Recently on a ride I’m behind Balhannah on Greenhill Road with intentions of going to Hahndorf backaround to Algate, Stirling, Crafrers and down. A policeperson ‘woops’ me. I pull over, at this point thinking gee I haven’t done anything wrong here… have I?

I then was privileged to a complete ear bashing and near dressing down on how I am the reason cyclist get a bad name. Not high vis enough, rear light not flashing enough, front light too bright and pointing too high, not riding wide enough. I stood with hands on handle bars listening intently really worried I was in big trouble. 2-3 minutes goes by, the policeperson walks back to their car, drives off with some speed and intent. I continue riding, no warnings, no tickets… absolutely nothing!

I ride at night quite a bit and am lit up like a Christmas tree, hence my query/question:
What are the legal requirements for cycling at night time? Not common sense, but LEGAL requirements.

The police person said my rear light wasn’t visible enough from 200 meters?
Front light was too bright (600 lumens on high beam) & pointed down approx. 5 meters infront of me.
High vis – well it’s a long sleeve fluorescent yellow that I don’t think could light up more when cars have their lights on it.

This is not having a crack at the police, we all have bad days, I think this police person was having a doozey.

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Australian Road Rule 259:


The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays—

            (a)         a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle; and 

            (b)         a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle; and 

            (c)         a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low-beam. 


There is no requirement for hi-vis clothing, as far as I am aware; or of lights being too bright on a bicycle.

Thanks Peter.

Excellent. I suppose the definition of "clearly visible" is disputable and in the persons opinion. As a cyclist I have eyes for them when driving a car more than those who only drive a car.
I had a number of cars pass me without any honking or stern encouragement along that stretch of road and felt confident my lights were quite sufficient. 

I suppose there needs to be a distance to be visible from - 200m seems fair enough.

Very good point Dave. Infact I am going to do this tonight. Lean by bike against the front fence and walk away right to the end of the street, 150m away. See how that looks.

Well you inspired me to do the same thing. I found that my rear light was not bright enough! Fortunately I found an old one which was.

Were you riding at night? I don't understand when this took place?

Yes at night. It was around 7:30-8pm

Bacon. Make a complaint and let them enjoy their ear bashing in return.

I got that horrible feeling as the "police person" was looking me up and down. Honestly it was rather odd. 6'3 and lean, they were quite the opposite. Putting it all down to them having had a very bad day. I feel sorry if they pulled someone over who was actually doing the wrong thing. They would have had the book thrown at them

Hi Benny,
Did he take your details? If so you should of asked for his. This aspect may trigger the policeman to book you in some fashion but also has the dual benefit of stopping the small but existing fraternity in SAPOL from their harassment. If they didnt identify what the outcome was then that is clear harassment. It is normally a warning or a fine right? Not a dressing down after being pulled over by some policeman and then he/she drives off.

Call SAPOL's bluff and ask for clear specifications of the gear they think meets this cause I could fit a plethora of cycling lights to rule 259. All claiming they meet the ARRs

Took no details. Naturally I was upset during the ordeal but later put it down to them having a bad day. So you can request a police persona details?

They have to give you their Police number I believe, I probably wouldn't push my luck as they could have you off the road (defected) for not having Reflectors on your bike. Bizarre story though, sounds like they were having a crap day and wanted to let off some steam?

I've got some reflective stickers coming. I'm curious to know if they are legally sufficient in replacement of the shield shape reflectors? There is no standardisation on reflective stickers so probably not.


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