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Cyclist skills training

Learning to ride a bicycle takes lots of practice so you should consider taking a course. Courses vary and cover a range of skills depending on who they are designed for. If you are interested in taking a course, contact your local council, bike club or bike shop to find a local training provider.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), Bike NZ and CAN have recently developed national guidelines for cyclist skills training.

The training is separated into three grades of learning.

Grade 1 - Beginner

If you are a beginner cyclist, learn to cycle in a safe place off the road. Beginners need to learn about their bicycle and how to control it. You should learn to:

  • do a bicycle check
  • do a helmet check
  • understand the legal requirements and safety equipment for bicycles
  • get on and off the bicycle without help
  • start off and pedal without help
  • stop quickly and with control
  • steer the bicycle and manoeuvre safely to avoid objects
  • look behind
  • signal (stop, left, right)
  • use the gears.

Grade 2 - Intermediate

Grade 2 cyclists need to learn skills to ride safely in a variety of traffic situations. Practice needs to take place on quiet roads. You should learn to:

  • do all of the grade 1 skills
  • understand road signs and the road rules
  • start from the side of the road (kerb)
  • stop on the side of the road (kerb)
  • ride along the road
  • pass a parked or slower moving vehicle
  • travel straight through controlled and uncontrolled intersections
  • turn left - at controlled and uncontrolled intersections
  • turn right - at controlled and uncontrolled intersections
  • use cycle lanes (optional)
  • use shared paths (optional)
  • ride through single lane roundabouts (optional)
  • ride through traffic signals (optional).

Grade 3 - Advanced

Grade 3 cyclists need to learn to ride safely in all traffic situations. Practice in a variety of traffic situations. You should learn to:

  • do all of the grade 1 and 2 skills
  • use multi-laned roundabouts
  • use intersections with traffic signals
  • turn in and out of multi-laned roads
  • overtake to the start of the queue
  • recognise hazards and be an assertive, but also safe and confident cyclist
  • share the road with other users
  • ride in high-speed traffic environments (rural)
  • do hook turns (optional)
  • ride in groups (optional).

If you are interested in more information on the NZTA cyclist skills training programme see: www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/ways/bike/index.html.

More advanced and specialised cycling skills

As you get more proficient you may want to start cycling more and explore the wider range of cycling opportunities on offer. Whether you're interested in cycling for transport, recreation or sport, on or off road, there is a wealth of information and experience available to help you. Ensuring you are better prepared through learning more advanced or specific skills, having a bike and equipment matched to the type of cycling and learning from the experience of other cyclists, will help ensure an enjoyable experience. For further information on cycling, helpful advice, events, finding a local club or cycle shop, go to www.bikenz.org.nz and www.can.org.nz.

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Last updated: 24 April 2013