Who can ride on footpaths and shared pathways and what are the rules?

Footpaths

Unless there are signs that specifically prohibit them, bicycles may be ridden on the footpath by:

  • Children under the age of 16
  • Adults supervising a child under the age of 16
  • Children 16 years and older with an adult accompanying another child under the age of 16.

Over 16 years bicycle riders cannot ride on a footpath without a medical exemption.

Shared Pathway Rozelle
Shared Pathway Rozelle
Shared Pathway Glebe Foreshore
Shared Pathway Glebe Foreshore

Foot scooters, skateboards and rollerblades may be ridden on footpaths unless signs specifically prohibit them, however, riders must keep to the left and give way to other pedestrians.

Motorised wheelchairs or mobility devices that travel at no more than 10kms can use footpaths.

Shared Pathways

All bicycle riders may ride on a shared path.

When riding on a footpath or shared path, riders must keep left, overtake on the right and give way to pedestrians.

On shared separated pathways foot scooters, skateboard and rollerblade riders must use the section designated for bicycles, but must keep out of the path of any bicycle.

What about e bikes, motorised bicycles, and scooters?

There are two types of e-bikes permitted to be used on footpaths and shared footpaths.

  • Power assisted pedal cycles.
  • Electrically power assisted cycles.

These must be designed to be propelled primarily by the rider – they cannot be propelled exclusively by the motor. The motor is intended to help the rider, such as when going uphill or riding into a headwind.

There are legal requirements which cover what is a permitted e-bike.

Power assisted pedal cycles

  • Has one or more motors attached with a combined maximum power output of 200 watts
  • Cannot be propelled exclusively by the motor/s
  • Weighs less than 50 kg (including batteries)
  • Has a height-adjustable seat.

Electrically power-assisted cycles, etc.

An electrically power-assisted cycle has a maximum continued rated power of 250 watts. This power output must be:

  • Progressively reduced as the bicycle’s speed increases beyond 6km/h
    • Cut off when:
      • The bicycle reaches a speed of 25km/h; or
      • The rider stops pedalling and the travel speed exceeds 6km/h.

(Taken from Transport for NSW Website)

Powered foot scooters and skateboards cannot be used on footpaths, roadways or in any public places in NSW.

All petrol-powered bicycles are illegal on NSW roads and road-related areas such as footpaths, shared paths, cycle ways and cycle paths. This includes bicycles that:

  • Have a petrol-powered engine attached before or after purchase
  • Are powered by other types of internal combustion engines.

The reason for this is set out on Transport for NSW website.

“Petrol-powered bicycles are faster than regular bicycles, and are comparable with moped and small motorcycle speeds. Petrol-powered bicycles have regular bicycle brakes that are not designed for the higher speeds. These bicycles also take much longer to stop than regular bicycles which increases the risk of a crash that can kill or seriously injure the rider, and other road users.”

Bicycle riders are required to comply with the Road Rules (Rule 14 Road Rules)

Road Rule 250 requires a bicycle rider to keep to the left on a shared pathway and give way to pedestrians. If it is a separated footpath the pedestrian must not walk on the bicycle section of the footpath unless they are pushing a wheelchair (Rule 239) Similarly it is an offence for a cyclist to be on a pedestrian section of a separated footpath. (Rule 249)

It is an offence to ride a bicycle negligently, furiously or recklessly (Rule 245)

While there is no Road Rule generally requiring motor vehicles to give way to pedestrians, there is a road rule requiring cyclists to give way to pedestrians on shared pathways!

For more detailed information about what motorised bicycles, scooters, etc are allowed on public footpaths and road related areas see the Transport NSW website link above.

Published by Janet Wahlquist

I took up open water swimming in my 50’s and haven’t looked back.

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