Cyclists on the Road

On a daily basis, we experience cyclists on our roads. The majority of the time they present no problems, however at times, drivers can be frustrated when they need to slow down or need to deviate their path to cater for cyclists.

Today I would like to consider the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

You can sum the situation up by firstly starting with the premise that a bicycle is considered a vehicle. They are to adhere to the road rules in the same way that a motorist must.

There are generally 2 issues that drivers have with cyclists. The first being the side by side riding which many cyclists do, and the argument of “why don’t they get on the cycle paths”.

Regarding the double file riding, it is very common practice for training or social riders to do this. The law states that it is perfectly legal to do so, and if overtaking other cyclists, it is even legal to ride three wide. The rule in relation to riding alongside another cyclist is that the riders must not be more than 1.5 metres apart. In an attempt to “single out” or provide room for an overtaking car whilst another is approaching from the other direction, the riders can put themselves in far greater risk than if they maintain their position, however this can mean that the driver of the vehicle will need to travel at speeds as low as 25km/h until it is safe to overtake. It is simply a case that riders and drivers need to show courtesy and respect for the safe use of roads.

The second issue is “why don’t they use the paths?” This can be answered simply with “because it’s unsafe and they don’t have to”. Many of the paths are shared, and with training speeds of riders being upwards of 40km/h it is simply not safe to pass a walker, child or pet at these speeds. The cyclist has a legal right to use the road, and overall provides a far safer situation to do so.

It’s a situation where commonsense from both parties will provide a safe environment for everyone.

If you have any questions you would like answered either confidentially or via this medium, please email us at

This is intended for general information and does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought.

On February 16th, 2011, posted in: Know the Law by
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