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Cycling is affordable, fun and a great way to stay fit and healthy - as well as a convenient means of getting around. And the more people who cycle, the fewer vehicles on our roads. The fewer vehicles, the less harmful gases get emitted as well as less traffic noise and pollution.

Every time you ride, you have an opportunity to contribute to a cycle friendly culture. It is important to ride with courtesy and respect for all other cyclists and motorists. Make sure you are visible at all times and clearly show your intentions. Thank other road users when you can. For example, let them know you are happy they waited for you by waving, smiling, or giving them a ‘thumbs up’. This will make sharing the road easier for everyone.

An important thing to remember is, that as a road user, you must follow the road rules and you must also wear an approved safety helmet.

Cycling safely

Cycling requires a certain amount of skill and confidence.

Here are a few simple tips to stay safe when sharing the road.

  • Be Seen - Wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing and use lights.
  • Be Aware - Watch for car doors opening, potholes, rubbish, grates, and pedestrians. Always check for left turning vehicles.
  • Be Predictable - Make eye contact with other road users. Maintain a straight line and don’t pass on the left hand side.
  • Be Confident - Use hand signals and a bell. Ride at least one metre from parked cars. Use the cycle or traffic lane.
  • Be Safe - Follow the road rules and choose the safest route.
  • Be Patient - Slow down near parked or lined up vehicles. Pass slowly and only when safe.

We have some resources that can help build your cycling confidence, skills and knowledge:

Rules to follow when cycling

Before cycling on the road you must know the road rules. They apply cyclists as well as those using motor vehicles. The rules help prevent crashes and reduce risk of injury.

Learn more about the rules you need to follow in The official New Zealand code for cyclists.

Safety helmets

Wearing an approved safety helmet dramatically reduces the risk of a skull fracture if your head hits an object or the road, which is why the law requires you to wear one. A helmet also reduces your chance of getting concussion and protects your head from cuts and scrapes.

Your cycle helmet must:

  • meet an approved standard
  • be securely fastened.

Learn more about cycle helmets and use in The official New Zealand code for cyclists.

Legal requirements for your bike

  • Brakes on front and back wheels (just on the back if it was made before 1 January 1988).
  • Rear reflector visible from 200 metres when light shines on it.
  • If you want to ride your cycle on the road at night or in limited visibility, it must have:
    • one or two white or yellow headlights that can be seen from a distance of 200 metres (one of these headlights may flash)
    • One or two white or yellow headlights that can be seen at night from a distance of 200 metres. Only one of these headlights may flash.and
    • pedal retroreflectors on the forward and rearward facing surfaces of each pedal (or if the bike does not have these the cyclist must be wearing reflective material).

Using low powered vehicles

There is a range of low-powered devices that New Zealanders use for travel or recreation. While these vehicles and devices offer the benefit of increased mobility, they can also increase your safety risks on and around the road. Find out more about low-powered vehicles and the requirements that apply.

Cycling for short trips

Cycling to work is a great way to fit exercise into a busy day as well as saving you money and being kinder on the environment. Most people can cycle a 5–8km trip in 30 minutes. Too far to cycle? You may be able to combine cycling as one part of your commute. Alternatively power assisted cycles are becoming popular and have the ability to extend the trip. 

Want to know more about cycling on our roads?

Find out more about cycling in New Zealand.

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