The Road Rules 2009 define various words in the text as well as in the Dictionary at the end of the Rules.
A cyclist is included within the definition of a rider, who is a ‘person who is riding a motor bike, bicycle, animal or animal-drawn vehicle’. This does not include a passenger or a person walking beside and pushing a bicycle. A bicycle is defined as: ‘a vehicle with 1 or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor). This includes a pedicab, penny-farthing, and tricycle.
The definition does not include a wheelchair, wheeled recreational device (e.g. a skateboard), wheeled toy or any vehicle with an auxiliary motor capable of generating a power output over 200 watts (this has been increased to 250 watts in Australian Road Rules but hasn’t yet been adopted in Tasmania).
A ‘wheeled recreation device’ includes skateboards, in-line skates, roller skates or similar wheeled devices, but does not include a wheeled toy, unless ridden by a person 12 years or older.
Persons riding ‘wheeled recreation devices’ are considered to be pedestrians.
References to ‘driver’ and ‘driving’ in the Rules include a reference to ‘rider’ and ‘riding’, unless otherwise stated. Therefore, cyclists are subject to the general road rules that govern all traffic on the road and, in particular, to the rules governing speed limits, pedestrians and traffic control devices (signs and signals).There are also a number of Rules dealing specifically with bicycles and their riders.
The Rules only apply to vehicles and road users on roads and road related areas (rule 11). However, these terms are quite broadly defined (rules 12 and 13), a ‘road’ being ‘an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles’. A ‘road related area’ includes footpaths, nature strips, areas that divide roads, and areas that, while not roads, are open to the public and designated for use by cyclists or animals or used by the public for driving, riding or parking motor vehicles.
The following summary is in three parts. The first covers the law as it relates specifically to bicycles (how they should be ridden, roadworthiness, helmets, use of bicycle carriers); the second relates to skaters; and the third covers the general road law concerning stopping and turning behaviour as it applies to bicycles.