Cycling and road rules

hi all, here’s an excerpt from an email i just sent a friend re: cycling and road rules

[b]"Some notes on cycling laws etc.

This was from a WA website, but I’m pretty sure it applies to ACT or is, at least, very similar.

“[Bicycles] cannot overtake on the left side of a motor vehicle if that motor vehicle is moving and indicating to turn left.
Note: cyclists are permitted to overtake on the left, a line of motor vehicles that are stationary, at locations such as traffic lights.[/i]”

Remember the story I told you of how I almost mangled a rider in my car on Northborne Ave. and you thought maybe I should have given way? – Seems to me that he was in the wrong as I was moving and indicating to turn left and he shot up the side forcing me to stop within inches of turning him into decorative road art… We should be aware of this rule to protect ourselves out there.

The note: there is good to know because I regularly do this, and I think there’s a bit of conjecture over whether it’s allowed or not. I got a dirtiest look from another rider yesterday when I did it at the lights turning right onto Antil Street from Cowper Street (just after the pool). I snuck up the left and he stayed behind the 10 or so cars shaking his head at me… I thought ‘Well that’s your fault buddy if you don’t know the rules’."[/b]

I thought maybe I’d start a thread here for us to discuss any confusing road rules that people might want to clarify and also to perhaps share stories/anecdotes of where we’ve been in the wrong / right when it comes to road rules and cars etc.

So post your thoughts and questions regarding road rules and lets discuss :slight_smile: :smiley:

Whether you’re ‘right’ or not won’t matter if you’re dead or in hospital.

a very valid comment and i most certainly agree, although it’s not quite conducive to an intelligent discussion on the road rules… what i was trying to do with my post was to get people to share stories of incidents that they’ve been involved in (whether they were right or wrong) to help raise awareness of the cycling and road rules. I know for me, not having cycled on the road for very long, discussions like this help me learn what to look out for on the road and armed with this knowledge I can atleast mitigate the risk of ending up ‘dead or in hospital’

How would you know he was shaking his head at you, if he was 10 cars back? He might have just been listening to his iPod. Or commenting to himself on the weather. Or perving on the driver of the car next to him. Or chewing his cud. Or just waiting for the light to change. Why would you care, really, when you were about to get left-hooked by a Vogon construction vessel to clear the way for an interplanetary bypass? :smiley:

i was checking out his bike as i was pulling up - instead of a nod i got a disappointed head shake… haha … the reason i cared was because it made me think perhaps i was doing the wrong thing (hence why i’ve started this thread) afterwards i was thinking geez, maybe i shouldn’t have done that…

Vogon construction vessel to clear the way for an interplanetary bypass?

Does the sonic manipulator pilot one of these?

iv often thought about this road rule esspecially lately as when i was riding on monday a car overtook me and then indicated to turn left. seeing as there was not enough warning i still sped past the left of his car. is this illegal?

Not if you’re in a bike lane. Otherwise it’s (legally) the same as overtaking on the left in your car.

The thing about road rules are that they are motor vehicle orienated, not cycling orientated. This is important because from the very outset, it’s not a level playing field.

This becomes apparent every single time you go cycling. It doesn’t matter whether the car is doing something illegal, or whether the cyclist is doing something illegal because you need to ‘manipulate’ the law in order to function on the road. Often this is obvious, othertimes it’s very confusing, and you end up getting honked! :slight_smile:

Sure, there are obvious occasions when you should follow the law, like at traffic lights, but whilst in motion, it’s pretty much very man for himself.
I don’t mean to sound cynical, but each cyclist needs to take responsibility for themselves, regardless of what is deemed legal or illegal.

The example of overtaking on the left of a car, you really just need to make sure the driver sees you before you put yourself in a compromising position. Whether the car is doing something illegal or not, doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.

I always thought the rules for cycling were exactly the same as for cars

Well, actually I think it is conducive to an intelligent discussion about road rules.

Our society is being increasingly regulated. There are rules about everything and signposts warning about signposts. And with more rules and signposts, I think there is more danger.

More rules and more signs means people are using their judgment less and in the process losing the ability to actually show good judgment. Hence my comment that being within the law doesn’t necessarily help you.

So, my point is, have a conscience and ride/drive/walk/parachute/whatever with consideration for others, and yourself. I think that is more important than rules.

It’s good to know what the road rules are but remember that most people don’t know, and even worse, lots of people think they know, but they’re mistaken.

I know somebody who doored a cyclist because he thought that cyclists weren’t allowed to pass on the left, so he didn’t think to check before he got out of the car. He’s a good guy and he made a mistake because he didn’t know better. He was as traumatised as the cyclist and was very upset that he’d caused an injury (although thankfully in this case the injuries were almost non-existent).

So…learn the rules but don’t expect others to know. And above all, keep yourself and others out of danger as much as possible, regardless what the rules say.

You asked for thoughts, so I gave you some :slight_smile:

What are these “bike lanes” you speak of? Some new-fangled southern sorcery?

If you had mangled them would it make it ok if you were legally in the right? As a responsible driver I would have thought that you might reconsider your actions if you are aware they are about to endanger someone - even if you won’t go to jail for it.

I ride like everyone is a auto-philic self-righteous bastard, and haven’t died yet. If you feel endangered, make yourself seen and get ready to back-off.

I know cars are allowed to go in the bike lane 50m before they turn left. But nice drivers only do in when they are moving, rather than traffic jamming up my commute. Nice drivers exercise judgement…


You just have to read the Vicroads website section of road rules (which used to refer to every thing on the road as a ‘vehicle’)…It haz bein dummend down 4 every munky 2 bee able to oprate a moda kar an play sic tunz on da doofdoof, wiz me blow-off valve…

I agree.
When i was in India and saw how their traffic works (whats in front is your problem, whats behind is their problem) i kind of realised that too many rules obscures peoples personal judgement.
im not sayin rules are bad, and that we should drive/ride like Indians*, but use personal judgement and assume nobody knows anything.

*although i didnt see roadrage, did see at least road 4 fatalities. and the aftermath

indeed i did and what a top post :slight_smile:

i see your point but i’m not trying to say that ‘if i hit him, well atleast it was his fault’. - the actual incident happened very quickly and he was actually in my blind spot when i checked my side mirror for the turn (a quick head check is what revealed his location to me forcing me to stop). i had seen him earlier when i over took him (about 100m before the turn). his judgement was at fault in this instance, perhaps he was using ‘the rules’ to get through that instance?

even with these few posts, the best advice seems to be to ride using all of your best judgement and don’t think that the ‘rules’ will protect you.

keep em coming dudes

i tend to move to teh right of the left lane if there is a big stack of traffic turning left.
i get through safely, and i dont disrupt teh flow of the cars.

just dont die, thats the only rule you need to follow as a cyclist.

Caught the end of A Current Affair and there was some preview on tonights show on cyclists disobeying road rules. One clip had a cyclist being dragged by a truck think his glove got stuck! Looks like they’re gonna roast us!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! (wait, that’s ‘We’re not stopping traffic - we ARE traffic!’ in the old tongue. Anyway.)

(flowery arm movements) (chalk inscriptions and candles) “bike bike bike!” - I summon the demon of cyclist licencing and testing.

How do cyclists who have never driven or taken the test know about all these wonderful road rules? We can’t presume everyone has a drivers licence in their back pocket, or they at least sat the tests.

Is this why cops always go ‘did you know that blah blah is against the law?’ Because they know that there are people on the road who don’t?

Should it be mandatory? Who would issue them? Vicroads? I’m only putting this forward because it’s a common cry on the heraldsun comments (and over at 3AW) every time bicycle commuting comes up. Usually it’s just the same old misunderstanding of rego = roads, whereas vehicle registration only barely covers the administration of having a car on the road, plates, licensing and testing. “If cyclists don’t pay rego, they shouldn’t be on the road”.

Getting a tow’s illegal though, that’s a fair cop :frowning:
Commercial television takes hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the car companies. I don’t think ACA (hardly a bastion of balanced journalism) will ever air a pro-cycling story, unless it’s about a charity ride on closed roads.

This is one reason I wish CM would just shut up and f_ off, all it will take is one cranky MP going ‘why are they running reds and getting away with it?’ and it will be the worse for everyone.