They’re yellow, white and green and keeping cyclists safe
  • Tuesday 26 October 2010

New bicycle symbols painted on the roads are there to make it safer for bike riders—Sunshine Coast Council’s share with care campaign explains what these symbols mean.

Integrated transport portfolio holder Councillor Vivien Griffin said that making the roads safe for bike riding is essential for creating an effective sustainable transport system.

“Council is adding more and more cycle lanes on Coast roads, but these serve no purpose unless we ensure people know how to use them,” Cr Griffin said.

“It’s all very well encouraging people to travel sustainably, but we know that we need to tackle road safety for people to consider ditching the car and riding a bike instead.”

“The share with care campaign recently launched on ride to work day, provides brochures and information on how to pass cyclist safely, what the road rules are and is about fostering a respect between road users.

“And Share with Care isn’t just about educating motorists; bike riders have a role to play in sticking to the rules, making themselves visible and signalling their intentions.”

On-road provisions for cyclists now include bicycle lanes, green bicycle zones and bicycle awareness zones.

  • Bicycle Lanes are marked by a WHITE bicycle symbol inside a continuous white line. They are for the exclusive use of cyclists but may be used by motor vehicles for 50 metres prior to turning. Cyclists are required to ride inside the lane if it is safe and practical to do so. Where a cycling lane is provided vehicle drivers should not drive or park in the bicycle lane unless turning.
  • Green Paint is used to highlight areas of potential conflict between cyclists and motor vehicles. It is often used at entries and exits of intersections and roundabouts and across slip lanes. Where green paint is used, motorists should pay extra attention, look for cyclists and ensure they don’t cut them off when turning.
  • Bicycle Awareness Zones (BAZ) are identified by a YELLOW bicycle symbol and are areas that must be shared by drivers and riders. They are used if the road is not wide enough for an exclusive bicycle lane. The yellow symbols often sit over a break in a white line. In this instance cyclists may ride either side of the white line.
  • The yellow symbols may also be used in the centre of lanes where there is not enough space for a car to overtake a cyclist safely.
  • Differences between a Bicycle Lane and a Bicycle Awareness Zone. Bicycle lanes are usually wide enough for the cyclist to ride inside the lane, whereas a BAZ may not be. In the case of a BAZ, cyclists may ride inside or outside the lane and drivers and cyclists need to share the road space.

Nigel Walker, council's integrated transport team Leader said that as cycling grows in popularity it is important to know how to overtake a cyclist safely.

“Motorists need to give cyclists plenty of space on the road and leave at least one metre between their vehicle and the cyclist,” Mr Walker said.

“If in doubt about whether there is enough room to pass a cyclists, motorists should break and wait. If a vehicle does side swipe a cyclists it is likely to result in serious injury or death.”

“A common misconception is that cyclists can only ride in single file but legally they can ride two abreast on the roads—this law is standard throughout Australia.

“When passing a pack of cyclists who may be riding two by two, motorists should treat it as if they were passing one vehicle; check there is enough room to pass safely and check mirrors and blind spots when pulling back in.

“I guess the thing to remember is that if a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bike rider, the consequences for the bike rider will always be serious and potentially fatal. There is no equality in this type of collision—a human pitted against a heavy rigid object will never win.”

For more information on council’s share with care campaign, head to council’s website