NSW’s Tough New Cycling Laws Explained

NSW’s Tough New Cycling Laws Explained

Cyclists aged over 18 in New South Wales are expected to carry photo ID when they’re out riding from March 1 under new laws introduced by the Baird government. The fines for a range of offences are also increasing by up to 600%. Here’s what you need to know.

The penalty for not wearing a helmet increases from $71 to $319, along with holding onto a moving vehicle, while riding at night without lights increases from $71 to $106.

A number of other offences jump 500 per cent to $425 – the same penalty for motorists, who also receive 3 demerit points – such as running a red light, not stopping at a pedestrian crossing and riding dangerously.

Under the new rules, bicycle riders should also keep a metre’s distance from pedestrians on shared paths, where possible.

Failure to carry ID will lead to a $106 fine from March 2017, with the government offering a one year amnesty as the new laws are bedded down.

Last Thursday, police issued more than 450 infringement notices to cyclists in Sydney’s CBD in a major safety crackdown, including 210 for not wearing helmets, 103 for disobeying traffic lights, and 80 for riding on the footpath. Another 64 cyclists received cautions or warnings.

The changes are part of a new safety program, which also will expect motorists to maintain a 1-metre distance from a cyclist when passing at speeds of 60km/h or less, and 1.5 metres at speeds over 60km/h. Failure to keep the minimum distance when passing a bicycle rider is a $319 fine and a two demerit points penalty.

The above video explains the new rules for motorists.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.


  • So what.. when we’re behind a cyclist who’s going incredibly slow and we can safely overtake, just not with that 1m+ gap, we’re stuck with a 50 car line up behind us? sounds good

    • Your view is misinformed, cyclist don’t hold up your journey. Other cars do – traffic jams are really ‘car jams’ – where too many cars are on the road for the entire system to handle. Bikes on the other hand In any reasonable dense area of traffic are going to be faster, have zero emissions and free up the road. Its called the future, look forward to it.

      • I’m sorry but that’s just not true. Every time I use a main road I hold up traffic. In fact, yesterday the new rules made it worse because I was riding in the kerbside lane, outside some parked cars, and an SUV driver correctly noticed that she could not legally pass me in the other lane, thereby holding up morning peak hour traffic until I got past the parked cars. The 1m rule should not apply across lane boundaries but, AFAIK, it does.

        As for emissions, cyclists emit up to 15 times more CO2 than people sitting in their car and around four times more than someone walking, although a car will emit more than a cyclist overall.

      • When I leave for work in the morning (5:30) I am almost the only car on the road in my suburb but get held up constantly by the cycling exercise crowd at every round about. It’s not the cars holding me up but the cyclists riding 3 abreast down a main road.

  • Screw your not allowed on footpaths laws. We’re not all part of the speed demon lycra wearing roadbike brigade, and after being clipped by a dozy bus driver in a designated bike lane nowhere near a bus stop riding on the road isn’t something I really consider safe. A 1m gap rule just makes it easier to designate fault after an accident. It doesn’t stop an accident, as nobody will follow it.

    • Most people already do follow it. It is very rare that I get a near miss from anyone on the road and usually when I do it seems to be someone who is simply a good judge of distance. That said, one day in 2011 I rode up to the local hardware shop and woke up several hours later in hospital with a broken collarbone, three broken ribs and a serious concussion. My helmet was split right down the back. To this day I have no idea what happened but it hasn’t changed my riding habits one, little bit. One serious incident in 45 years of cycling on the roads makes cycling seem incredibly safe to me.

  • “Come now, people! It’s all for the sake of safety (and absolutely nothing at all to do with revenue raising; I mean, it helps, but that has absolutely nothing at all to do with it). Just us—your friendly local government— looking out for your safety. That’s all. ^_^ “

  • The redneck state (as you Mexican’s like to call it) has had the 1m rule between cars and bikes for a while now and it works pretty well. Maybe we’re just a more progressive state up here…
    As for bike riders needing a licence… does the NS in NSW stand for Nanny State??? I’ve got a new slogan for you guys “Come to NSW and leave your common sense at the border. We’ve got your safety covered by millions of rules designed to take money out of your pocket if you dare to leave your accommodation”. I reckon this will be a great boost for tourism… in other states!!!

    • Cyclists do not need a license, they simply need to carry a reliable form of photo ID, or a clear picture of it on their smartphone. You can carry your drivers license or your passport if you like. If you don’t have photo ID, you can get it from RMS for $20 or something. It is a complete non-event.

      • Treating who? What state has “state-wide lockout laws”? NSW has lockout laws that are restricted to a very few areas in and around the CBD, as well as a small area in Newcastle, They are places I would rarely go late at night anyway and, if I did, the laws wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to me because I don’t spend the early hours of the morning walking from bar to bar anyway.

        • Clearly Queensland who passed state wide lockouts last week, and is clearly the state bonehead (Who I was replying to, not you) was talking about given he called NSW “Mexicans”. I was pointing out Queenslanders had no right to call anywhere else Nanny State from a superior standing.

    • I thought victoriana were the Mexicans and qld’ers were the Canadians?
      And for lock out laws, let me know how the gold Coast goes with them.

    • Well, if people keep walking dangerously and endangering themselves and others with their reckless walking antics, not long at all. I’m sure we’ll be also forced to wear bubblewrap suits before long.

    • Probably the same way bar and retail staff assess whether or not to ask someone for ID. And if you’re getting stopped by police they are probably going to ask for ID no matter what you’re doing

      • Except in those cases, showing ID serves as positive proof that the person meets the age requirements. Failure to show positive proof results in declination of service.

        In the case of the new bike laws, how does one give positive proof that they are not over eighteen and therefore exempt from the need to show ID?

        • If youre any one in the street asked for Id by police with reasonable suspicion you have or are about to commit a crime you need to provide it. How does being a cyclist prevent you from following laws every one else has to?

          • He asked how will the police know your over 18 and need id if you have no id. I responded with, if they have reason for you to show id you need to provide id. So the point is you pretty much have to carry id regardless of any other factors or age. Commit an offence at any age and can’t provide id you can be detained until your identity is verified.

  • What about when they lane split to the front of the queue?
    The first car beside them can justify getting ahead. Is every other car stuck behind the bike?

    • Cyclists can pass you as close as they like, it’s you who can’t pass them without a metre gap. And lane filtering is completely legal and I think it is more sensible than making cyclists keep their place in the queue, in that many, many sets of light are on crests (because main roads tend to follow ridge lines) so the cyclists will get away much faster and hold up fewer motorists if you let them get to the top of the hill on the red light.

  • Maybe to save them from the stresses of having to carry ID, cyclists can just register with the police and in turn the police give them a special armband with, like a yellow star or something, to show they are doing the right thing.

  • I am all for this. The amount of arrogant cyclists that blatantly disobey road rules and make it unsafe not just for pedestrians and cars but for other bike riders also, highlights the fact that bike riders assume their own rules, not the rules of the state.
    I am a bike rider, and if it makes my journey safer by people being more responsible around me then I am all for it, if it takes a horrendous fine to educate the arrogant ones then maybe that is just what we are left to. At the moment though, they appear to go unchecked. (From SA)

    • Yes, these kinds of deterrents have also worked wonders on arrogant drivers who regularly speed and make themselves nuisances on the roads. We hardly have any incidents on the roads any more. It’s amazing!

  • On the road to my work, cyclists should not be riding on the road if there is a bike path available to them.

    And secondly, does this mean cyclists are not allowed to pass a car when you are stopped at lights? It is frustrating when you have to give way to pass them, then only to stop at a light for you to have to give way and pass them again as they make their way to the front.

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