How to Drive Safely around Cyclists

Author: Cycling Deal Date Posted:15 August 2016

Bicycles and cars need to share the road and they are subject to roughly the same rules and regulations. But because cyclists are inherently at greater risk in the event of a bike versus car accident, it’s important that drivers understand how to be safe around bikes.

 Give Them a Wide Berth

When passing by a cyclist travelling in the same direction as you, you must keep a minimum distance between them and your vehicle:

  • 1m when passing a bicycle rider in a 60kilometre/h or less speed zone
  • 1.5m where the speed limit is over 60kilometre/h.

You are permitted to drive over centre lines and straddle or cross a lane line to allow adequate passing distance – but make sure you indicate right before doing so. You can also drive on a painted island to do so. If you can’t pass by safely, you must drive behind the cyclist at a safe distance until you can.

Double Trouble

If you want to pass 2 bicycle riders that are riding next to each other, the minimum passing distance applies to the bicycle rider closest to the right. It is legal for 2 bicycle riders to ride side-by-side on a road, as long as they are not more than 1.5m apart.

Check Your Blind Spots

Bicycle riders are much smaller than cars and heavy vehicles, so they are harder to see. Check your blind spots before changing lanes, turning or when you open your car door.

Give Way to Cyclists Like You Would to Cars

Make sure you treat bicycle riders like any other vehicles on the road. Give way to them when required and travel at a safe following distance.

Never Turn Left across a Cyclist's Path

If a bicycle rider is ahead of you and you want to turn left, turn behind the bicycle rider. Overtaking and cutting off the bicycle rider is very dangerous. Always look in your side mirror and do a head-check for cyclists before making a left turn.

Crummy Weather, Careful Driving

Wet weather can cause the road to become oily or slippery and reduce visibility, so be extra careful around bicycle riders at these times.

Let Your Ego Go and Be Patient

Watch out for bicycle riders at all times, but especially at night, dawn or dusk. Be considerate and dip your headlights when approaching a bicycle rider at night.

Be patient. If it isn't safe to pass a bicycle rider, wait until it is safe. This should not hold you up for long and, although it can feel frustrating at the time, it could save the cyclist’s life. This is almost always more important than whatever you’re rushing to.


If concern for others’ safety isn’t enough incentive, there are also fines ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars plus heavy demerits for failing to obey safe passing laws. So remember to share the road and have respect for all users.

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