Four changes to the laws relating to bike riders came into effect on the first of July this year in Victoria. So what do you need to know? Here’s a quick run down.
Using a mobile phone whilst riding
You can now incur an on the spot fine for using your mobile phone whilst riding your bike. This isn’t actually a new law, but a change in how it is enforced. Whereas previously you had to be prosecuted through the courts to be fined, now just like car laws, the police can fine you on the spot. There are some exemptions and qualifications which can be a little confusing, so we’ve made this short video to help you understand the key points.
There’s still some discussion regarding what is meant by ‘parked’. It may be both feet on the ground, however we suggest a complete dismount is the safest option until things are clarified. If you’re after a way to attach your phone to your bike, we use and recommend Quadlock.
Riding in the bus lane
It is now permitted to ride in a bus lane unless otherwise signed, however if there is a bike lane next to the bus lane you must use the bike lane. It is recommended to give way to buses at all times, and to wait behind a bus when it is stopped. Remember to look out for passengers who are getting on and off.
There’s plenty of arterial roads with multiple carriageways, and sometimes speed limits more than 60km/h where this would provide a refuge for the bike commuter.
Cars must give way to bikes where there is a bike crossing light
Motorists must now give way to cyclists riding across crossings at a green bicycle crossing light. This is one which we probably all assumed was already the case – green bike light, just like green pedestrian light, drivers would have to give way? Alas, the laws didn’t state this, but they do now. Phew.
And now for some comic relief: it’s no longer illegal to have an empty bike rack on the back of your car.
Believe it or not, until the 1st of July this year it was illegal to have a bike rack/carrier fitted to your car if it didn’t have a bike on it. The thinking was it could be a hazard as it stuck out from the rear of the car, but now we can all breathe a sigh of relief and get on with our lives.
For the sticklers, here is the official Vicroads page relating to these laws.