Helmets and safe cycling
Whether you are riding as a commuter, on a group ride or as a family for recreation, cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users. Between 2016 and 2020, 507 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in collisions with motor vehicles on WA roads. The following advice is a guide on how to stay safe while on your bike.
- Helmets are compulsory in Western Australia, and all cyclists must wear an approved helmet while in motion, unless exempted. Approved helmets carry a sticker or label certifying they have passed stringent safety tests. When choosing a helmet, look for labels similar to those below.
- Be seen by drivers and other road users in hours of darkness or bad weather. Although not mandatory, cyclists should wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing to increase visibility.
- Lights and reflectors on your bike are mandatory if you ride at night or in any weather conditions that reduce visibility. This includes a flashing or steady white light on the front of the bicycle and a flashing or steady red light on the rear of the bicycle that needs to be clearly visible for at least 200 metres. A red reflector is required on the rear of the bicycle that is visible for at least 50m when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight on low beam. You need two yellow side reflectors on each wheel and yellow pedal reflectors on both sides of each pedal.
- Ride to conditions, slow down in wet weather and allow enough distance to brake. Monitor your speed, as riding too fast can put you and others at risk. If overtaking pedestrians or other cyclists leave a safe distance and enough time to pass.
Sharing roads and footpaths
Cycling on the road
- Cyclists can ride two abreast on the road, with up to 1.5m between riders.
- It is illegal to ride less than 2m behind a vehicle.
- Cyclists cannot pass on the left of a vehicle that is turning left.
- Cyclists are not permitted to ride their bikes on freeways or in pedestrian malls.
- Cyclists can use the left lane of a roundabout when turning right, but must give way to vehicles exiting a roundabout.
- Cyclists of all ages may ride on footpaths in WA, unless otherwise signed.
- Cyclists must ride in single file on footpaths.
- Pedestrians, including mobility scooters and motorised wheelchair users, always have right of way.
- Cyclists should use their bell to alert other shared path users that a bicycle is approaching.
- Cyclists should use their bell to alert pedestrians/mobility scooter operators/motorised wheelchair users that a bicycle is approaching.
- Drivers must give way to cyclists at driveways, but cyclists should slow down to ensure they have been seen.
- Animals must not be tied to a moving bike.
- Animals and children on footpaths can be unpredictable. Cyclists should slow and cycle to the conditions.
- Cyclists and eRiders no longer need to dismount at pedestrian crossings and can simply ride across. This new rule applies when the rider enters the crossing from the connected path and not the road. Riders must not exceed 10km/h and give way to any pedestrians when riding over the crossing.
For information about motorists' obligations towards cyclists and related offences and penalties, see our page on overtaking.
Offences and penalties
Please note: legally speaking a bicycle is a vehicle, so all road laws that apply to vehicles apply to cyclists as well, unless they are expressly excluded.
Cyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as drivers and must obey the road rules. The following penalties apply to cyclists specifically.
|Not wearing a helmet||$50|
|Failure to have at least one effective brake and working warning device||$100|
|Failure to have correct lighting||$100|
|Failure to ride only two abreast with up to 1.5m between riders.||$50|
|Riding less than 2m behind a vehicle||$100|
|Passing on the left of a vehicle that is turning left||$100|