Is it illegal to drive in a bus lane?
The answer is yes and no, as you can sometimes drive in Bus Lanes but only buses can drive in Bus Only lanes.
Though it is tempting, you can’t simply hop into a bus lane in Australia and drive on your merry way past thousands of people sitting in traffic. It doesn’t matter how good Tom Petty’s 'Runnin’ Down A Dream' is on your road trip, you have to obey the rules when it comes to bus lanes, of which there are two general types in Australia.
There are Bus Lanes (B Lanes) and Bus Only lanes, the latter of which only registered buses and coaches can drive in. Interestingly, the rules are a bit more lax when it comes to Bus Lanes. Bicycles, taxies, HC-plated hire cars and motorbikes are allowed to drive in Bus Lanes.
Car drivers are also allowed to travel up to 100m in a bus lane if they are turning into or out of a street (left or right), or are entering or leaving a property adjacent to the bus lane. You can also drive for up to 100m in a bus lane if you are passing another car that has stopped to turn right, or avoid an obstruction.
There are also designated areas where you are permitted to cross the bus lane to change lanes, move through an intersection, or to turn into a street. However, if they aren’t explicitly signposted as being one of these crossing areas, treat them like a normal bus lane.
The penalty for ignoring the rules is a $319 fine and one demerit point on your licence. And remember that many metro areas will have fixed cameras on bus lanes that photograph people driving in them!
The rules for driving in, around, on, or near bus lanes are well listed on the internet from what we found.
The NRMA has a handy guide, too.
This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here is suitable to your situation before driving in this manner.