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We help debunk 8 cycling myths

22 July 2022

We help debunk 8 cycling myths

Sharing the road with bicycle riders is simple when you understand the rules.

To get a sense of global attitudes towards bicycles and cyclists, a survey quizzed more than 20,000 people in 28 countries, including 1000 Australians. The results showed that Australia was the harshest place in the world for bikers, with two thirds of Australians believing cyclists frequently disrespect traffic rules and regulations.

It seems there are many assumptions and common myths around cycling that give its riders a bad rap. At the end of the day, whether you’re a cyclist, motorist, or pedestrian, we’re all humans sharing the roads to get from point A to point B. So, to help clear some misconceptions around bikers, we debunk a few common cycling myths to set the record straight.

Myth #1: Cyclists don’t have to follow the road rules

All bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers. Some additional rules allow bicycle riders to make hook turns at intersections and cross pedestrian crossings if it is safe to do so. Breaking the road rules, such as not wearing a helmet, riding negligently or not giving way to pedestrians can result in fines. Drivers should always be aware of bicycle riders on and around the road (especially at intersections and roundabouts) and safely share the road.

Myth #2: Cyclists can’t ride on the footpath in NSW

Generally, bicycle riders must not ride on a footpath. But the exception to the rule is that young children or riders under the age of 16 can ride on the footpath, as are adult riders who are accompanying them, unless there is specifically a ‘No Bicycles’ sign. (Based in NSW) 

Myth #3: Cyclists create more traffic

While some drivers might find it frustrating to share the road with cyclists, more people on bikes means less people congesting traffic, and not to mention less pollution from cars. According to We Ride Australia – the Australian Cycling Environmental and Health Foundation committed to promoting and encouraging cycling and advocating for policies and investments to make cycling accessible, safe and convenient – a new record for Australian bicycle sales was set in 2020-21 of 1.75 million bikes. The previous record set was 1.42 million in 2007. So, it’s a no brainer: more bikes and less cars equal less traffic.

Myth #4: Cyclists can’t ride in large groups

If you think cyclists can’t ride alongside a mate on the road, then you’d be wrong. Cyclists are allowed to ride two-abreast, but not more than this, as long as they are no more than 1.5 metres apart.

Myth #5: Cyclists can run red lights

Both bicycles and cars are considered vehicles for the purposes of Australian road rules. Cyclists generally follow the same road rules as drivers but have additional rules they must follow, such as wearing an approved bicycle helmet. This means it is never legal for cyclists to run a red light.

Myth #6: Cyclists don’t have to provide their details if they have an accident

Just like you would exchange details with another driver if you were involved in a crash, cyclists are required to do the same because details must be collected from anyone involved in an accident – whether it be a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian. Above all, if someone is injured or in danger after an accident happens, call 000 immediately.

Myth #7: Cyclists can take their dog for a run while they’re riding

This is a big no. It is illegal to lead your dog while cycling as it is against the Australian road rules to lead an animal by tethering while operating a vehicle. Even though your canine might be able to keep up, this high intensity exercise can overexert dogs and could be a recipe for disaster if you were to have an accident.

Myth #8: Cycling takes longer than driving

The time it takes to get to a destination on a bike versus a car just depends on what pace you are riding at. But it might surprise you to know that particularly for shorter trips, bike riding is often faster than driving a car – not to mention the satisfaction you’ll feel as you ride past bumper-to-bumper traffic and get in your daily exercise. Another very popular and speedy option to get from point A to point B is combining bike riding and public transport.

If you’re an avid cyclist, you want to be sure your set of wheels is safeguarded on and off the road. With NRMA Insurance, you can cover your pushbike with Single Item Insurance to protect it against fire, storms and floods and theft from your home. Or if you already have Home Contents Insurance with us, you can insure your bicycle as an optional extra under your policy.

To find out more about NRMA Insurance, simply call us on 132 132 to get a quote or find us online 24/7 at