About cycling

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

Equipment rules

  • Cycle helmets must: be worn; meet an approved standard and be securely fastened.
  • Cycles must have brakes and reflectors.
  • Cycle lights must be on when it's dim or dark.
  • Doubling is not allowed unless there is a special seat called a pillion fitted and there are footrests for the passenger. The legs of small children must be protected from the wheels. Passengers must wear cycle helmets.
  • Cycles can tow a specially designed cycle trailer but must not be fitted with a sidecar.

Behaviour rules

  • Always ride as near as you can to the left side of the road. If you are holding back traffic you must move as far as possible to the left side of the road to allow traffic to pass, as soon as you can. However, you do need to cycle in a sensible position on the road to keep safe. See Cyclist responsibilities for more information.
  • Two cyclists can ride next to each other but should take into account the keep left rule and not hold back traffic. Three or more people cycling next to each other is illegal, except in the case of a road race that has been given traffic management approval from a road controlling authority.
  • Ride in single file when passing vehicles.
  • Use hand signals to show other road users what you are doing.
  • When cycling behind other cyclists and vehicles you must be able to stop, keeping clear of the vehicle in front, if it stops suddenly. It is recommended you keep at least two seconds behind.
  • You are only allowed to cycle on the footpath if you are:
    • delivering newspapers or mail, or
    • you are riding a small wheeled recreational device that has a wheel diameter of less than 355 millimetres (typically tricycles or small children's bicycles).
  • Don't park your cycle so that it blocks paths or driveways.
  • It is illegal for a cyclist to be towed on their cycle.
  • Loads need to be secure, must not touch the ground and mustn't extend more than one metre out in front of or behind the wheels, or more than half metre on either side.
  • You must obey all signs and signals.
  • You must obey the give way rules and give way at pedestrian crossings.
  • You must obey local bylaws (these often cover cycles and parks).
  • Give way to emergency vehicles when their sirens are on or when lights are flashing. It is a good idea to pull over to the kerb and stop.

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Last updated: 11 February 2010