Road Rules for Cyclists

RULES OF THE ROAD & LEGISLATION

As cyclists it is important to understand our rights and responsibilities as road users. According to South African traffic laws, bicycles are regarded as legal vehicles. We have the same right to safe passage as anyone else traveling on the road and are required to follow the rules of the road and Provincial and National cycling legislation.


NATIONAL LEGISLATION

The National Traffic Act 93 of 1996 and the National Road Traffic Regulations cover rules about safety equipment for cycling (e.g. helmet, lights and reflectors), where you can ride (e.g. riding on freeways in illegal) and Rules of the Road that apply to both motorists and cyclists.

National Traffic Act 93 of 1996 and the National Road Traffic Regulations

 

These rules relate specifically to cycling:

Riding without a helmet is illegal.
Always stop at all red traffic lights and all stop streets, and give way to pedestrians.
The law says you must ride on the left of the road.
You must be seated in your saddle.
You must ride in single file.
You may not deliberately swerve your bicycle from side to side.

If you are riding on a public road where there is a bicycle lane, you must use that lane.
Along with dedicated bicycle paths and lanes, you may therefore ride on any road open to cycling. This excludes freeways and all roads which indicate they are closed to bicycles.
Use cycle lanes wherever these exist. 

Extract from the National Traffic Act 93 of 1996 and the National Road Traffic Regulations

152. Brakes on pedal cycles No person shall operate on a public road any pedal cycle unless it is equipped with at least one brake which shall operate on the rear wheel or wheels.

178. Lamps on pedal cycle (1) A pedal cycle may be fitted in front with a lamp emitting a white light, the intense part of the beam of which shall, when such pedal cycle is on a reasonably level road, strike the surface ahead of such pedal cycle at a distance of not less than three metres and not more than 30 metres. (2) A pedal cycle may be fitted with one or more lamps emitting a red light directly to the rear.

182. Certain lamps to emit diffused lights Every lamp fitted to a vehicle, other than the head lamps of a motor vehicle, the front lamp of a pedal cycle, spot lamp and fog lamp, shall emit diffused light when in operation on a public road.

186. White retro-reflectors to be fitted on front of certain vehicles

(3) No person shall operate a pedal cycle on a public road unless there is fitted on the front of such cycle a white retro-reflector complying with the provisions of regulations 189 and 192.
187.Red retro-reflectors to be fitted on rear of certain vehicles
(4) No person shall operate a pedal cycle on a public road unless there is fitted on the rear of such cycle a red retro-reflector complying with the provisions of regulations 189 and 192.

201. Warning devices (1) Subject to the provisions of sections 58(3)and 60 of the Act, no person shall operate on a public road – (b) a pedal cycle, unless it is equipped with an efficient warning device which is in good working order and, when used, capable of giving adequate warning of its approach;

207. Compulsory wearing of protective helmet
(2) After expiry of three years from the date of commencement of this regulation, no person shall drive or be a passenger on a pedal cycle on a public road unless he or she is wearing a protective helmet which fits him or her properly and of which the chin straps is properly fastened under the chin.
(3) The driver of a motor cycle, motor tricycle, motor quadrucycle or pedal cycle shall ensure that any passenger in or on such cycle who is younger than 14 years, complies with the provisions of subregulation (1) or (2), as the case may be.

228. Projections in case of motor cycle, motor tricycle or pedal cycle

No person shall operate on a public road a motor cycle, motor tricycle, or pedal cycle if any goods carried thereon, or on any portion or side-car of such cycle, project more than 600 millimetres to the front of the axle centre of the front wheel or more than 900 millimetres to the rear of the axle centre of the rear wheel or more than 450 millimetres on either side of the wheels of such cycle, or more than 300 millimetres to the outside of the wheel of any side-car: Provided that the provisions of this regulation shall not apply in respect of any side mirror or crash bar. (Regulation 228 substituted by regulation 18 of Government Notice R589 of 2009)

 

311. Riding on pedal cycles

(1) No person shall ride a pedal cycle on a public road unless he or she is seated astride on the saddle of such pedal cycle.
(2) Persons riding pedal cycles on a public road shall ride in single file except in the course of overtaking another pedal cycle, and two or more persons riding pedal cycles shall not overtake another vehicle at the same time.
(3) No person riding or seated on a pedal cycle on a public road shall take hold of any other vehicle in motion.
(4) No person riding a pedal cycle on a public road shall deliberately cause such pedal cycle to swerve from side to side.
(5) No person riding a pedal cycle on a public road shall carry thereon any person, animal or object which obstructs his or her view or which prevents him or her from exercising complete control over the movements of such pedal cycle.
(6) A person riding a pedal cycle on a public road shall do so with at least one hand on the handle-bars of such pedal cycle.
(7) Whenever a portion of a public road has been set aside for use by persons riding pedal cycles, no person shall ride a pedal cycle on any other portion of such road.
(8) A person riding a pedal cycle on a public road or a portion of a public road set aside for use by persons riding pedal cycles, shall do so in such manner that all the wheels of such pedal cycle are in contact with the surface of the road at all times.

323. Special provisions relating to freeways
(1) No person shall operate on a freeway – (b) a pedal cycle