Bicycle Road Signals 101: A Guide for NSW Cyclists
It is essential that every driver knows how to follow road signs and obey traffic rules. Regardless of the kind of vehicle you drive, it is imperative. This is one way of avoiding accidents on the road.
Road rules in Australia consider bicycles as a type of vehicle. Bicycle riders, therefore, must conform to the rules other drivers follow, in addition to bicycle-specific rules. In this article, we give you a brief overview of bicycle road signals you should follow when cycling in NSW.
Use Bicycle Lanes
Bicycle lanes are continually being added to roads in Australia. Cyclists are required to use the provided bicycle lane unless it is not practical to do so. Consequently, drivers are not allowed to use the bicycle lane.
If there are no bicycle lanes, the bicycle rider can use the shoulder of the road as a bicycle lane. But not all roads allow bicycle riders. In some cases, bicycle riders are not allowed on urban motorways. There are also other roads with signs which indicate that bicycles are disallowed. These are usually multi-lane roads with high speed limits and very unsafe for cyclists.
Many roads in Australia have shared bicycle and pedestrian footpaths which run parallel to the road. You can also choose to use the road if you want to. There is no need for you to use a separate bicycle path or off-road bicycle lanes. Either way, you must learn and follow the regulations when using the road, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian footpaths.
Follow Road Signs
Since a bicycle is considered as a type of vehicle in Australia, riders are expected to follow the regulations and road signs meant for cars. Yes, there are also bicycle road signs that a bicycle rider must follow and observe in Australia. Here are some of them.
1. Regulatory road signs
Among the most common road signs that bicycle riders must observe are regulatory road signs. These regulatory road signs inform drivers of traffic regulations and rules. They must be obeyed by road users, or else they’ll risk getting fines or points deducted from their license.
Examples of these regulatory road signs are basic signs like:
- ONE WAY
- KEEP RIGHT/LEFT
- NO ENTRY
- NO PARKING
- NO U-TURN
- NO LEFT/RIGHT TURN
- HOSPITAL ZONE
- SAFETY ZONE
- SCHOOL ZONE
- WRONG WAY
- REDUCE SPEED
2. Warning signs
Warning signs are those signs which show changes on the road ahead. These may be permanent or temporary traffic hazards and obstacles.
Among these warning signs are:
- 90-degree turn to left/right
- Series of curves ahead first to left/right
- Dangerous curve greater than 120 degrees to left/right
- Exit advisory speed
- Side road intersection from left/right
- Crossroad intersection
- Roundabout ahead
- Traffic signals ahead
- Pedestrian signals ahead
3. Guiding and information signs
These signs give directions and information for routes and destinations. Guide and information signs also provide additional traffic information to guide drivers.
Examples of Guide and Information signs are:
- Emergency Median Crossing
- Alphanumeric route markers
- Tourist Drive Markers
- State Route Markers
- National Route Markers
- National Highway Markers
- EXIT, and a lot more
4. Hazard Markers
Drivers must obey Hazard Markers. They show the directions or actions to take when approaching the obstacle or driving past the hazard.
Hazard Markers include, among others:
- Right/Left Marker
- Island Marker (right/left)
- Pass either side
- Narrow marker (left/right)
- Curve marker (left/right)
- T-junction marker
- Slippery road ahead
5. Roadwork Signs
These are signs to keep you informed of the changing conditions and to keep road workers safe.
- Roadworks Ahead
- Road Plant Ahead
- Workers Ahead
- Traffic Hazard
- Prepare to Stop
- Works End
- Loose Gravel
Observe and follow the signs
If you are a road user, it is essential that you observe and follow road signs. It is one of the most vital things you can do, especially if you are a bicycle rider. Watching out for and following road signs can prevent accidents from happening, and can eventually save lives.
When following other vehicles and overtaking
Bicycle riders are permitted to overtake on the left side of the road. This action is allowed if the bicycle rider is in the bicycle lane. There is an exception, though, when approaching a vehicle indicating a left turn at an intersection, junction, or roundabout.
Indicate and turn
Most road accidents involving bicycles occur at intersections. That is why it is critical for both drivers and cyclists to be aware of and observe road regulations and signs. If you are a cyclist on a roundabout, you must clearly indicate and give way to motorists. A cyclist is permitted to take the lane before entering an intersection or roundabout.
When exiting a multi-lane roundabout, the rider must give way to other vehicles.
A cyclist must use their arm to indicate to turn as bicycles are not generally equipped with indicators. Use your arm to clearly show your intent to slow down, turn, or change direction.
When riding in a group
Bicycle riders are permitted to ride side-by-side provided that they are no more than 1.5 metres away from each other. Overtaking slow cyclists is allowed on the right-hand side. The cyclist must fall back into the side by side formation after overtaking a slow rider.
The basic ‘keep left’ rule applies to provide other vehicles the chance to pass. Bicycle riders are not allowed to ride abreast in multiple lanes.
Maintaining control of your bicycle
A cyclist must maintain control of their bicycle at all times. Just like drivers of other vehicles, a cyclist must be familiar with his bike. Before traveling, a rider must make sure that the condition of his bicycle is good and must check whatever is needed to be checked regarding the bike.
Being aware of road signs and rules and learning them by heart is one way to keep a bicycle rider safe on the road. A lot of other bigger vehicles ore on the road with a cyclist, that is why it is always wise to maintain control, have the presence of mind, and to be alert, keen and observant.