Auckland Transport

Tips & safety advice for cyclists Tips & safety advice for cyclists

Cycling can be a great way to travel all year round. Check out our riding tips to make sure your bike is raodworthy and that you are safe.

Tips for safer riding on the road

  • See and be seen – by riding in a visible position on the road, using lights and reflective material at night and wearing brightly coloured clothing.
  • Communicate with other road users – by using eye contact, hand signals and checking over your shoulder before making a move.
  • Scan – for anything that may affect you such as:
    • Parked cars - try to see if there is a driver in the parked car and keep enough distance to clear an unexpected opening door
    • Potholes, gaps, uneven surfaces and debris on the road
    • Children, large crowds or pedestrians who may cross the road without looking (they can’t hear you)
    • Cars turning into or out of side streets – use eye contact to make sure they have seen you
    • Listen – for what is happening around you. Using earphones will limit your ability to hear possible hazards.
  • Be predictable - by riding in a straight line, not darting in and out of parked cars, and always use hand signals to let drivers know your intentions.
  • Obey the road rules – as disobeying road rules directly affects the way cyclists are treated every day on the streets by other road users. Read the road code for cyclists.
  • Ride a road worthy bike – check your brakes work and your tyres are pumped before every ride.
  • Be courteous and smile – it is an effective way to improve attitudes and ensure people on bikes get treated well by motorists.
  • Plan a cycle route that you are comfortable with - there are often quieter streets that run parallel to a main road, walkways that connect quiet streets, or parks you can ride through. Careful planning of your route can help avoid a main road or even a daunting hill. AT has a series of cycle, run and walkway maps that can help you plan your route.

Tips to get your bike road worthy

Like cars, it is important that bikes are roadworthy and safe to be on the road. It's important that you regularly check everything is working. A well maintained bike will increase your performance, reliability and safety. You can undertake as little or as much maintenance on your own as you like, but all bikes should be serviced at least annually by a trained bike mechanic.

Before every ride, there is a quick 4-point safety check that you should get in the habit of performing.

  1. Tyres – Check they are inflated correctly. Have a quick look all the way around for any worn or cracked rubber.
  2. Wheels – Check that the quick release levers (or wheel nuts), are securely fastened so they don’t come out while riding.
  3. Brakes – Try both the front and back brakes to make sure they are working
  4. Reflectors and lights – Make sure your rear red reflector is clean and visible and check your lights are working if planning to ride at night.

We have developed a series of Bike Maintenance 101 videos to help keep your bike in safe working order. These videos cover the following topics:

How to correctly fit a bike helmet

The law requires you to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. It is important to make sure your helmet is the right size, is worn correctly and is standards approved.

To correctly fit your helmet:

  1. Loosen all the straps.
  2. Place the helmet squarely on your head making sure it covers your forehead.
  3. Do up the chin strap and make sure it is tight enough so it can’t slip back over your chin.
  4. Adjust the back and chin straps so the buckle on each side sits just below the ear lobe and all straps sit tight on the side of your head.

Key points to remember

  • Ensure the helmet is not tilted forward so that it covers your eyes or tilted to either side so it covers one side of your head.
  • Do not wear the helmet on the back of your head. It exposes your forehead and face and you risk being strangled by the strap.
  • Do not wear a helmet with the straps loose. It won’t stay in place and the straps could catch on something.   
  • Do not wear a cap under your helmet. In an accident the cap may cause your helmet to come off.
  • Do not buy a helmet for a child to ‘grow into’.
  • Do not buy a second hand helmet. Even if it looks okay, it may have been damaged.
  • Do not wear a helmet after it has been in an accident or has been bashed. Cracks in the shell, cracked or squashed padding, or frayed straps mean that the helmet may have lost its protective qualities. 

Helmets are a secondary safety measure. They do not prevent collisions and should not be seen as a substitute for proper cycle safety training.

How to correctly fit a bike helmet diagram 

Correct examples of a fitted helmet


Examples of incorrectly fitted cycle helmets

Tips for sharing the road with cyclists

More and more people are getting on their bikes around Auckland, whether it’s to commute to work, exercise or out with the family. During the winter months, it is important to watch out and look harder for cyclists on the road and give them the room they need, especially when making a turn or passing.   

A bike is a vehicle, just like a car, bus or truck, so cyclists and motorists have equal rights and an equal responsibility to share the road safely.

Below are some safety tips for motorists about driving around cyclists:

  • Take care when passing cyclists. Slow down and allow at least 1.5m of space between you and the cyclist.​
  • Check rear-view mirrors and look over your shoulder before you open a car door.
  • Passengers should check behind for cyclists too, especially when parking alongside a shared path.
  • Take another look at intersections. Bikes are smaller than other vehicles. 
  • Avoid overtaking a cyclist just before you turn left at an intersection. Slow down and turn behind the cyclist. 
  • Indicate clearly and in plenty of time when turning and stopping.​
  • You cannot drive, park or stop in a cycleway.
  • When entering or exiting a driveway, look both ways and give way to cyclists, especially when alongside a two-way cycleway.


Cycling on footpaths

According to the New Zealand Road Code, cyclists are only allowed on footpaths if they're delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets. Some people believe that cycling on footpaths is safer than cycling on roads. One significant danger that arises from cycling on footpaths is the risk of being hit by a car pulling out of a driveway.

Even though it's not recommended to cycle on footpaths, anyone who does should be careful and follow some simple guidelines:

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

Shared paths and two-way cycleways

Shared walking and cycling paths

Shared paths are for everyone to enjoy by foot or bike.

3 basic guidelines when using shared paths:

  • Cyclists ring your bell to alert walkers and slow down when passing.
  • Walkers keep left and allow cyclists to pass when you hear a bell.
  • Share the path, it's for everyone to enjoy.

Two-way separated cyleways

Instead of having a cycle lane on both sides of the road, a two-way cycleway is on one side of the road and cyclists can travel in both directions within it. This means that any motorists or pedestrians crossing the cycleway will need to look both ways for cyclists.

The Beach Rd, Nelson St and Quay St cycleways are two-way separated cycleways.

Report problems and bad driving

If you see or experience bad driving that endangers cyclists, there is something you can do. Take down the details of the vehicle and report it to the NZ Police, either by calling your local police station or laying a complaint online.

If you come across a pothole, glass or other issue on the road that may pose a danger to cyclists, please report the problem so we can attend to it.

Feel free to let us know if you have other suggestions to improve our cycle and walkways.

Report a problem