NT road rules

Bicycles are classed as vehicles and therefore cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as all other road users, and deserve the same respect and courtesy. Rules for road users in the NT can be found in the

 NT Road Users’ Handbook, a guide for novice drivers or drivers new to the NT. See p 33 the section for cyclists. This handbook is currently under review.

 Australian Road Rules, which form the basis of road rules of each Australian state and territory.

You can also watch our Sharing the road television commercial.

Summary of rules and responsibilities

Cyclists are allowed to ride side by side (up to two abreast) on the road and are permitted to use the right lane to turn right or perform a U-turn at a roundabout.

In the NT, cyclists are allowed to ride on the footpath. All cycle paths are shared paths (with pedestrians) unless a sign indicates otherwise. When riding on a shared path you must keep to the left, unless it is not possible to do so, and give way to any pedestrian.

When on a shared path and approaching someone from behind, slow down and sound your bell or horn to let them know you are passing. There is a 20km/h speed limit on Darwin City Council shared paths. Please respect it!

Cyclists must ensure that they wear a helmet which meets Australian Standard AS/NZS 2063. The helmet must be properly fitted and fastened when riding a bicycle on a road or road-related area (including passengers). In the NT, this rule does not apply if the rider is over 17 years of age and is riding on a public place or path that is separated from the road. However it always recommended that cyclists wear a helmet when riding in the Territorty

They must also have

  • at least one effective brake on their bicycle
  •  a working bell or horn on their bicycle
  •  at night or hazardous weather conditions ride with:
    •  a white light that can be seen from at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle.
    •  a red light visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle.
    • a red reflector that is visible for at least 50m from the rear of the bicycle.


As well, cyclists must

  • maintain control of the bicycle at all time
  •  ride on the left side of the road
  • ride in a predictable and considerate manner
  •  ride with at least one hand on the handlebars
  •  ride the bicycle the way it has been designed to be ridden
  • ensure all passengers sit on a seat designed for them
  • not carry more people than the bicycle is designed to carry
  • signal when turning right or merging into the right lane
  • give way to pedestrians and other vehicles when entering a road
  • stop and give way to any vehicle exiting a roundabout
  • when cycling on the roadway, always use the on-road bike lane where there is one available
  •  not ride alongside more than one other rider on a road, except to overtake other riders when safe to do so
  •  keep to the left when using a footpath or shared pedestrian / bicycle path and give way to pedestrians
  • not ride a bicycle across a pedestrian crossing, children’s crossing or marked foot crossing
  •  only ride on a crossing where there are bicycle crossing lights
  • not be towed by another vehicle
  • not ride within 2 metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres
  • not lead an animal on a bicycle from a leash or any other kind of leading device
  • not ride with both hands off the handlebars or feet off the pedals or to carry any load which prevents them from having control (it is an offense)
  • ride as near as possible to the far left side of the road. It is illegal and dangerous to ride on the right hand side of the road into oncoming traffic.

When riding on the road you are vulnerable; take care and watch out for vehicles.

When riding a recumbent  it is recommended that you use a high visibility flag on a pole to improve your visibility to other road users, cyclist and pedestrians.