1. The basics
Obey give way rules, road signs and markings. Use hand signals. Pass other people safely and without startling them. Keep left when it is safe to do so. No more than two riders side-by-side. Do not ride while distracted or impaired. Do not ride on footpaths (exceptions apply). Scan for hazards and be ready to deal with them. Wear a helmet, have the correct lights and reflectors and check your brakes!
2. Use hand signals correctly
There are three official hand signals: 1. Extend your left arm and hand to signal that you are going to turn or move left. 2. Extend your right arm and hand to signal that you are going to turn or move right. 3. Extend your right arm and raise your forearm and hand to signal that you are going to stop.
3. Road positioning and passing
Keep left wherever it is safe to do so. In some situations you need to move right, towards the centre of a lane. This is called ‘taking the lane’ and helps you avoid hazards and prevent unsafe passing. Riding around a roundabout, using turning lanes at an intersection or riding past a parked car are examples of when you need to take the lane. Sharrow markings are sometimes used in places where people on bikes are likely to need to take the lane.
Pass other people with patience and care. On the road, you must pass other riders on the right. Allow as much room as possible and avoid startling them. If you are riding on a busy road, you may need to wait for a gap in the traffic so you can pass safely. On shared paths, use slower speeds and give way to slower users. Pass other people with at least a metre gap to avoid startling them. Let pedestrians know you are approaching by politely calling out or ringing a bell well in advance, especially if they have not seen you. Where possible, ride on the left and pass on your right.
4. Riding with others
When you ride with others, think about other riders in the group and other people around the group. Inexperienced riders or children may need special attention. When riding with others follow the road rules by: 1. Riding so that no more than two riders stay side-by-side 2. Passing other moving riders and motor vehicles on the right 3. Keeping a safe following distance 4. Not staying side-by-side when passing parked or moving vehicles. Riding single file can also be a good idea on corners, hills and roads with less than 200 metres visibility.
The give way rules are the same for people riding bikes and driving other vehicles.
Give way rule #1: You must stop or give way when necessary at these places: 1. Intersections that have no signs or traffic lights (uncontrolled intersections) 2. Stop signs. 3. Give way signs. 4. Traffic lights.
Give way rule #2: If you’re turning, you must give way to vehicles that are going straight ahead. If you’re leaving a marked centreline at an uncontrolled intersection, this counts as turning and you must give way to vehicles that are following the centreline. If you’re riding across a footpath, bus lane or cycle lane, you must give way to people on the footpath or travelling in those lanes.
Give way rule #3: If you’re turning right, you must give way to all vehicles coming towards you including those turning left. This rule applies when both vehicles are facing the same signs or traffic lights, or when they’re not facing any signs or traffic lights.
Give way rule #4: At a T-intersection, public access or driveway, traffic on the road that ends must give way to all traffic on the road that continues.
Give way rule #5: If none of the other four give way rules apply, use rule #5. This rule says that you must give way to all vehicles coming from your right.
Give way at pedestrian crossings. Pedestrian crossings are intersections where people on foot have priority. If you are riding, you must give way at a pedestrian crossing. Slow down and be ready to stop for any pedestrians on a crossing or waiting to cross. If you want to cross at a pedestrian crossing you should get off your bike and walk. Cycle crossings, courtesy crossings, and shared pedestrian and cycle crossings are the only crossings you can ride across.
The signs, road markings, traffic lights and give way rules at intersections with traffic lights generally work the same for everyone on the road. With standard traffic lights, you still need to give way If you’re turning right. You must give way to all vehicles coming towards you including those turning left. If you are turning left, you must give way to people crossing the road. This includes people riding mobility devices, skateboards, e-scooters and scooters.
Turning right at some intersections can be difficult. If you prefer, you can: 1. pull to the left and pause to wait for a safe opportunity to cross 2. stop in a safe place and walk your bike to cross as a pedestrian would 3. complete the turn in four steps as a hook turn. Hook turns mean that you can stay on the left side of the road at all times.
The signs, road markings and give way rules at roundabouts generally work the same for everyone on the road.
6. Paths, cycle lanes and bus lanes
You are not required by law to use cycle lanes, paths or bus lanes and you have the right to use the road.
It’s illegal to ride a cycle on footpaths unless you’re delivering mail or the cycle has very small wheels (wheel diameter less than 355 millimetres).
Shared paths are off-road paths such as widened footpaths, marked with signs or markings and are physically separated from the roadway. They are for people walking and riding bikes as well as push scooters, e-scooters, skates, skateboards and other similar ways of getting around.
Transit lanes have signs or markings to show that they can only be used by vehicles with passengers. Bikes, buses, shuttles, taxis, motorbikes and mopeds can use transit lanes, even if they don’t have passengers. Transit lanes apply all the time unless there’s a sign saying what days and times they apply .
Bus lanes and bus-only lanes have signs or markings to show that they can only be used by special kinds of vehicles (see below).
For a full version of the New Zealand code for cycling visit: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/…/Cycle…/Cycling-code-2020.pdf