From 26 April 2016 people of all ages are permitted to ride a bicycle on footpaths in Western Australia.
The previous rules only permitted people under the age of 12 years to ride on footpaths. BWA worked closely with Road Safety Commission to consider the issues and implications of changes to the regulations.
BWA believes the changes will give less confident and less experienced riders the opportunity to ride more and avoid busy roads where no cycling facilities are provided.
SHARE OUR PATHS
Remember that pedestrians have right of way at all times on a footpath or shared path.
SLOW DOWN – Ride to the prevaling conditions. Slow down on footpaths and allow pedestrians right of way
RING YOUR BELL – Let pedestrians know you are there by ringing you bell or politely calling out
PASS WITH CARE – Pass pedestrians with care and consideration. Give them plently of space when passing
The Road Safety Commission have put together some frequently asked questions about all-age cycling on footpaths in Western Australia.
What was the law before?
Previously, the law prohibited anyone over 12 year of age from cycling on a footpath, that was not a shared path or a separated footpath. (Regulation 216 (1) of the Road Traffic Code 2000). Local Governments can still prohibit bicycles from being ridden on certain sections of path eg. past an alfresco dining area.
Will I now be able to ride two or more abreast on the footpath?
No. Cyclists are still not permitted to ride abreast on any paths and need to be in single file. This include existing shared paths
Does single-file riding apply on the roads?
No. On the road two cyclists are allowed to ride side-by-side, as long as the gap between them is no more than 1.5 metres.
Who has right of way on footpaths – pedestrians or cyclists?
How many people can ride as a group on the footpath?
There is no legal restriction on the number of people who can ride in single file on any path infrastructure. Slow down at driveways and give way to pedestrians.
Can I ride an electric bike on the footpath?
Yes, as long as the electric bike is compliant with the legislation for such bikes.
Is there a speed limit on footpaths?
There’s no official speed limit for bikes but ride in a manner appropriate to the conditions. Some paths, under local government bylaws, may have a posted speed limit.
Do I still have to wear a helmet on the footpath?
Yes – on any bike on any public property.
Do I have to stop at driveways or do I have right of way?
Drivers need to give way to you, but slow as you approach a driveway, in case they haven’t seen you.
Do I have to ring my bell for those in my way on a footpath?
It’s not law but is advisable if you feel someone doesn’t know you’re approaching. However, be polite and don’t over-work the bell.
Can I overtake gophers?
Yes. Gophers/motorised wheelchairs/scooters are limited to a maximum speed of 10km/h and are considered pedestrians. Consequently, you should ring your bell to warn them of your approach, give way where necessary and overtake safely.
Do other Australian States and Territories allow people of all ages to cycle on footpaths?
The ACT allows cyclists of all ages on footpaths. The NT, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania allow cyclists of all ages, unless there is a “no bicycles” sign. NSW and Victoria have their own variations of the law but allow persons aged 18 and over to cycle on footpaths, if supervising a child younger than 12.
Will all footpaths be overrun with sports cyclists?
This change just makes the footpath a legal option. However, it would be disadvantageous – and difficult – for large groups of sports cyclists to enjoy their ride on a footpath, due to the uneven surfaces and the narrow carriageway. So we do not expect to see sporting groups using footpaths. The people who most commonly ride on footpaths are children and novice riders who don’t feel safe on the roads.