Cars turning left across a bike lane - NSW road rules

Hello all,

I wasn't going to write about this but thought it might be useful to point out for those not aware of the rule for cars turning left over a bike lane with you in it!

After a very small incident on Crown St this morning involving an SUV turning left into the Coles car park driveway when I was next to the rear of her vehicle and an onlooker (who had been ahead on the pavement on the other side of the road) loudly telling me off like a school kid for being in the wrong and not paying attention - "the driver had an indicator on and so I was just simply in the wrong and should pay attention" - I questioned my knowledge on the law and realised I didn't know the exact rules for this situation.

It really upset me as I knew I hadn't been negligent, so I managed to find the rule and I thought it might be useful to share:

Road junctions


On the left. When approaching a junction on the left, watch out for vehicles turning in front of you, out of or into the side road. Just before you turn, check for undertaking cyclists or motorcyclists. Do not ride on the inside of vehicles signalling or slowing down to turn left.

It seems confusing that you are supposed to give way to the cyclist but at the same time they are not supposed to be there?? But I guess what it is trying to say is that both parties (car turning left and cyclist) have a responsibility to watch out for one another. Pity that motorists forget about the looking part of the relationship!

Be careful out there on these lanes!!!!

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That kind of situation is interesting, and illustrates how (badly designed) cycling infrastructure actually leads to more cyclist / motorist conflicts, rather than fewer.

This is a particular issue at junctions, where the various flows of traffic and bikes are never properly considered by designers. Sad to say, most of the cycling infrastructure in NSW is badly designed. Which is another reason to say out of it!
That rule doesn't really spell anything out very clearly. I think it should be something like this: as a cyclist you shouldn't undertake a vehicle that is signalling to turn left. As a driver, if you intend to turn left you shouldn't attempt to overtake a cyclist prior to that turn unless you are sure you will have completely passed them before turning.

Last night I was following another cyclist when a driver attempted to overtake both of us, but only got level with the cyclist in front before stopping and putting his left indicator on to turn left. The cyclist in front kept going and as she was only a few metres in front of me, so did I, while the driver waited in the middle of the road with their left indicator on. Strictly speaking I probably should have stopped. It was an awkward situation caused by a boneheaded driver who couldn't judge a simple overtaking.
I agree it is not clear at all but as a cyclist you seem to be just automatically in the wrong in the eyes of others.

Whether or not a cyclist/vehicle/pedestrian should be there you should always look before turning or changing lanes.

You should also indicate well before your turn.

This lady was a bit shocked I was there and was adamant that she is very careful about cyclists - trouble was she mentioned having passed my further down the road - pretty much admitting she hadn't looked and had assumed I was still further back down the road. It was a mistake - I just wanted to ask that she look next time. I was mainly so annoyed and upset by the guy who wasn't involved but took great joy in patronisingly and loudly telling me off in front of a lot of people waiting for a bus.
This really comes down to the use of indicators, they are no longer a warning of your intention these days but a hey I've just turned or I'm turning and thought I'd put my indicator on after anyone with a brain would have already guessed what they were doing.

Unfortunately part of Sydney driving is Brake then Indicate as you make the turn when it should be Indicate - Brake - Make the turn.

Like all cyclists I've had my fair share cars going past me only to pull into my lane and jam their brakes on. I figure then can't possibility not know I wasn't there as they just had to overtake me.
Many motorists seem to have a pathological need to overtake cyclists, irrespective of the road conditions, speed of the cyclist or the fact that there is a traffic light or a queue of cars just up ahead. I think it is rooted in the belief many people have that 'bicycles hold up cars', even though, at peak times, the reverse is actually true.

On the way home last night some girl in a car tried to squeeze past me on the inside, on the approach to a pedestrian crossing, by driving over a hatched area (I was taking the lane).

She had her window wound down, so as she drew up next to me I said loudly, "Oh dear, now that really is very silly, isn't it, trying to go past on the inside'. She looked sheepish and dropped back. Needless to say there was a huge queue of traffic less than 20m further on (that she sat in, and I pedalled past!).

Upon further reflection, I don't think this behaviour is specifically aimed at cyclists. I just thing motorists have a pathological need to overtake anything in front of them.
"I just thing motorists have a pathological need to overtake anything in front of them."

As do cyclists :)

The old adage goes:

What's the definition of a bicycle race? Two cyclists withing sight of each other.
Upon further reflection, I don't think this behaviour is specifically aimed at cyclists. I just thing motorists have a pathological need to overtake anything in front of them.

Exactly, which stems from the "I am the most important person on the road" mentality that many motorists have (including myself once upon a time)
I'm not sure that this is the entirety of the rule- a lane change requires giving way to traffic already in the lane, therefore the onlooker was incorrect.

Regardless, the advice given in the original post and quoted rule is good.

Nobody has "right of way", that principle does not exist. Neither in the Australian Road Rules nor physics.
Indeed, and sorry I was possibly a tad dogmatic above.

Still I like to regard the law of gravity as a real law. And the other ones real quiche eating physicists came up with too. After that the applicability of "laws" seem to diminish.

I assume you know the old chestnut about the Roman Empire...
When run by engineers and the military: ascendancy.
When run by the religious and lawyers: decline.

I'm not sure how to translate this to cycling in Sydney :-)
Road Rules? Honestly as a cyclist you need to acknowledge that you are a vulnerable road user and everyone makes mistakes.

Even if the road rules permitted you to untertake a signalling vehicle it is still your duty to take responsibility for your own safety. You need to consider other road users and gain an understanding of what they might not be able to see and the mistakes that they can easily make. .

Ever noticed how many cyclists get killed by lorries in London?

Undertaking is the reason why.

Never rely on a motorist to signal and never undertake when approaching an intersection.

Fairly often motorists half overtake then decide to turn, Or overtake then slam on the brakes in attempt to turn. They are the tricky scenarios. (every once in a while they get a love tap when my bell doesn't get the message across)

No offence intended here. Its a very common mistake that is made by cyclists but it can be a very serious mistake to make.
Best advice is to stay behind large vehicles at intersections, or if you are there first and they come up next to you, establish eye contact with the driver so you know he knows you are there. You might need to move forward to do this.
Off topic and at the risk of being annoying...


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