By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Friday, December 4, 2020
Picture this: It’s the middle of the day and you’re driving in the city, when you realise you need to make a left turn. One problem – there’s a bus lane between you and that turn.
Do you dash across the bus lane at the last second, or do you find another route?
Perhaps you drive in the bus lane for a kilometre or so before the turn.
The latter option is a bad idea. According to the law, you can drive in a bus lane for up to 100m before making a turn, giving you enough time to prepare. You can also remain in it for up to 100m after making the turn.
If caught driving in a bus lane for longer, without an acceptable reason, you risk being handed a $285 fine and a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
You can’t stop in a bus lane either, say to take a phone call or drop someone off. This could result in the same fine.
In 2019-20, 403 motorists were caught driving in bus lanes – that’s a 17.4% increase compared to the previous year.
There are other times you can drive in a bus lane as well. If a vehicle’s turning right from the middle of the road and blocking your path, you can pass them in a bus lane. However, you must leave the lane within 100m of overtaking the vehicle.
In short, you’re allowed to travel 100m in bus lanes to pass turning vehicles, pass obstacles or turn into another street.
You might’ve also noticed certain bus lanes only operate during specific times. The priority bus lanes installed on Anzac Hwy, West Tce, Grenfell St and Currie St operate between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday. At all other times, any vehicle can use them.
Can I drive in a bicycle lane?
There’s also been an increase in people being caught driving in bike lanes.
Last financial year, 57 people were fined for driving in bike lanes while 95 were cautioned by police. Another 392 people were caught stopping in bike lanes.
Parking or driving your car in a bike lane is against the law and could result in a hefty fine, however there are occasions when you can drive in them.
Say you’re turning into a driveway or down a street. You can travel in a bike lane for up to 50m before making the turn.
You can also enter a bike lane when avoiding an obstacle or a vehicle which is turning right or doing a U-turn.
Make sure you check for any cyclists who may be riding in the bicycle lane before you complete any of these manoeuvres.
What is a bus-only lane?
You might have seen these bus-only lanes in a few locations around Adelaide. They’re either completely red or marked with red lines and have “bus only” written in them with white letters.
Only buses or emergency service vehicles can use these lanes. If you’re caught driving in a bus-only lane, you risk a $278 fine and $60 Victims of Crime Levy.