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Transport Agency urging Kiwis to get Bike Wise this summer


Summer is here and the NZ Transport Agency is encouraging Kiwis to get on their bikes and discover the many benefits cycling has to offer.

The Transport Agency’s annual Bike Wise programme is now underway, culminating in February’s Bike Wise MonthBike Wise aims to inspire more Kiwis to give cycling a go while at the same time raising awareness of the need for cyclists and motorists to share the road safely.

“Cycling is a great activity to be involved in, particularly during the summer months, but it’s important that drivers and cyclists look out for each other and share the road safely. We need everyone using the road to be ‘bike wise’ for a safe summer,” says Ernst Zollner, NZ Transport Agency Road Safety Director.

The Bike Wise programme for 2014 will feature plenty of events around the regions, providing some easy opportunities for people to get involved. We’d love to see more Kiwis out there giving cycling a go as the weather warms up.

The programme includes a calendar of cycling events across New Zealand, including Big Bike Tune Ups, where mechanics conduct a free maintenance check to ensure bikes are safe, road-worthy and a good fit for the cyclist.

Before hitting the road, brush up on your skills through The official New Zealand code for cyclists(external link) and remember these key tips for sharing the road safely:

Safety Tips for Cyclists

  • Be prepared: Plan a safe route and check your bike before you start – brakes, tyres, chain, lights and reflectors
  • Be aware: Watch for car doors opening, potholes, rubbish, grates, and other hazards
  • Be confident: Ride in a straight line, at least one metre from parked cars if you can and take the lane when you have to. Use cycle lanes when you can.
  • Be considerate: Try not to hold up the flow of traffic – if necessary, pull over to allow vehicles to pass
  • Be predictable: Make eye contact with other road users and signal your intentions clearly
  • Be seen: Wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing. Use front and rear lights at night, in low light and rain.
  • Be patient: Slow down near parked or lined up vehicles. Pass slowly and only when safe. 

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Be aware: Watch for cyclists, especially in low light or rain, before opening car doors and at intersections. Cyclists may be travelling faster than you expect
  • Be patient: Slow down near cyclists and if need be, wait behind them. Pass slowly and only when it is safe. Ideally, leave a space of about 1.5 metres
  • Be considerate: Cyclists sometimes need to use the traffic lane for their safety. Please give them time and space to move in and out of the lane
  • When turning left: Remember that if you have passed a cyclist just before approaching a traffic signal, driveway, bus stop or junction, it is very likely they will end up on your left-hand side or just in front of you – assume the cyclist is in one of your blind spots.

Bike Wise Events

  • Big Bike Tune Ups, November 2013 - February 2014

To ensure bikes are safe, road-worthy and are a good fit for the cyclist, a series of Big Bike Tune Ups will be held throughout the country over spring and summer. People are encouraged to bring their bikes along to a local Big Bike Tune Up where mechanics will conduct a free maintenance check.

  • Bike Wise Month, February 2014

A number of fun cycling events will take place throughout the country during Bike Wise Month to expose Kiwis to the enjoyments of cycling. Events include recreational rides, bike festivals and family fun rides. events.

  • Go By Bike Day, 13 February 2013

The key event during Bike Wise Month, Go By Bike Day, is a day on which people are encouraged to leave the car at home and cycle to work or school. In a number of regions, they can even enjoy a free breakfast on the way.

See link) for a full list of events.

For more information on the Bike Wise programme, activities happening in your area, cycle routes, bike info and more, visit the Bike Wise website link). You can also share your cycling stories and get frequent updates on the Bike Wise Facebook page ( link)) and on Twitter link).