Riding on bike lanes and paths

Find out about riding on bike lanes and paths.

Bike lane

What is a bike lane?

Bike lanes are on-road lanes reserved for bike riders identified with a bike symbol on the road and a sign which says that it is a bike lane. They will usually be signposted at the beginning and end, but they may also end at an intersection. High-risk sections of bike lanes are sometimes painted green.

You must use a bike lane if there is one, unless that is not a practical option – for example, if the lane is blocked.

Bike path in Melbourne
Bike path

What is a bike path?

Bike paths are separate, usually off-road, paths reserved for bike riders. Bike paths are marked by a ‘Bicycles Only’ sign on a signpost, which has a bike symbol and the word ‘only’ underneath it. They end where the path meets a road or footpath or where indicated by a sign.

Shared path sign
Shared path sign

What are shared paths?

Shared paths are off-road, public areas that bike riders and pedestrians are allowed to use. They are marked by painted images of a pedestrian and a bike on a signpost or the path itself.

Overtaking on a shared path

On a shared path, you must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians. Pedestrians include people:

  • using wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  • on rollerblades, rollerskates, skateboards, non-motorised scooters or something similar.

When overtaking pedestrians, slow down, ring your bell in advance and make sure you leave enough space when overtaking.

Shared path
Separated footpath sign

What is a separated footpath?

A separated footpath is a path divided in two – with one side reserved for bike riders, the other for pedestrians. It is usually marked by a sign on a signpost.

This sign has, side by side, a pedestrian symbol with the word ‘only’ underneath it and a bike symbol with the word ‘only’ underneath it (see image).

You must not ride on the side reserved for pedestrians. This is marked by the pedestrian symbol on the signpost with the word ‘only’ underneath it.

Kids riding on a footpath

Can I ride on a footpath?

You can only ride on a footpath if you:

  • are under the age of 12
  • are an adult (18 years or older) supervising a child under 12
  • have a disability that means it’s difficult for you to ride on the road.

If you have a disability and are riding on a footpath, you must be able to show police a medical certificate if you’re asked.

When riding on a footpath, you must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.

Here are some organisations that assist bike riders with road rules, bike safety and insurance.
This page was last updated on December 11, 2015