Riding on shared paths, cycleways & the road Riding on shared paths, cycleways & the road

Cycling is great fun, excellent for fitness and a fantastic way to get around Auckland. You may be able to reach your destination using quiet streets, shared paths and cycleways.

To find out what cycle infrastructure is in your area check out our maps and rides.

Riding on shared paths and cycleways

Shared paths

Example of a shared path: Te Ara I Whiti also known as the pink Lightpath
Image: Shared path - Te Ara I Whiti or Lightpath

Shared paths are for all users, on all kinds of mobility including people walking or on bikes, pushchairs, scooters, and more. It is important to look out for others, slow down, and pass with care.


Example of a protected cycle lane on Quay Street
Image: Protected cycle lane on Quay Street, Auckland City Centre.

  • Protected cycle lanes are dedicated paths for people using bikes. They are physically separated from people driving and people walking, using various forms of separation including planter boxes, concrete kerbs, flex-posts, or berm space.

Example of an on-road cycle lane on Carrington Road
Image: On-road cycle lane on Carrington Road, Mt Albert.

  • On-road cycle lanes, often painted with surface greening on part of the road dedicated for people using bikes.


Some people feel safer riding on a footpath than the road, be aware that according to the New Zealand Road code, the only cyclists allowed on the footpath are those delivering mail. One of the main dangers with riding on a footpath is the risk of being hit by cars pulling in and out of driveways.

It’s not recommended to ride on footpaths, but anyone who does should be careful and follow these simple guidelines:

  • Take care when approaching driveways or corners – drivers are not usually expecting anyone to be moving faster than a pedestrian.
  • When approaching pedestrians slow down, ring your bell, give them plenty of space and pass with caution and respect.

Learn more bike skills

If you are looking to get on a bike for the first time, wanting to practise some bike handling skills or looking for advice for riding on the road, then check out our range of Adult Bike Skills training courses.

Riding on the road

There are few things you can do when riding on the road to make your ride more enjoyable as well as to help keep yourself safe.

See and be seen

  • Ride in a visible position on the road, wear brightly coloured clothing, and if riding at night add in some lights and reflective material.

Communicate with other road users

  • Make eye contact with drivers where possible, use hand signals to clearly indicate your intentions and check over your shoulder before any manoeuvres.
  • Riding in a straight line, rather than darting in and out of parked cars, makes your behaviour more predictable and therefore easier for drivers to navigate around you safely.
  • Show some courtesy and a smile, it will go a long way to helping improving attitudes and ensuring people on bikes get treated well by motorists.

Stay alert

Continually scan the environment around you for things such as:

  • Parked cars, look to see if there is a driver in the car and pass them with enough space to allow for an unexpected opening door.
  • Potholes, uneven surface or debris on the road.
  • Pedestrians may cross the road without looking properly first, they also won't hear you approaching.
  • Cars turning in or out of side streets. Use eye contact to make sure they have seen you.
  • Listen to your surrounds, using headphones will restrict your ability to hear possible hazards.

Obey the road rules

When riding a bike on the road you must legally obey the road rules. Disobeying them also directly effects the way cyclists are treated every day by other road users so it’s in everyone's best interests to follow the road rules.

If you need a refresher on them, check out the road code for cyclists on the NZTA website.

Route planning

Pick a route that you are comfortable with. Often there are quieter routes that run parallel to a main road, shared paths or parks that you can ride through. Planning a new route out can help avoid a main road or even a big hill. AT has a series of cycling maps which may help to plan your route.

If you are looking to progress your on-road riding skills then check out our Adult Bike Skills courses to learn more about positioning, hazards, signalling and more.