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Australia - Cycling

Cycling is one of the more popular ways to travel in Australia. The country is well known for supporting issues connected with helping the environment and eco friendly projects are becoming commonplace such as systems like solar panels to harness the sun, convert it to energy and then use that energy to heat homes and businesses. As such choosing to use bicycles rather than cars for short distances is a common sight even in larger cities and towns.

All over the country, no matter which state you choose to live you will find that there are cycle lanes set upon many of the main roads. This helps with the safety of the cyclist when sharing a road with other motor vehicles such as cars or lorries. In some instances bicycle lanes are not formally in use all day and those that have set times are clearly signposted. The bicycle lanes are separated from the main road carriageway by a solid line. In some cases the cycle lane is only officially in use for bicycles between certain hours, such as at rush hour. If this is the case then cars cannot cross that line, park up in the cycle lane or stop for any reason. If however the lane is one with limited use and it is outside of those times then cars can drive over the line as long as it is safe to do so.

Road users, both cyclists and those in motor vehicles have several safety rules to follow. Being aware of their surroundings is a main issue of safety where cyclists are concerned. Motorists who get too close can cause a cyclist to fall from their cycle or at the very least become unsteady, which in itself is a major problem as a fall can lead to serious injuries.

Cyclists must also remember that the general rules of the road apply to them also. This means that rules such as stopping at traffic lights and stop signs are also applicable to cyclists. Before venturing out on the road you must make sure you are aware of the Highway Code. Each state in Australia may have different speed restrictions on certain roads or rules regarding ensuring that the correct safety items are worn. Whichever state you are moving to you must check if there are any additional regulations you must follow. The basic rules regarding road safety for cyclists are the same throughout the country and should be adhered to at all times.

Those rules include making sure you keep at least one metre between the kerb or parked cars and the bicycle at all times. When riding a bicycle on the Australian roads you must also keep to the left. Wearing bright clothing during the day, reflective clothing at night and ensuring your lights are working at night time are the ideal ways to be seen by other road users. Making sure that you can be easily seen is essential for safety and to reduce the possibility of an accident.

Road safety for cyclists is mainly common sense; however there are courses that can be taken and each state of Australia has companies that operate classes. Some states, such as South Australia, also have classes for school children. This means that children become road aware at a younger age and are alerted to the dangers of not following the safety precautions. The police in each state also offer bicycle education lessons for community groups and businesses, so if you are hoping to make cycling a main form of transport (or even for a leisure pursuit) while you are residing in Australia, it is wise to attend the classes and refresh your knowledge of the rules of the road.

If you own bicycles and are looking to transport them on your car via a bicycle rack then it is possible your rack will need its own number plate. If the rack will be obscuring the view of the motor vehicle number plate then you have the option of removing the number plate and attaching it to the bike rack. Homemade number plates are not allowed. You may not display a number plate on the car and on the bicycle rack, so the rack will only need to have a registration plate if the vehicle’s own plate is going to be obscured while the rack is in use.

In an effort to encourage the use of bicycles wherever possible some of the Australian state governments have established a system of grants for cycling related projects. This means community groups can claim funding from the state to cover cycling awareness plans. This can be used for anything from improving or increasing the amount of cycle lanes in the area, or even as a way of providing affordable bicycles to the community.

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