Most of the time, road rules cover any action that takes place on the roads, however one New South Wales road rule goes much further, allowing police to punish cyclists on footpaths.
NSW Police enforce a rule in The First State which forbids adults from riding a bike on any footpath anywhere within the state.
However, some exceptions allow adult cyclists to ride on footpaths without them incurring the wrath of the local authorities. So how does this rule work?
A road rule that catches unwary cyclists
Riding along a footpath may seem harmless enough but the NSW government have determined that adult cyclists are not allowed to do this if riding individually.
This act is a unique rule to NSW where Rule 250-1 of the NSW Road Rules decrees that adult riders are not allowed to ride on a footpath if on their own.
However, any cyclist who is 16 or under are allowed to freely cycle along footpaths unless there is a no bicycles sign in the area.
With children allowed to cycle on footpaths, it means that there are some exceptions to adults riding on footpaths as the road rules allow to do so if:
They are supervising any rider under the age of 16
Carrying a passenger who is a child under ten or an adult with a disability
They have a medical exemption (with a letter)
For work purposes e.g. postal worker delivering letters
By giving riders some leeway to use footpaths while cycling, it means that families can safely use footpaths to cycle along without putting their children at risk of traffic on the roads.
NSW Police ready to fine cyclists
Should anyone over the age of 16 be caught cycling on a footpath without a valid reason, NSW Police can issue the rider with a fine of $116.
It’s a unique road rule that isn’t found in most Australian states where it is common for all riders to be allowed to ride on footpaths regardless of their age.
However, Victoria has followed in the footsteps of their northern neighbour sharing a similar rule regarding just who can cycle on footpaths.
In Victoria, only cyclists aged 13 or under are allowed to ride on footpaths with anyone 14 or above expected to cycle on the roads.
The Victorian government allows older cyclists the same exceptions as what the NSW authorities do to riding on footpaths to ensure the young and vulnerable ride safely when out on the streets.
But if adult cyclists in The Garden State don’t have a valid reason to be cycling on a footpath, they can expect Victoria Police to dish out a fine of $182.
Overall, the act of riding on footpaths may seem innocuous to many, but it’s clear that the NSW and Victorian governments believe that cycling on the pavement could cause potential injuries to pedestrians.
It’s why cyclists should be wary of all road rules when riding their bikes to ensure that the local authorities don’t send an unwanted fine their way for even the most basic of actions.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.