Car drivers often complain about push bike riders on roads as they are slow and can hold up traffic. For bike riders, it’s usually quite dangerous to share the road with cars. One wrong move and riders could be flattened by two tons of moving metal. That is why many people opt to ride their bikes on footpaths, but is this common practice legal? We find out.
Urban biker image from Shutterstock
While pedestrians may get annoyed with sharing the pavement with bicycles, it is a safer option for riders than risking it on the roads. Unfortunately, several states in Australia have laws against riding bikes on footpaths and if you are caught doing so you could be fined on the spot. Fines range from $50 to $200.
In New South Wales and Victoria, children aged 12 and under and adults who supervise them can ride on a footpath provided that it’s not in an area where bicycle riding is expressly prohibited. So watch out for any signs in parks and other areas.
Western Australia has a similar arrangement. The state allows children under the age of 12 to ride on footpaths but there’s no exception for adults.
Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania are more lenient when it comes to this. They do allow cyclists of all ages to share footpaths with pedestrians so long as it’s not in an area where there’s a sign saying you can’t ride a bike there.
In South Australia, from October 25, cyclists of all ages will be allowed to ride on footpaths unless its in an area with a sign that prohibits it.
For bike riders from all states, it is important to keep in mind that when you share the footpath with people, you need to obey some basic rules. These include keeping left unless overtaking, giving way to pedestrians at all times (including people on skateboards and rollerskates), and traveling in single file when riding in groups. Having an animal tied to a moving bike is against the rules too.
Did you just catch yourself wondering if something was legal or not? Let us know and we may be able to answer it in our next Is It Legal? feature.