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Queensland removes three frustrating road rules for cyclists

Alia Parker's picture
Bicycle lane in Australia. Cycle Traveller

Three frustrating road rules for cyclists in Queensland have officially been removed, making riding a bike safer and more convenient.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has made changes to the rules that govern how cyclists are to cross at zebra crossings, pass through roundabouts and use bicycle lanes.

These sensible changes mimic how many cyclists already behave, removing the risk of being fined for menial offences.

Zebra crossings

As of January 1, 2015, cyclists in the state no longer need to dismount and walk their bike across a zebra crossing, but may now ride across after having first come to a stop before crossing.

“They will then have to proceed slowly and safely, give way to any pedestrians on the crossing and keep to the left of any oncoming cyclists and people using personal mobility devices,” the department said.

“This change will complement the ability of cyclists to ride on footpaths in Queensland. It will also make the rules for cyclists on crossings more consistent for the benefit of all road users and will speed up the journey for cyclists.”

Bike lanes

Cyclists can now choose whether or not to ride in a bicycle lane where one is provided.

“The lane is there if they wish to use it but they will not be obliged to use it,” the department said. “It will take away an unnecessary limitation on cyclists using the road as legitimate road users.”

It said the change brings the rules for cyclists in line with other special purpose lanes (for example, buses do not have to use bus lanes). The rule is of particular significance to road cyclists, which travel at a faster pace and are often restricted when using bike lanes.

Roundabouts

In a great move toward improved safety as well as convenience, Queensland cyclists no longer need to ride on the far left side of the road on a single lane roundabout. Instead, they can now ride on any part of the road appropriate for their point of exit.

“This change will make the rules for cyclists on all types of roundabouts more consistent for the benefit of all road users and will give cyclists more flexibility about where they wish to ride on single lane roundabouts as legitimate road users,” the department said.

Past changes

The changes to the rules follow some significant changes in 2014. In April of that year, the government introduced a two-year trial for a minimum passing distance of one metre for vehicles travelling at speeds up to 60km/h and 1.5 metres for those travelling above that speed.

It also amended the rules to allow motorists to cross centre lines, straddle lane lines or drive on painted traffic islands to make it easier for them to pass cyclists, when it is safe to do so.
Another significant change in October, 2014, saw the introduction of increased fines for cyclists who broke the road rules, bringing fines into line with fines for motorists.

What do you think of the new rules? Are there any other rules you would like to see changed?

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