Cycling, Rules of the Road and Road Safety

Cycling, Rules of the Road and Road SafetyIntroduction:

On the Arrive Alive website, we have shared information on cycling safety and offered suggestions to cyclists with a focus on South African conditions.

We have also answered several queries from keen cyclists on what the Rules of the Road stipulate with regards to cycling. 

It is important for all road users that we understand these Rules and that we respect the rights of all road users.

With these rights to safety, we also have obligations and duties we have to adhere to when on the road.

We would like to share the Rules of the road pertaining to cycling:

Rules of the Road & Riding on pedal cycles

Reg 311.

  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 handlebars 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 Special provisions relating to freeways.

See reg 323 for rules on freeways - where cyclists are prohibited

Reg 323.

  1. No person shall operate on a freeway-
    1. a vehicle was drawn by an animal; 
    2. a pedal cycle; 
    3. a motorcycle having an engine with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimetres or which is propelled by electrical power or which is a vehicle as contemplated in paragraph (b) of the definition of motor vehicle in the Act; 
    4. a motor tricycle or motor quadrucycle; 
    5. a vehicle with a mass not exceeding 230 kilograms and specially designed, constructed or adapted for the use of a person suffering from a physical defect or disability; or 
    6. a tractor.
  2. No person shall-
    1. be on a freeway on foot except-
      1. within an area reserved for the stopping or parking of vehicles by an appropriate road traffic sign; 
      2. for a cause beyond his or her control; or 
      3. in the case of any person performing service in the Citizen Force as contemplated in section 21 of the Defence Act, 1957 (Act No. 44 of 1957), between the junction of an offramp and the junction of an on-ramp on the left hand side of the roadway, unless a prescribed road traffic sign forbids the presence of such person on such freeway or junction; 
    2. leave or allow an animal to be on a freeway except in or on a motor vehicle or within an area reserved for the stopping or parking of vehicles by an appropriate road traffic sign, or leave an animal in a place from where it may stray onto a freeway;
    3. stop a vehicle on a freeway except-
      1. in compliance with a road traffic sign or a direction given by a traffic officer;
      2. within an area reserved for the stopping or parking of vehicles by an appropriate road traffic sign; 
      3. for any cause beyond his or her control; or 
      4. in an area referred to in paragraph (a)(iii) for the purpose of allowing persons so performing service there to board or alight from such vehicle; 
    4. give a hand signal when driving a motor vehicle on a freeway except for a cause beyond his or her control.
  3. In a prosecution for a contravention of sub-regulation (2)(b), it shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed that an animal was left or allowed on the freeway or place concerned by the owner of such animal.
  4. The provisions of-
    1. sub-regulation (1)(f) shall not apply to a person who operates a tractor in connection with the construction or maintenance of a freeway; 
    2. sub-regulation (2)(a) shall not apply to-
      1. a traffic officer while he or she is engaged in the performance of his or her duties; 
      2. a person while he or she is engaged in rescue or salvage work; 
      3. a person while he or she is engaged in the construction or maintenance of a freeway or the rendering of an essential public service; or 
      4. a person while he or she is engaged in civil protection as contemplated in section 3 of the Civil Protection Act, 1977 (Act No. 67 of 1977); and 
    3. sub-regulation (2)(c) shall not apply to-
      1. the driver of-
        1. an ambulance, firefighting vehicle or rescue vehicle; or 
        2. a breakdown vehicle while he or she is engaged in the salvaging of another motor vehicle; 
      2. a traffic officer who drives a vehicle in the performance of his or her duties; 
      3. a person who drives a vehicle while it is used in connection with the construction or maintenance of a freeway or the rendering of an essential public service; or 
      4. a person who drives a vehicle while he or she is engaged in civil protection as contemplated in section 3 of the Civil Protection Act, 1977. 
  5. Where the driver of a motor vehicle which is being driven in the right hand traffic lane or in the traffic lane furthest to the right on a freeway (hereinafter referred to as the first vehicle) becomes aware that the driver of another motor  vehicle (hereinafter referred to as the second vehicle) intends to overtake the first vehicle, the driver of the first vehicle shall steer that vehicle to a lane to the left of the one in which he or she is driving, without endangering himself or herself or other traffic or property on the freeway, and shall not accelerate the speed of his or her vehicle until the second vehicle has passed.  
  6. For the purposes of sub-regulation (5), the driver of the second vehicle may make the driver of the first vehicle aware that he or she intends to overtake the first vehicle by giving the driver thereof a visible signal by means of flashing the headlights of his or her vehicle. of such pedal cycle are in contact with the surface of the road at all times.

Compulsory wearing of a protective helmet

Reg 207.

  1. No person shall drive or be a passenger on a motorcycle, motor tricycle or a motor quadrucycle, or be a passenger in the side-car attached to a motorcycle, on a public road, unless he or she is wearing a protective helmet-
    1. which is specially designed for use in connection with such cycle; and
    2. which fits him or her properly and of which the chin strap is properly fastened under the chin.
  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 are properly fastened under the chin. (date 5 October 2004)
  3. The driver of a motorcycle, 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 sub-regulation (1) or (2), as the case may be.
  4. Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-regulations (1) and (3), the driver and passengers of a motorcycle-
    1. equipped with seatbelt anchorages that comply with the requirements of standard specification SABS 1430 “Motor vehicle safety - anchorages for restraining devices in motor vehicles”, for the driver and passengers (if any);
    2. the engine of which cannot move unless the driver and passengers (if any), of the motorcycle, wears the seatbelt referred to in paragraph (a); and
    3. that complies with the requirements of Annexe II of the standard specification SABS 1440 “Motor vehicle safety - The steering mechanism of motor vehicles (M1 only) - behaviour on impact, may drive or be passengers on such motorcycle on a public road while not wearing a protective helmet.

For Cycling Safety also view:

Cycling Safety Suggestions for South African Conditions

Cycling safely on South African roads and mountain bike trails

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