for up to 50 metres)
  • Avoiding an obstruction (only for up to 50 metres)
  • Driving a bus or taxi picking up or dropping off passengers (and then only for up to 50 metres)

Can cyclists ride on footpaths?

Yes. Riders of all ages are permitted to ride on footpaths unless there is a ‘no bicycles’ sign displayed. Cyclists must keep left, always give way to pedestrians and ring a bell or provide a verbal warning to alert pedestrians of their presence.

Can cyclists ride in rows of two or more?

Yes. Cyclists are permitted to ride two abreast on a road but no more than 1.5m apart during bicycle lane operating times, unless over taking. No more than two cyclists can ride side by side unless overtaking other cyclists that are riding beside each other.

Are cyclists permitted to ride across marked crossings?

Cyclists are permitted to ride across a marked foot crossing, children’s school crossing or a pedestrian crossing, if it is safe to do so. You must keep to the left, give way to pedestrians and cross promptly.

What should I do if I'm involved in a crash?

If you are involved in a crash, you must stop immediately and assist any injured people. You must provide your name, address and any other necessary information to anyone else involved in the incident or attending police officers.

The incident needs to be reported to the police if any of the following occur:

  • Someone is injured or killed. This must be reported within 90 minutes of the accident
  • You do not give the required particulars to the other parties, or their details are not given to you
  • When a fair estimate of the total damage is more than $3000. This is not required if the property damage belongs to you only. This must be reported within 24 hours of the crash
  • When a vehicle involved in the crash is towed away.

It’s a good idea to record all the details of the crash including vehicle registration numbers, names and addresses of other drivers / riders and type of car / bike. You should also document witnesses, description of all damage, road surfaces and weather conditions as well as taking photos of the scene if you can.

If you’re involved in an accident or road traffic dispute and need legal advice, our personal injury team at Andersons Solicitors is here to help answer any questions you may have. 

Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to South Australian legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.

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