Setting the record straight on South Australia’s Bike Laws

This article has been written by Andersons Solicitor’s Law Clerk, Julia Arena and settled by Senior Partner, Dion McCaffrie.

Since 2012 SA cyclists have accounted for 4% of fatalities and 9% of serious injuries on our roads. A total of 21 cyclists have been killed on our roads in that time, while 331 have been seriously injured and an astounding 2,500 have received minor injuries.

Despite these alarming figures, the age-old tug-of-war between cyclists and motorists continues. Motorists bemoan that cyclists are a law unto themselves, while cyclists recount many ‘near misses’ with impatient motorists.

 In the hopes of minimising the above statistics, we’re setting the record straight on some of SA’s most popular cycling laws:

Are cyclists subject to the same basic road rules as drivers of motor vehicles?
Yes, under South Australian law a bicycle is defined as a vehicle, meaning cyclists are subject to the same basic road rules as motorists. For example, cyclists are required to keep as reasonably practicable to the left-hand side of the road or bikeway as possible except when making or about to make a right-hand turn or where the road is divided into lanes.

Do cyclists still need to wear helmets at all times?
Yes, all riders must wear approved bicycle helmets securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head. This rule also applies to bike passengers.

Can cyclists still ride on footpaths?
Yes, this law came into effect in October 2015. Riders of all ages are permitted to ride on footpaths unless there is a ‘no bicycles’ sign displayed. Cyclists must keep left, always give way to pedestrians and ring a bell or provide a verbal warning to alert pedestrians of their presence.

Can cyclists ride in rows of two or more?
Cyclists are permitted to ride two abreast on a carriageway. Any more than two cyclists riding abreast is an offence. During bicycle lane operating times, cyclists riding abreast must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart. This means cyclists are not permitted to ride outside the bike lane unless overtaking (or where it is impractical to do so).

What are the rules for cyclists riding at night?
Cyclists riding at night or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility must display a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bike. The same type of light must be visible from the rear of the bicycle also.  Cyclists are also required to display a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the bike’s rear.

Do cyclists need to give turn signals?
Yes, cyclists must give a right-hand turn signal when about to turn right, change lanes or execute a U-turn.


If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident or want to know more about the State’s bike laws, contact Andersons Solicitor’s Senior Partner, Dion McCaffrieBike SA members receive a free first interview and a 10% discount from Andersons Solicitors on any legal matter.

3 Comments. Leave new

There are some items that are not covered in your (admittedly succinct) summary:
1. Three bicycles can ride abreast if one is overtaking two riding abreast.
2. Bicycles are also required to have a warning device such as bell or horn.
3. Keeping to the left is dependent on obstacles and the quality of the road surface, which may not be obvious to people in cars.
And there are others, covered in

David Bennett
August 23, 2018 10:01 am

Why do you have to have a rear reflector when you have a rear light which is much more visible than a reflector?

Bicycle SA Blog
November 12, 2018 1:48 am

[…] Obeying the road rules when on the road will make your actions predictable –  A bicycle is a vehicle and hence has the same rights and responsibilities on the road as a car or motorbike. Bike SA has a great article on cycling in traffic. For a quick refresh of the law, I recommend you read this article. […]


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