Changes to road rules
Sometimes changes are made to the Queensland Road Rules to help keep them current and make them easier for Queenslanders to understand and obey.
A number of changes to the road rules for motorcycle riders will be implemented on 1 February 2015.
Lane filtering, riding on a road shoulder and bicycle storage areas
From 1 February 2015, a rider with an open licence for riding a motorcycle may lane filter by moving between stationary or slow moving vehicles travelling in the same direction as the rider, provided they are not riding at more than 30km/h and it is safe to do so. Lane filtering will not be allowed in school zones during school zone hours. Lane filtering at higher speeds (sometimes known as lane splitting) will be prohibited, with an on-the-spot fine of $353 and 3 demerit points applying.
Riders who hold an open licence for riding a motorcycle will also be able to ride at speeds not greater than 30km/h on sealed road shoulders (or in emergency stopping lanes) to the left or right of an edge line on roads with a speed limit of 90km/h or more, such as motorways, freeways and highways.
All motorcycle riders will be able to enter bicycle storage areas (the areas of road at signalised intersections that allow cyclists to wait in front of stopped vehicles and are usually painted green with white bicycle symbols) as long as they give way to any cyclist or motorcycle rider already there.
From 1 February 2015, the strict rules about how a motorcycle rider must sit and where they must place their hands and feet will be removed. A rider must still be astride the seat but will be able to stretch a leg to avoid fatigue or raise themselves from the seat when riding on uneven ground, without unintentionally breaking the rules. A pillion passenger will be required to be astride the seat facing forwards but will similarly be able to stretch a leg or raise themselves from their seat.
From 1 February 2015, the range of motorcycle helmets approved for use in Queensland will be expanded to include those complying with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) 22.05 standard. Helmets will be required to display a label or other marking certifying compliance with the standard.
Cyclists on zebra and children’s crossings
From 1 January 2015, a cyclist is able to ride across a zebra or children’s crossing as long as they come to a complete stop before doing so. They will then have to proceed slowly and safely, give way to any pedestrians on the crossing and keep to the left of any oncoming cyclists and people using personal mobility devices.
This change will complement the ability of cyclists to ride on footpaths in Queensland. It will also make the rules for cyclists on crossings more consistent for the benefit of all road users and will speed up the journey for cyclists.
Cyclists in bicycle lanes
From 1 January 2015, a cyclist is able to choose whether or not they wish to ride in a bicycle lane where 1 is provided. The lane is there if they wish to use it but they will not be obliged to use it.
This change is consistent with the rules for other special purpose lanes (for example, buses do not have to use bus lanes and drivers do not have to use transit lanes). It will take away an unnecessary limitation on cyclists using the road as legitimate road users.
Cyclists on roundabouts
From 1 January 2015, cyclists do not have to ride on the far left side of the road on a single lane roundabout. They will be allowed to ride on any part of the road appropriate for their point of exit on single lane roundabouts.
This change will make the rules for cyclists on all types of roundabouts more consistent for the benefit of all road users and will give cyclists more flexibility about where they wish to ride on single lane roundabouts as legitimate road users.
Minimum passing distance
From 7 April 2014, a minimum passing distance of at least 1m in a 60km/hr or less speed zone and 1.5m if the speed limit is over 60km/h was introduced for motorists passing cyclists. Other road rules have also been changed to allow motorists to cross centre lines, straddle lane lines or drive on painted traffic islands to make it easier for them to pass cyclists, when it is safe to do so.
This change will be trialled for 2 years to test how the 1m and 1.5m minimum passing distance works in practice.
For more information read the frequently asked questions minimum passing distance section and the overtaking and passing page.
Fines and enforcement
The fines for cyclists who break road rules have been increased to match fines given to motorists.
Further, fines for offences that apply only to cyclists, e.g. carrying a passenger on a bicycle, are being increased to make them more appropriate for the offences they deal with.
Stay wider of the rider
Why do we need to make sure there’s enough room between cyclists and motorists? Because last year 13 cyclists lost their lives on Queensland roads, and something’s got to change.
That’s why, there are new road rules being trialled from 7 April to help cyclists and motorists share the road safely. Motorists will now need to stay wider of the rider when passing.
When the speed limit is 60km/h and under, you must give cyclists at least a metre. At over 60km/h you must give them at least a metre and a half. If you can’t do that, and stay on your side of the road, then that’s okay. The new rules allow you to cross unbroken centre lines, lane lines and painted traffic islands, but only when it is safe to do so.
There are a number of changes that will affect bike riders too. Like the fines for traffic infringements that will now be equal for motorists and cyclists.
When you obey the rules, you’ll avoid the fines and help make the road safer for everyone.
To get familiar with the new rules visit the website.
Authorised by the Queensland Government, Brisbane.
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