More and more Aussies are ditching their cars and public transport in favour of riding a bike to work. What was once reserved for lycra-clad athletes is now becoming more popular with approximately 450,000 Australian’s choosing cycling as their main mode of transport to get to work.

And if you’re relatively new to the idea, perhaps a bit unsure as to the road rules when it comes to riding a bike in the city, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below you’ll find all information you need!

how to ride a bike in the cityImage: Bicycle Network

Advantages Of Riding Your Bike To Work Are Abundant. You’ll:

  • Save time on your commute by avoiding peak-hour traffic on the roads
  • Save money on car maintenance and fuel costs
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Save money on parking and toll costs
  • Improve both your mental and physical health

Australian city planning and infrastructure has a long way to go to catch up to European cities that champion cycling, but state governments are making changes to make it safer to cycle in our cities and encourage people to ride. Designated bike lanes are being marked on roads and we’re also seeing safer areas to store your bike near public transport if you’re making a multi-modal trip and in CBD locations near office buildings.

Rules For Riding Your Bike 

If you’re learning to ride a bike in the city, it’s important to note that road rules in Australia are regulated by individual states and territories, so it’s best to check the laws set by your local governing body before getting started. You can view local laws by state or territory on Bicycle Network’s website.

Some rules that are common across all of Australia include:

  • You must always wear a helmet that is properly fastened
  • You must have one leg on either side of the seat and be facing forward at all times
  • You must keep at least one hand on the handle bars
  • You must use a hand signal to turn right
  • You must obey general road rules including traffic lights and signs, speed limits, keeping a safe distance from vehicles and following lines on the road

Our Top Tips for Riding Your Bike In The City

  • Map out your journey before you head out for the first time, it might even identify roads with designated bike lanes. Not only can you save time by taking the most convenient route, it’s also safest to be familiar with the directions you must follow (especially when riding a bike in the city) so you can keep up with the flow of traffic and avoid mistakes.

  • Have your bike checked out by a pro before you hit the road. A bike specialist can check your tires and pump them up if needed, ensure your brakes are functioning properly and make sure things like your bell and light reflectors are in good working order. This keeps you safe while riding and also helps you to prevent breaking any laws. Pro Tip: some cities even have free permanent bike pumps dotted around if you’re ever in need.

  • Wear safe and comfortable clothing including long sleeves and pants that are light and flexible and comfortable, closed-toe shoes that make it easy for you to put your foot down when stopping. You also need to consider your visibility, especially when riding a bike in a busy city, so a bright top or light reflective clothing is a good choice.

  • Invest in a good quality bike lock. It’s always safest to keep your bike locked up, even if it’s parked at your home or within your office parking lot.

  • Ensure you’re well-hydrated. Bike riding is physical exercise after all. Taking a bottle of water with you to rehydrate on the ride as well as drinking up when you get to work, will help prevent symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness and headaches.

  • Look out for community organisations and rewards schemes to take advantage of your bike riding. Bicycle Network is a great example of an organisation that’s working to promote health and environmental sustainability through bike riding. Joining gets you insurance, access to legal support, invites to their community events and you’ll be helping them help our cities make bike riding the easy option.