Cycling is fun and there is much more to cycling than the fun part. There are many health benefits associated with cycling. It is good for your heart, muscles, waistline, and immune system and even enhances your mental health. What more? You may even live longer than your lazy buddy next door, if you take up cycling on a regular basis. But when I took up cycling, I was completely unaware of the bright side of the cycling phenomenon. Cars don’t come cheap. After spending $20000 – $40000 on a reliable model, you have to get ready to face the bills galore. It begins with the yearly registration and continues with insurance, parking fines, speeding fines , red camera fines , quarterly service, ever increasing petrol bill and the RACV membership . A fist quality Chinese made cycle costs only $120 at Kmart. It lasts for one year with zero maintenance and when the tyres worn out, the cheaper price makes it easier to change cycle instead of the tyre. The only accessory, a helmet, comes under $20.
I myself, the happy go lucky cyclist with full of praise for Melbourne roads and its commuters, inaugurated my cycle ride on a Sunday. But things did not go as good as I imagined. Many drivers deliberately swerved their vehicle close to me, pushing me to the side. P-platers, especially the teenagers were more than happy to show the obscene middle finger gesture time and again in the safety of their car. I started adjusting the frequent remarks like ‘you fucking Indian cunt ‘for ‘hi, how are you’. I was left with no choice but to bid adieu to the roads and to migrate to the footpath. Footpaths are generally safe and brought back the happy riding days I imagined. It is not legal for adults to ride on a footpath in Victoria. Those good days lasted until one day a balloon faced man at Kylta Road in Heidelberg West objected to my footpath riding. Definitely Melbourne is not a planet heaven for Cyclists as painted by the Government and the Go green advocates. Cycle lanes now appeared in many areas in Melbourne only projects a false security. Vehicles parked in the bicycle lanes increases the risks for cyclists, many fold. This prompted me to look for the rights and regulations for cyclists in Melbourne. These rights and regulations will be similar, with minor variations all around Australia.
Rules applicable for bicycle riders in Victoria
When entering single-lane roundabouts, riders must give way to any vehicle already on the roundabout. The safest way to negotiate a single-lane roundabout is to check over your shoulder, indicate with your right arm that you are moving out from the edge of the road and merge into the middle of the lane.
At multi-lane roundabouts, riders may make a right turn from either the left or right lane. If choosing to make the turn from the left lane, cyclists must give way to vehicles crossing their path to leave the roundabout.
Transit lanes are used for vehicles containing a certain number of people. These lanes may also be used by buses, taxis, hire cars, motorcycles, bicycles and emergency vehicles, regardless of the number of people in them.
If bicycle lane is marked on a road , cyclists are required to ride on the bicycle lane . Other vehicles may use them for not more than 50 metres to enter or leave the road at a drive way or intersection
Bus lanes are for buses, but can also be used by bicycles
Regulation for use of Bus only lanes for cyclists
Cyclists are not allowed to use bus only lanes. Bus only lanes are reserved for buses only.
Riding side by side
Cyclists can ride two abreast but not more than 1.5metres apart.
Regulations for use of Footpaths for cyclists
Children under 12 years of age and the adult supervising a child under 12 years old can ride on a footpath. . Those above 12 years old are not allowed to ride on a footpath, unless indicated by a signage.
The two categories allowed to ride on a footpath are
Those with a medical or an intellectual disability and have a certificate signed by a medical practitioner that states that it is undesirable, impractical or inexpedient for them to ride on the road
Those engaged in the delivery of postal articles on behalf of Australia Post
Shared paths can be used by both pedestrians and bicycle riders in a way safe to all users.
How to check your bicycle is roadworthy ?
All bicycles are required to have at least on effective brake , a warning device like bell or horn in working order.
Road rules for Bicycle riders
Road rules also state that the rider of the bicycle must not ride at night or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the rider or the bicycle displays flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200m from the front of the bicycle and a flashing or steady red light and reflector that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle and a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50m from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicles headlight on a low beam
All riders and their passengers (including children in attached seats), “must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened” on their heads unless Vic Roads has issued the rider with a certificate “Approved bicycle helmet” means those approved by Vic Roads and published in the Government Gazette.
Cyclists are not permitted to use hand held mobiles phones while riding. The rider of the bicycle should not carry more persons on the bicycle than the bicycle is designed to carry.
Cyclists are not permitted to ride within two metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres. Riders are also not permitted “to cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver or pedestrian”. Riders are not permitted to be towed by another vehicle or hold onto a moving vehicle.
A rider is permitted to overtake a motor vehicle on the left except where that vehicle is turning left and is giving a left change of direction signal
Riders are prohibited from riding “across a road, or a part of a road, on a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing” . Riders must dismount and walk their bicycles across those crossings. Riders are permitted to ride across a road on a marked foot crossing but only if there is a green bicycle crossing light showing.
Cyclists and drivers behind trams must stay put while tram doors remain open, or pedestrians are on the road at a tram stop. From 2012 November failing to follow is fined $292. The fine for not wearing a helmet also increased to $146 from 2012.
Good online resources for cyclist can be found at the website
|Sir Edmund Barton was Australia’s first Prime minister. He was Prime minister of Australia from 1901 – 1903.