It’s a big issue that all cyclists face – staying safe while out there enjoying their sport, maintaining or improving their health, and doing what they love most – riding their bicycle.
For many Australians, cycling is becoming more popular. Whether it is to get some extra exercise or a more environmentally friendly way to commute to and from work. Here we list everything you need to know about road safety, cycling, and getting home in one piece.
Benefits of Cycling
First, let’s check out just some of the benefits that come with riding a bicycle.
- A More Enjoyable Commute – If your cycling route boasts beautiful scenery, then you’re able to reap the benefits of immersing yourself in nature. This can improve your mood, decrease stress levels, and provide you with several other mental and physical health benefits.
- A Sharper Mind – Although the calming surroundings may not make you feel as if you’re doing an intense workout, you are, in fact, working out. The daily exercise involved in a simple bicycle ride has been found to increase your energy, and even reduce fatigue. Whether you decide to get out there for just 30 minutes or an hour, cycling regularly can improve your reaction time, memory, and even your creative thinking.
- A Healthier Planet – Cycling isn’t just good for you; it’s also a powerful tool for preserving our home and saving our planet. It’s a self-powered form of active travel, and its carbon footprint is non-existent when you compare it to other forms of transport like driving a car.
- A Different Perspective – Opting to ride a bicycle around your local area instead of taking a car can provide you with a completely different perspective on where you call home. Avoid boring roads that you’re used to, and let the excitement rise as you discover new places.
Cars, Pedestrians & General Cycling Road Safety Tips
To ensure optimum road safety whilst cycling and vulnerable, follow the below tips directly from the NSW government:
- Always wear an approved bicycle helmet, properly fitted and fastened.
- Always obey the road rules, including traffic lights, stop signs and give way signs.
- Allow pedestrians a metre of space on shared paths, where possible.
- Always travel at a speed that is safe for you and the pedestrians around you, especially if you are riding on a footpath or shared path.
- When approaching pedestrians, always ring your bell, slow down and prepare to stop and give way.
- Ride in a predictable manner so that other road users do not have to react suddenly to your movements.
- Give hand signals when changing lanes or turning left or right.
- Make yourself visible by wearing bright, light or reflective clothing.
- Plan your route using quieter streets, bicycle paths or shared paths.
- Always be in control of your bicycle. It is an offence to ride with both hands off the handlebars, feet off the pedals or to carry anything that prevents you from having control.
Is Your Bicycle in a Roadworthy Condition?
When on a bicycle out and about, road safety should be at the forefront of your mind. However, to comply with road safety, don’t you need to first ensure your bicycle is roadworthy?
Of course you do, especially if you’re a beginner. You don’t want to put yourself and others at risk in an accident that could’ve been easily prevented.
Overall, most states will require that all bikes be fitted with one effective brake at a minimum. However, we recommend that you get your bike into a service shop at least once a year to ensure that your bicycle meets safety standards.
How Do Motorised Bicycles Differ from Regular Bicycles?
The only real difference is in the motorised bicycles’ appearance, and of course, the addition of the electrical drive system. Apart from that, both motorised and mechanical bicycles have the same wheels, handlebars, and body geometry.
Both must follow the same road safety rules, but motorised bicycles are subject to both power and speed limits. See below:
- The laws encompassing motorised bikes expect a motor output of no more than 200w for pedal cycles that include an electric auxiliary motor and 250w when used on a certified pedelec (power-assisted pedal) bike.
- A motor is usually speed limited. If you want to go faster, it would require you to use your own steam. A fitted engine is capable of speed and power figures beyond the legal limit; however, the limitation is in place for road safety.
Laws by State
For more information, click below to view bike-related laws and rules specific to your State or Territory:
Other road users often criticise cyclists for not always obeying the road safety rules. We know that it’s faster to skip through a red light or simply ride on the sidewalk. However, you must bear in mind that actions like this don’t just generate many arguments, but they are also super dangerous.
A lot of road safety depends on being able to predict behaviours. Cars need to learn how to anticipate cyclists, and cyclists need to do the same back. It requires both to work together to understand the rules and regulations, and continuously be cautious.