Cycling tips

Get the right bike for you

  • If you are new to cycling, you will probably want to start with a bike that is fairly stable and easy to ride. Mountain bikes are great for beginners because they have fairly wide wheels and a good range of gears.
  • Racers or road bikes have much thinner wheels and are built for speed. You will need to keep a careful eye on the road or path ahead. Potholes or large cracks in the surface of the road are more likely to knock you off a racer bike than a sturdy mountain bike.
  • Many people find hybrids or commuter bikes a good compromise between speed and stability. Frames come in many different sizes and you should try and get one appropriate for you. Your seat should be high enough so your legs can completely straighten. This helps with your pedalling efficiency.

Make sure you can be seen

  • Black is definitely not the best colour to wear when you are riding, as it makes you the same colour as the road. You are at increased risk of being hit by a car if the driver can't see you.
  • At night, good lights with charged batteries are essential for safety and are required by law. You need a white light at the front and a red light at the back.
  • You should invest some loose change in a visibility vest from a discount store. Vests are around $2.

Lock up your bike

  • There are many locks available for bikes. Steel D-locks are generally the most secure.
  • You should make sure you lock up you wheels, particularly if they have a quick-release mechanism.
  • As a general rule, invest about 10% of your bike's value in a lock.

Take up space on the road

  • It is important to be assertive when riding on the road. Hold your line and do not duck behind parked cars to let motorists through.
  • You are entitled to take up a whole lane and you should ride at least one metre from the curb or parked cars.

Watch out for opening doors from parked cars

  • Being hit by a car door is one of the most common bicycle accidents. Don't ride too close to parked cars and keep an eye out — even though it is the person in the car's responsibility to keep an eye out for you.

Indicate when turning

  • You must indicate when turning right or changing lanes. You should do this by sticking out your right hand.
  • You do not have to indicate to turn left but it is still a good idea.
  • Cyclists can turn right from the right lane as a car would normally do, or they can choose to do a hook-turn from the left lane.

Take care on tram tracks

  • Tram tracks can be very dangerous, especially if your bike has thin wheels.
  • When you cross tram tracks, make sure you do so at as close to ninety degrees as possible.

Further reading

The Urban Bicyclist has an excellent Melbourne City Rider Guide [PDF 550KB] full of great tips for riding in traffic and at night, locking your bike securely and more.

Bicycle Network also has useful information especially under the Resources and Advice section.

If you are interested in cycling and would like to increase your cycling skills, Darebin City Council runs CycleWise Free* Bike Training for Adults.