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Road rules about bicycles for other vehicles

Information about road rules that help protect cyclists from harm from other vehicles.

The following rules help protect cyclists from harm from other motorists.

Sufficient distance when overtaking

From 26 April 2021, drivers must not pass too close to a cyclist when overtaking. The distance they must give depends on the speed they are travelling at. The driver must be at least:

  • 1 metre away from the bike if travelling up to 60 km per hour
  • 1.5 metre away from the bike if travelling more than 60 km per hour.

Distance is calculated from the outermost part of the bike or bike trailer being towed by the cyclist and the outermost part of the vehicle or any projection from that vehicle.

This rule also applies to motorcyclists when they are filtering between lines of traffic.

Acknowledgement that driver may have to move over to do this

To make this change work, the rules provide exceptions. When a driver is overtaking a bicycle, they may (where safe to do so):

  • move to the right of the centre of the road
  • partially move into another lane
  • drive to the right of a dividing line
  • drive onto a dividing strip (provided it is not elevated)
  • drive onto or over a single continuous line (or 2 continuous parallel lines) beside or surrounding a painted island
  • move from one marked lane to another in a multi-lane road even where they cross a continuous line separating the lanes, or
  • drive in a tram lane.

See 144A—Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Maximum penalty

The maximum penalty is 10 penalty units.

This matter may be dealt with by issuing an infringement notice. If this is the case, the penalty will be 2 penalty units.

See 144A—Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Demerit points

A driver will also have 2 demerit points added to their licence for this offence.

See item 30 Schedule 3—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Opening car doors and getting out of vehicles

Motorises and their passengers must make sure that it is safe before opening their doors. They must not leave their doors open. This is a potential hazard for cyclists and other road users. It is also an offence to get out of a vehicle travelling more than 5 km/h.

Maximum penalties

Causing a hazard when getting into or out of a vehicle is 10 penalty units.

Getting out of a vehicle travelling more than 5 km/hour is 2 penalty units.

See Parking—Door hazards.

Left turning vehicles—giving way to cyclists

If a bicycle going straight ahead is in front of a vehicle that wants to turn left, the vehicle must give way to bicycle. Drivers must not speed up and try to cut off cyclist (by turning left right in front of them).

If a car is ahead of cyclist and has indicated that it intends to turn left then cyclists must give way (must not pass on left of turning vehicle).

Maximum penalty

If a driver does not give way when moving from one lane to another the penalty is 5 penalty units.

If a cyclist overtakes a left turning vehicle on the left if that vehicle is indicating the penalty is 3 penalty units.

Vehicles in bicycle lanes

Motor vehicles including motorcycles must keep out of bicycle lanes unless an exemption applies.

Exceptions

Motor vehicles can travel in a bike lane:

  • for up to 50 metres if picking up passengers when driving a public bus, public minibus or taxi
  • to enter or leave the road or to move to another part of the road, such as a service road or an emergency stopping lane
  • to pass a vehicle that is turning right
  • to enter a marked lane if there is room
  • to turn left (for up to 50 metres)
  • for a line of vehicles
  • if necessary to avoid an obstruction.

Possible defences

It is a defence if it is necessary to drive into the bicycle lane and stop at a place on the lane and the driver is not prohibited under the rules from stopping there (for example not in a no-stopping lane).

Roller-bladers, skaters or e-personal transporters on bike paths travelling on bicycle path or separated footpath designed for bicycles must keep out of the path of a bicycle.

Maximum penalty

The penalty for vehicles that drive in a bicycle lane contrary to the rules is 5 penalty units.

See Wheelchairs, blades, scooters, skateboards and e-personal transporters.

Give way to bicycles

Vehicles have to give way to a bicycle that is moving through an intersection with a green bicycle light.

Vehicles with bike carriers (bike racks)

Drivers must not allow any bicycle rack to obscure vehicle number plate.

Operators of registered vehicles must ensure that number plates are clearly visible. The number plate must be:

  • illuminated at night
  • clearly visible from 20 metres away.

Hand painted numberplates are not permitted. If rack interferes with visibility must:

  • obtain plate from VicRoads
  • temporarily attach obscured plate to bike rack.

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)

  • r. 62—motorists must give way to bicycles where there is a green bicycle sign
  • r. 141(2)—a rider of a bicycle must not ride past, or overtake, to the left of a left-turning vehicle that is giving a left change of direction signal
  • r. 144—keeping a safe distance when overtaking
  • s. 144A—keeping a safe distance when passing to the right of a bicycle
  • r. 148—driver must give way when moving from one marked lane to another
  • r. 153—creates an offence and penalty for cars driving in bicycle lanes
  • r. 158—lists the exceptions that allow vehicles to be in bike lanes
  • r. 215—using lights when driving at night or in hazardous weather conditions
  • r. 269—opening doors and getting out of a vehicle etc
  • r. 269(3)—a person must not cause a hazard to any person or vehicle by opening a door of a vehicle, leaving a door of a vehicle open, or getting off, or out of, a vehicle
  • r. 400—defines a bicycle carrier
  • Pt. 14 Div. 2—rules for pedestrians using wheeled recreation devices

See Road Safety Road Rules 2017 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • Schedule 7—traffic infringements

See Road Safety (General) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

VicRoads

A section of the Victorian Road Commission site is dedicated to cyclist issues.

See VicRoads—Bike riders and sharing the road(opens in a new window).

Bicycle Network

This peak body promotes cycling in Victoria.

See:

Updated