Compliance activities

A man holding wooden blocks with the word compliance on them.

Our compliance and enforcement approach to unlawful or non-compliant activity

Council has adopted an Enforcement Policy which is accompanied by guidelines that detail how Council staff will respond and deal with allegations of unlawful works or activity to ensure that we fulfil our responsibilities to the community.

In all cases we would prefer to resolve issues with our residents and help them to be compliant so that we can all live in a safe community with reasonable amenity. We will always send a letter first if unlawful activity is detected (other than minor offences) and we urge the community to call us at this stage and we will work through the issues together.

There are two aspects to Council dealing with unlawful activity:

  • We want compliance to be achieved and will use Court action as a last resort.
  • Penalties may be applied as a deterrent and to avoid repetition of unlawful behaviour. As stated, prosecution in Court is a last resort.

Your cooperation is important to us in managing the above aspects. Responding to unlawful works or activity can consume considerable resources. In approximately 85% of cases people work with us and respond to what they are being asked to do in order to sort out the issues. This enables them to get on with their lives and we can put our resources to good use elsewhere servicing the community.

If you do not respond to our communications or attempt to resolve the issues raised, you can be issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice or, in more serious cases, you may be taken to court. This may result in you incurring significant costs for unreasonably consuming Council resources.

Our compliance activities rely heavily on the community to make complaints and provide evidence to assist us in taking action in order to ensure we are directing resources in response to community needs and expectations. We also try to be proactive in identifying and dealing with illegal activity of all kinds through targeted compliance programs.

Staff exercise discretion when deciding how to deal with these matters, taking into account the evidence, cost to the community of any action, circumstances of the individual case, public policy and legal precedent.

For more information see our fact sheet and guidelines below. If you have any questions or would like to report illegal activity, phone us on (02) 6625 0500.

Enforcement Policy(PDF, 85KB)

Compliance and Enforcement Guidelines(PDF, 1MB)

Fact Sheet – Enforcement and Compliance Approach(PDF, 379KB)

Fact Sheet – Information for Complainants(PDF, 389KB)

Understanding the Law: Bicycles on Footpaths in Public Spaces

Q: What are the rules for riding on a footpath?

A: Generally, bicycle riders must not ride on a footpath. However, children under 16 years of age are allowed to ride on a footpath so long as the footpath area is not a ‘NO BICYCLE ZONE’.

Allowing children under the age of 16 on the footpath is a community road safety response aimed to help keep them safe until they have the skills, decision making and knowledge of the rules to ride safely on the road. 

The Lismore CBD block (area bounded by Woodlark, Keen, Magellan & Molesworth Streets) is managed as a ‘NO BICYCLE ZONE’. All bicycle riders must walk their bikes through signposted areas. 

The NSW road rules provide the following additional rules for bicycle riders aged 16 years and over accessing footpath areas: 

Bicycle riders aged 16 years and over must not ride on a footpath unless they are:

  • An adult supervising a child under the age of 16.
  • Accompanying a child under the age of 16 where all children are under the supervision of an adult.
  • A postal worker riding a bicycle in the course of their work duties.
  • A rider carrying a child under 10 as a passenger.
  • A rider with a medical condition who is carrying a medical certificate that states a medical practitioner believes the rider should be allowed to ride on the footpath.
  • A rider accompanying a rider with a medical condition. 

When riding on a footpath, riders must keep left and give way to pedestrians.

Q: Do the NSW road rules apply to riding a bicycle?

A: Yes, bicycle riders in NSW must obey the road rules. A bicycle is defined as a vehicle in the NSW Road Rules 2014. This definition means the road rules that apply to cars and other motor vehicles also apply when riding a bike. 

For example, you must stop at stop signs and red traffic lights and indicate when you are changing lanes or directions (using hand signals, as bicycles lack the indicator lights of other vehicles). There are also special road rules that only apply to bicycle riders, these can be found at

Q: Who enforces the road rules for bicycle riding?

A: NSW Police.

NSW Police can issue penalty notices for breaking road rules, which includes the statutory rules outlined in the NSW Road Rules 2014. This includes issuing infringement notices for specific violations such as riding on afootpath or shared path and riding in a no bicycle signed and marked area.

The City Safe Program, run by Council, plays a crucial role in educating users of the CBD about legislative and community expectations. The goal is to promote safe and accessible public spaces, including footpaths, for all users. However, Council’s staff do not have the necessary legislative powers, training, or tools to address criminal or anti-social behaviour. This responsibility lies with the NSW Police.

For more information about bicycles on footpaths contact Council on 6625 0500. To report an incident call Lismore Police on 6626 0599.