BICYCLE LAWS

The Transport Operations (Road Use Management-Road Rules) Regulation 2009 contains rules for Queensland bicycle riders. Some of these rules are not widely known.

A rider must be “astride” the seat facing forward unless the bicycle is not built to be ridden astride (e.g. recumbent bicycles) pursuant to section 245(a). Whereas, s 245(b) provides that the rider must have at least one hand on the handlebars.

A rider on a footpath or shared path must keep left unless it is impracticable to do so and give way to any pedestrians on the path pursuant to s 250(1).

Helmets have been compulsory in Queensland since 1991. A rider must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on their head pursuant to s 256(1). Interestingly, in France, helmets are only mandatory for children under 12 years.

There are exemptions to the helmet rule. A rider can carry a medical certificate exempting them from wearing a helmet for medical reasons pursuant to s 256(4)(a). Religious riders who customarily wear headdress which makes helmet wearing impracticable are also exempted under s 256(5). The religious exemption has applied in Queensland since 2013. In Germany, the religious exemption was rejected due to safety concerns.

You must not ride a bicycle that does not have at least one effective brake pursuant to s 258(a). Freestyle BMX riders commonly ride “brakeless” at skate parks. This is because brake cables prevent bar spin tricks. Riding brakeless is against the law and skate parks are deemed to be a “road” under the expansive definition in the legislation.

Your bicycle must have a bell, horn or similar warning device in working order pursuant to s 258(b). It also turns out that some road riding enthusiasts remove the bell to reduce weight and drag thinking a “holler” is a satisfactory warning. In 2016, it was reported that a Queensland police operation at the bottom of Mt Coot-tha resulted in a number of riders being pulled over and fined for not having a bell.

You must have a flashing or steady white light on the front of your bicycle and a flashing or steady red light on the rear when you ride at night under s 259(a)(b). You must also have a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle pursuant to s 259(c).  Many riders remove the rear red reflector when installing lights which is actually an infringement of the regulation.


Greg McKinnon is an Associate Solicitor with extensive knowledge of criminal and regulatory offences. He can provide you with invaluable advice on road rules and your rights and responsibilities as a road user. Co-author, Elizabeth-Erin Valassakis, is a Law Student gaining significant experience while working with Greg in several matters. If you have a query or require assistance, contact Stephens & Tozer today.

14 October 2019

Category: All / Criminal Law