Under NSW legislation a bicycle is considered as a vehicle. As such, cyclists are required to obey the road rules, including stopping at red lights or Stop signs, Giving Way as indicated by signage and giving hand signals when changing direction. As cyclists have responsibilities when using the road system, they also have the right, like other vehicles, to use the road and be shown courtesy and care by other road users.
A bicycle means a vehicle with one or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor) and includes a pedicab, penny-farthing, scooter, tricycle and unicycle. See Australian Road Rules for further information.
Cyclists also have some special rights, which include:
- Riding two abreast, no more than 1.5 m apart;
- Travelling to the front of a line of traffic on the left hand side of the stopped vehicles;
- Travelling in Bus Lanes and Transit Lanes. However, cyclists cannot travel in Bus Only Lanes;
- Travelling on the footpath where indicated by signage;
- Cycling on the footpath if the cyclist is less than 12 years old. An adult, who is riding in a supervisory capacity of a cyclist less than 12 years old, may also ride with the young cyclist on the footpath; and
- Turning right from the left hand lane of a multi-lane roundabout with the proviso the cyclists must give way to exiting traffic.
To be a legal road vehicle during the day, a bicycle must have:
- At least one working brake
- Either a bell or horn fitted to the bike, within easy reach and in working order
To be a legal road vehicle at night, a bicycle must also have :
- Lights fitted and in use when riding at night - a steady or flashing white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres and a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bike; and
- red rear reflector that is clearly visible for 50 metres when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low beam.
It is compulsory to wear an approved helmet correctly when riding a bike. This applies to all cyclists, regardless of age, including children on bicycles with training wheels and any child being carried as a passenger on a bike or in a trailer.
Failing to obey road or bicycle rules may result in a fine.