This rule establishes the rules under which traffic operates on roads. It applies to all road users, whether they are drivers, riders, passengers, pedestrians, or leading or droving animals.
Note: Both of these pages will also provide links to the consultation material – such as summary of submissions and FAQs (questions and answers) – for each version and amendment.
Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment when they are signed. These and other consultation documents on this page have not been updated to take into account any later rule amendments and are retained for historic interest only.
The links in the main table link to questions and answers.
SCHOOL CROSSING POINTS
Drivers now have to give way to pedestrians on both sides of a pedestrian crossing unless the crossing is divided by a raised traffic island.
Vehicles blocking pedestrian crossings
Before proceeding across a pedestrian crossing, a driver must ensure there is enough clear space on the other side, so as not to block that pedestrian crossing.
Passing at school crossing points
Drivers must not pass other vehicles that have slowed or stopped at school crossing points.
|SPECIAL VEHICLE LANES||Special vehicle lanes
Drivers must not use a special vehicle lane unless operating a vehicle of a type that is permitted to use that lane. The only exceptions are:
In addition, a person must not stop, stand, or park a vehicle in any special vehicle lane, unless that vehicle is entitled to use that lane and stopping is permitted by signs or markings.
|EMERGENCY STOPPING LANE USE||Motorways and emergency stopping lanes
Drivers must only use the emergency stopping lane on a motorway in a genuine emergency
|SLOW VEHICLE BAYS||Slow vehicle bays
Drivers who are driving slowly and impeding other traffic must use slow vehicle bays if available.
|KEEPING LEFT||Keeping left
Drivers must keep left on multi-lane roads unless turning, passing or the left lane is blocked.
Approaching multi-lane roundabouts
Signalling at roundabouts
|EXCESSIVE NOISE||Noise in and on a vehicle
Operating equipment in or on a vehicle in such a way that creates excessive noise is prohibited. This applies to noisy stereos and external speakers as well as revving engines noisily.
|BUSES||Use of doors on buses
Buses with passengers on board should not be in motion at any time that the door or doors are open.
Exemptions for checking seat belts for drivers of buses
Bus drivers are not legally responsible for checking passengers are using seat belts, if seat belts are available.
|USE OF LIGHTS||Vehicle lights and dazzle
Drivers must not use their vehicle lights in a way that dazzles, confuses, distracts or in any way endangers other road users.
Vehicle fog lamps
Vehicle fog lamps must only be used when conditions are such that your visibility is severely reduced – eg by snow or thick fog. You must not use fog lamps under clear atmospheric conditions as you could dazzle other road users.
You may only use a work lamp on your vehicle to illuminate a work scene and you must be stationary or travelling slowly.
Beacons may only be legally used by the following vehicles under the following circumstances:
Non-commercial vehicles should use hazard lights only for safety purposes to indicate a temporary hazard to traffic, for example, when your vehicle has broken-down and you are awaiting assistance, or on a vehicle that’s being towed.
Goods vehicles may use hazard lights when double-parked for trade purposes and taxi drivers use hazard lights when in distress.
|CARRYING LOADS AND TOWING||Carrying loads and towing
Light vehicle towing speed limit increase
The speed limit for light vehicles towing trailers will increase from 80–90 km/h. (At the same time, the Police will be enforcing a reduced discretionary tolerance of 5 km/h over any applicable speed limit (previously 10 km/h).)
If you’re carrying a load, you need to ensure it is safely loaded and secured and is not likely to risk injuring, annoying or distracting other road users, or damaging property.
Riding in or on an object which is being transported on a vehicle in a manner or position that may cause injury is prohibited.
A driver must ensure the trailer is safely and securely attached by an adequate coupling to the rear of the motor vehicle.
|Towing motorcycles or all terrain vehicles
A driver must not tow a motorcycle or an all terrain vehicle (such as a quad bike) unless it is mechanically disabled.
|Brake connection between vehicles
All drivers towing other vehicles must ensure the brake connection between vehicles are correctly connected so that the brakes of towing and towed vehicles operate as intended. (this links with equipment requirements in the Heavy Vehicles Rule).
'P' parking restrictions will now apply on weekends unless stated otherwise
|Parking on loading zones
The new rule allows for some loading zones to be restricted by councils so that you would not be able to leave your vehicle unattended at any time – for example, at airport drop-off points. This prevents congestion and addresses the security risks associated with unattended vehicles being left in these types of areas.
|Parking on traffic islands and flush medians
You may not park on a flush median (a median strip which is flush with the road) or traffic island under any circumstances.
|Parking vehicles off roadway
In general, it is not permitted to park on cultivated grass areas (grass or gardens that have been tended and cared for).
|Use of doors
It is illegal to cause a hazard to any person by opening or closing the door of your motor vehicle, or by leaving the door open. This applies to both drivers and passengers and both the drivers' and passengers' side – eg leaving a door open which blocks the pavement.
|Parking on footpaths
You may park a cycle, mobility device and wheeled recreational device on a footpath unless there is a sign that says otherwise – however, you must ensure that it is not in the way of other users of the footpath.
|FOLLOWING ANOTHER VEHICLE||Following distances
The Road User Rule says you must maintain a safe following distance behind the vehicle in front of you (see below) and if going more than 50 km/h, you must leave sufficient room in front for a vehicle passing you to be able to safely move into the gap. The legal minimum following distances set out in the Road User Rule are:
|HELMETS||Helmet requirements and standards
The Road User Rule sets out who has to wear a helmet, what standards helmets need to meet and under what circumstances they need to be worn.
Other provisions relating to helmets:
Motor cycle, moped and all terrain vehicle helmets
The current regulations are updated to reflect the standards that are approved and explain which version of the standard is applicable.
All motorcycle riders will now need to apply to the Director for an exemption if they are unable to find an approved helmet that fits.
Obligations on people in sidecars, or people in trailers towed by bicycles, to wear helmets
Current regulations do not require a person being carried in a motorcycle sidecar, or a person in a trailer towed by a bicycle, to wear a helmet. The LTSA view is that a person riding in a sidecar or bicycle trailer is just as vulnerable to serious head injuries as the rider or pillion rider if the motorcycle is involved in an accident. The proposed Rule addresses this anomaly.
Helmet use on all terrain vehicles eg quad bikes
All terrain vehicle users must wear motorcycle helmets if driving on the road (however farmers using the road to get from one part of the farm to another are exempted).
|SHARED ZONES||Shared zones
A driver of a vehicle must give way to a pedestrian within a shared zone. Vehicles include cyclists, so cyclists must also give way to pedestrians in a shared zone.
A pedestrian in a shared zone must not ‘unduly impede’ the passage of any vehicle in a shared zone. This means that they should not deliberately block the path of an approaching vehicle. Instead, they should keep to the side of the shared zone, so that vehicles can pass them easily even though they are required to give way to pedestrians.
|MOBILITY DEVICES||Mobility devices
A mobility device is defined as a device that is designed specifically for people who need assistance to be mobile – this includes a motorised wheelchair or mobility scooter.
In the same way as pedestrians, mobility device users must use the footpath where one is readily accessible. They must otherwise stay as close as possible to the edge of the road. They must drive in a careful and considerate manner and at a speed that doesn't cause a hazard to other users of the footpath.
In addition, pedestrians must not block the way of mobility device users unnecessarily.
|RECREATIONAL DEVICES||Wheeled recreational devices
A wheeled recreational device is defined as a device with wheels which is powered primarily by human power (it may have a motor, as long as it is 200 watts or less). It includes scooters, skateboards, inline skates etc.
Wheeled recreational device users must ride in a careful and considerate manner and at a speed that doesn’t cause a hazard to other users of the footpath or road. As before, they are permitted to use the footpath or road, but when using the footpath, they must give way to everyone else on the footpath.
|ANIMALS ON ROADS||Leading animals by riders
If you are leading an animal on the road eg horse, dog or goat, you must ‘exercise due care’ – which basically means you must take all reasonable steps to avoid causing harm to other road users by not letting an animal run out onto the road causing a traffic hazard.
Ridden and driven animals
The rule says drivers must take care to avoid causing harm to other road users. This means you should slow down and not sound your horn if an animal is being ridden or led along the road and could be affected by the noise.
Moving untethered animals on roads
If you are moving untethered animals on the road, you must also take care to avoid harming other road users.
An outrigger is a projecting frame extending laterally beyond the main structure of a vehicle that supports and stabilises an extending part e.g. a crane. You must not drive a vehicle fitted with an outrigger on a road unless the outrigger is fully retracted and locked.
|DUAL STEERING||Dual steering
You must not drive in the left-hand driving position of a vehicle with dual steering unless you are using it for its intended purpose, eg teaching someone to drive, or unless you are testing the vehicle.
|VINTAGE VEHICLE EMISSIONS||Emission of smoke or vapour from motor vehicles
Under the Road User Rule, vehicles must not emit smoke or vapour for ten seconds or more – vehicles are exempt from this requirement where the engine is original equipment for the vehicle and its design prevents the vehicle from complying without disproportionate effort and expense. However the driver has to produce documentation proving this.
|FLASHING YELLOW TRAFFIC SIGNAL||Flashing yellow traffic signal
A traffic light flashing yellow indicates an uncontrolled intersection, eg the normal give way rules apply.
|GIVING WAY TO VEHICLES FLASHING BEACONS||Making way for vehicles with flashing beacons or using a siren
Drivers must make way for vehicles displaying flashing lights or using a siren. Vehicles with flashing lights include Police, fire service, ambulance and other emergency service vehicles. You must also make way for vehicles being escorted by enforcement officers.
You must also make way for other emergency vehicles using flashing beacons such as medical practitioners and you must also give way to wide vehicles accompanied by pilot vehicles displaying flashing beacons.
|ENTERING/ EXITING DRIVEWAYS||Giving way when entering or exiting driveway
Drivers entering or exiting a driveway must give way to road users on the footpath
|HANDHELD STOP SIGNS||Hand-held stop signs
A driver approaching a hand-held stop sign must stop before reaching the sign and must not proceed until the person holding the sign removes it or displays a ‘go’ or ‘slow’ sign towards the driver.
|CYCLISTS ISSUES||Cyclists issues
Traffic signals, limit lines and cyclists
Limit lines are the white lines that indicate where motorists should stop at an intersection. The rule allows cyclists to wait safely at a cycle limit line (marked in front of a limit line) so they can be seen easily by other motorists and can get a head start when the traffic lights turn green.
In a controlled race situation, an exemption is given to the law that cyclists must ride no more than two abreast.
Cyclists may now use reflective clothing instead of pedal reflectors.
|HEAVY VEHICLES||Heavy vehicles
Speed limit increase
A new regulation which increased the speed limit for heavy vehicles towing trailers (truck trailer units and A trains) from 80 to 90 km/h in May 2004 will be replaced by a corresponding provision within the Road User Rule.
Static roll threshold
The Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule brought in a static roll threshold (SRT) measurement to check the stability of heavy vehicles. The RUR will enable enforcement of this requirement on the road using a static roll threshold compliance certificate if the load height and gross mass limits differ from that on the certificate of loading.
|LEVEL CROSSINGS||Level crossings
Drivers must not proceed across a level crossing if their exit is blocked by stationary traffic.
Drivers must give way to an approaching rail service vehicle that is within 800 metres of a level crossing.
|SPEED LIMIT EXCEPTIONS/ EXEMPTIONS||This provision confirms drivers must not exceed speed limits and sets out in what circumstances some vehicles are exempt, eg emergency vehicles. It also confirms that some vehicles have a lower speed limit than the posted speed limit in some circumstances, eg heavy vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.|
|UNSAFE VEHICLES||Unsafe vehicles
A driver must not operate a vehicle in a condition, or in a manner, that causes or is liable to cause –
A driver must not operate a motor vehicle on a road unless that motor vehicle has a ready means of entrance and exit for every person that is carried in it.
Last updated: 11 May 2005