Skip to Main Content
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 roadworthy and that you are safe.

Safe riding advice

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 and shared path maps that can help you plan your route.

Cycling on 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.

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.

Tips for riding electric bikes (e-bikes)

Red e-bike

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) have some great tips for riding e-bikes including:

  • information to help you get used to your e-bike,
  • things to consider when riding on the road, using power assist, passing other cyclists and using shared paths,
  • help with deciding which e-bike to buy.

Read tips for riding electric bikes on the NZTA website.

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.

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

Bikes and safety gear

What you need to get started with cycling

Before you start riding you’ll need to make sure you have the right gear. You don’t have to own lycra, however the following are key:

  • Bike – having a bike that is the right size for you is important. A bike that is too big or too small can be dangerous and hard to control.
  • Bike helmet – this should meet NZ Standards.
  • Bike lights – this is important is you ride at night or early in the morning when it is harder to see cyclists.
  • Comfortable clothing – make sure it’s not too loose around the legs to avoid it getting caught in your chain or wheels. You can pick up a good trouser holder at all good cycle stores.
  • Covered shoes – wear shoes that are enclosed and appropriate for riding. Sandals and jandals are not appropriate.
  • Bright or reflective clothing or vests – particularly if you ride in the morning or at night.

You also need to keep up the maintenance of your bike and check the tyres, wheels, chain, brakes and lights regularly. This is important to make your bike safe and easy to ride. It is recommended to get your bike serviced once a year.

Find out more about our free bike skills and maintenance drop-in sessions.

Choosing a bike

There are lots of bikes on offer, so selecting the one that suits you can be a challenge.

We have a short list of questions that will help guide you to the type of bike you need and a tip sheet for different bike styles.

How to 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.

Learn how to fit a bike helmet correctly and other tips.

How to lock your bike securely

With the right equipment and knowledge you can reduce the risk having your bike stolen. Here are some helpful tips for locking your bike:

  • If available, always secure your bike to a purpose built bike rack.
  • Lock your bike in a visible and well-lit area.
  • Do not always lock your bike in the same location.
  • If you have a quick-release wheel, always double check that you have locked the wheel.
  • Remove all detachable accessories from your bike.

Double lock your bike

Double secured bike

Using 2 locks to secure your bike makes it significantly less attractive target for a thief. To do this:

  1. Use two different types of locks, a D-lock and cable lock or chain is a common combination.
  2. Put the first lock on the back of the bike through the frame and then through the rear wheel.
  3. Put the second lock on the front through the frame and the front wheel.

AT has a range of bike parking facilities available such as lockers, cages and racks.

Consider taking your bike with you

Did you know you can take a bike on a ferry and train? It’s an excellent way to have a day out and explore new parts of Auckland. Remember to check the ferry timetable for return sailing times, as off-peak and weekend services differ from weekdays. On trains large items (including bicycles) must be carried in the area designated within the train carriage.

Keep a record of your bike and its serial number

In the event of your bike being stolen, this can help with insurance claims and getting your bike back. You can take photo of your bike and serial number on your smart phone and upload to the cloud. Another good place to store personal ownership information is the police website SNAP.

Tips to get your bike roadworthy

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:

Links and resources

  • Watch our cycling in Auckland video series - Everyday Aucklanders who ride bikes. Hear about their tips and tricks for cycling in Auckland, their secret riding locations, the type of bike they ride, how they look after their bike, and the type of things they take with them.
  • Cycling groups and organisations - Learn more about different cycling groups, organisations and resources.

You may also be interested in: