Minimum distance for passing cyclists
Drivers will be required to give a minimum of one metre when passing a cyclist where the speed limit is 60km/h or less or 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60km/h. This law will come into effect on 25 October 2015.
This change is in response to the Report of the Citizen's Jury on Sharing the Road Safely.
Cyclists have less protection than motorists and are more likely to be injured if a crash happens, so they need adequate space when on the road. The rule applies to all types of vehicles including cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses when passing a cyclist.
To assist with compliance of this rule, if a driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and can do so safely, they are permitted to:
- Drive to the right of the centre of the road
- Drive to the right of the dividing line
- Drive on a dividing strip that is at the same level as the road
- Drive on or over continuous lines around a painted island
- Straddle lanes
- Move across lanes
- Drive not completely in a single line of traffic.
Penalty for drivers is $287 fine + $60 victims of crime levy, and 2 demerit points.
Riding on footpaths
Cyclists of all ages will be allowed to ride on footpaths from 25 October 2015. Footpaths provide a safe and sometimes more direct alternative for cyclists.
When riding on a footpath or shared path, a cyclist must:
- Keep to the left unless it is impracticable to do so;
- Give way to any pedestrian on the footpath or shared path; and
- Give a warning (by bell, horn or other means) to pedestrians or others using the footpath, if it is necessary to avert danger.
It is still an offence for a cyclist to ride where a sign prohibits bicycle riding on footpaths which are considered unsuitable for shared use.
Quick facts about the new laws:
View our Frequently Asked Questions on the new laws
Where can I find all of the road rules related to cyclists?
The Cycling and the Law Handbook is a comprehensive guide to all the road rules that apply to cyclists.
What if a driver can’t give a metre?
Drivers will need to check their surroundings to ensure it is safe before indicating and passing the cyclist leaving at least the minimum distance. If it is not safe they will need to slow down and wait until it is safe to pass.
Will a cyclist need to give a metre when passing a vehicle?
Cyclists are expected to keep a safe distance when passing other traffic. However, the minimum passing distance will apply to motorists, not cyclists. This is because of the greater risk faced by cyclists when motorists pass them too closely. Cyclists do not pose the same risk to motorists.
What if a cyclist pulls up beside a vehicle within the minimum passing distance?
If a vehicle is stopped, for example at traffic lights or in a line of traffic, and a cyclist stops beside it within the minimum passing distance, the driver will not be committing an offence. When the traffic starts moving the cyclist is likely to ride ahead, and the driver can only pass when they can safely leave the minimum passing distance.
Where can I ride my bicycle?
In South Australia from 25 October you may ride on either the road or the footpath. You may ride on the footpath even if there is a bicycle lane on the road. If you are riding on the road you will still be required to ride in a bike lane where one is provided.
When riding in a pedestrian area (the footpath, or shared path), you are required to keep left and give way to pedestrians. Some footpaths may be signed "no bikes" on a sign pole or path marking, in which case you must use the road instead.
Is it safe for cyclists to ride on footpaths?
Cyclists are more likely to use the footpath where the road is considered unsafe or inconvenient (eg, one-way streets) rather than for the entire trip. Research suggests that riding on the footpath does not increase crash risk and that cyclists are more careful of pedestrians and travel more slowly on footpaths than on shared paths.
How will I know if a cyclist is approaching on a footpath?
Cyclists are required to give warning by using their bell or horn or other means, if necessary to avert danger. In conditions of low light they are required to display a white light to the front and a red light and reflector to the rear.
Will footpaths be marked with lanes separating bicycles from pedestrians?
No, because pedestrians would be restricted to using half the footpath and commit an offence under rule 239 if they strayed into the part designated for the use of bicycles.
What is the rule for motorists backing out of driveways?
A driver entering a road from private land or a car park etc must give way to anyone using the footpath – pedestrians and cyclists.
- Read more about cycling road rules in Cycling and the Law (PDF)
- Find out about road rule offences and penalties
- Read more about the Report of the Citizen's Jury on Sharing the Road Safely