Cycling is affordable, fun and a great way to stay fit and healthy. It's important to remember that as a road user you must follow the road rules, and wear an approved safety helmet.

Children cycling on a cycle lane

Cycle smart

Two women on Uni-Cycle cyclewayCycling requires a certain amount of skill. If you’re not experienced at riding in traffic, take the time to build your confidence on quieter roads. The best route to ride is often different from the route you'd drive.

Practice your skills and plan your route to make use of cycleways or streets with less traffic and lower speeds. If possible, find an experienced cycling friend or colleague to ride with. 

Check out the official New Zealand code for cyclists(external link) to help build your confidence and skills, or the NZTA cycling website(external link) for great information on cycle safety.

Our friends at Wellington City Council have put together seven light-hearted videos(external link) with great tips for cycling. 

Sharing the road

Here are a few simple tips when sharing the road:

  • Be seen – wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing and use lights.
  • Be aware – watch for car doors opening, uneven surfaces, and people walking. Remember to check behind as well as ahead of you.
  • Be predictable – make eye contact with other road users.  Be confident. Use hand signals and a bell. Ride at least one metre from parked cars and try not to weave.
  • Be safe – follow the road rules and choose the safest route.
  • Be patient – slow down near parked or lined-up vehicles. Pass slowly and be ready to stop quickly.
  • Be prepared – wear an approved helmet and check your bike's brakes, tyres, chain, lights and reflectors regularly.

Shared lane markings

Sharrow road markingsShared lane markings (called sharrows) indicate the safest place to bike on the road.

They are often used on roads without dedicated cycle lanes, to help people cycling and driving share the space.

Sharrows direct people cycling to the safest position on a road. They help people on bikes to avoid hazards like car doors opening, or ‘pinch points’.

If you’re driving, sharrows are a prompt for where you can expect people to be cycling. 

Sharrows are a common feature in the new cycleways.

How to use a cycleway

Cycleways are a proven way to improve the health of a city, reduce congestion and reduce the cost of infrastructure. So whether you are biking, driving or walking, please take care around the new cycleways.

Things to be aware of when using a cycleway

Hook turns

Hook turns are a safer way for cyclists to turn right at an intersection.

  1. Stay in the cycle lane as you enter the intersection and stop in the green hook turn box.
  2. Wait until the traffic signals on the other side of the road turn green and then cycle across the intersection keeping left.

Hook turns can be done at almost any intersection, including intersections with or without the marked stopping area.

Greenway with shared lane

Neighbourhood greenways are sections of cycle way on quieter 30km streets. Many greenways have sharrow markings.

Sharrows show that the space is to be shared between people on bikes and in cars. 

Cyclists should ride towards the middle of the road to avoid opening doors from parked cars and stormwater grates.

Cycle priority crossings

Green-painted cycle priority crossings, and paired cycle priority and pedestrian crossings mean that drivers must give way to people on bikes.

Cyclists need to check before entering the priority crossing that any drivers coming have seen them and are able to stop.

Driveways

Driveway safetyDrivers must give way to cyclists and pedestrians when entering or leaving a driveway. If possible, drivers should drive forwards out of their driveway.

If a two-way cycle way runs in front of a property, cyclists can be coming from both directions.

Remember to not park on the cycle way.

Two-way shared path or cycle way

Share the spaceStay left if you are walking or riding on a two-way shared path or two-way cycle way.

In-lane bus stops

Give way to bus boardersIn-lane bus stops require that cyclists stop to give way to passengers getting on and off the bus.

Bus passengers should stand on the footpath rather than the cycle way while waiting for the bus and also check for cyclists before boarding or exiting.

Traffic signals

Look for the cycle lightTake care to follow the designated cyclists traffic signals.

Target the diamonds to trigger the lights

When a bicycle rides over the white diamonds, this triggers the traffic lights at the crossing for cyclists.

Railway crossings

Look for trainsAlways cross at designated crossing points only.

At a controlled crossing, cross only when red signals have stopped flashing, the barriers arms have lifted and the bells have stopped ringing.

If the railway crossing is not controlled, look as far as you can up and down the railway line to check for trains.

Top tips

With an increase in the number of people choosing to cycle to get around, awareness, respect and courtesy are key behaviours that will help people get where they’re going safely. 

Here are a few general tips to help things go smoothly:

Ride in control

  • Control your speed so you can react quickly if needed.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times including behind you, and be especially alert when travelling through road works.
  • Make extra checks around intersections where people driving may turn across cycle lanes.
  • When riding through queues of stationary or slow-moving cars, scan ahead for gaps in the queue where turning vehicles may unexpectedly cut across your path. 

Be seen and heard

  • During the change of seasons, be prepared with working lights on your bicycle so you can be seen.
  • Bike lights in flashing mode are more noticeable and use less battery power.
  • Reflectors, reflective strips, reflective bag covers and reflective ankle bands can help you be more visible.
  • Ring your bell when approaching others you plan to pass others on bikes, and people walking.

Communicate with others

  • Be predictable. Use clear hand signals to let other road users know your intentions.
  • Make eye contact with other road users to help you both be sure that you’ve seen each other.
  • Thank other road users when you can. Let them know you appreciate that they waited for you by waving, smiling or giving a thumbs up.
  • Positive interactions help build a considerate and safe road culture, and make travelling on our roads more pleasant for everyone.