Sunshine Coast cycling enthusiast and high-profile lawyer, Travis Schultz believes that the laws that apply to cyclists in Queensland are generally misunderstood both by cyclists and motorists and there is a critical need for a greater mutual respect between both parties.
“In my decades spent on the roads as a recreational road biker, I have witnessed firsthand the unfounded animosity directed at cyclists by frustrated motorists, and I have also seen innumerable transgressions by cyclists who are either ignorant or unconcerned, by the road rules that apply to cyclists in Queensland,” Mr Schultz said.
“No matter what, there is a massive risk when sharing roads. Attitude towards each other and lack of education are our biggest problems. Drivers and cyclists need to know and understand the laws and develop a mutual respect for each other.”
On the part of motorists, there is a general misunderstanding of the obligation of the part of cyclists to ride in single file.
“The Queensland road rules make it quite clear that cyclists are entitled to ride two abreast. Whilst that may be the legal position, considerate cyclists should generally endeavour to ride in single file on roadways where traffic volumes are high and riding two abreast will impede the flow of traffic,” he said. “On the other hand, there are a number of rules which are honoured in the breach by cyclists.”
“Cyclists seem to think that it is quite permissible to walk their dog whilst riding a bike or to double a young child on the handle bars or frame. Some cyclists also think it is permissible to also ride with no hands on the handlebars or to remove their bell from the bike itself. It isn’t, and each of these is a breach of the Queensland road rules.
“On the part of motorists, there is a commonly held misconception that cyclists must not ride in the middle of a lane on a multilane road. That simply isn’t the case.
“The Queensland Road Rules provide that a cyclist may take up any position within the lane on a multilane road although common sense says it is safer for a cyclist to remain to the left-hand side of the lane in most circumstances.”
According to Mr Schultz, some of the rules which often cause confusion in Queensland include:
- A cyclist may overtake on the left-hand side but only when it is safe to do so;
- Cyclists should not ride more than 1.5m apart when they are riding beside another;
- A child under the age of 16 is not permitted to tow another child in a bicycle trailer;
- A child in bicycle trailer must also wear a helmet;
- A cyclist must signal when they are turning right by extending their right arm out horizontally, but there is no obligation to make any hand signal when turning left;
- A cyclist is not permitted to use a hand-held mobile phone when riding, even if they are stopped in traffic;
- Cyclists who break the road rules will be given the same fines as a motorist but do not accumulate demerit points.
“Common sense and courtesy should always be key considerations not just on the part of cyclists, but all of those who use our roads. The tragic consequences seen recently in numerous fatalities in Queensland demonstrate how cyclists and pedestrians are amongst the most vulnerable of road users.
“It is not just about complying with the road rules, it is about patience, courtesy and being alert to how our conduct on the road might impact adversely on others,” Mr Schultz said.