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Safety Tips

Cycleways for the Future
New Zealand Roads (Waterview Connection)

People using shared paths and cycleways need to know how to keep themselves and others safe.

Cycling can be a great way to travel all year round. Here are some tips to make sure your bike is road worthy and that you are safe.

Tips to get your bike road worthy

Like cars, it is important that bikes are road worthy and safe to be on the road. It's important that you check everything is working. 

A well cared for bike will be easier to use and safer. You can do as little or as much maintenance on your own as you like, but all bikes should be serviced at least each year. 

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

  1. Tyres – Check they are pumped up. 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 secure 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.

Safe use of cycleways

Even if you are using a cycleway you still need to:

  • See and be seen – by riding where you can be seen, by using lights and reflective material at night and by wearing bright coloured clothing.
  • Communicate with other 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 intersections, potholes, other cyclists and walkers
  • Respect others – share the path and use a bell to alert walkers

If you are riding on the road you will need to follow the road code. Find out more here.

How to correctly fit a bike helmet

You must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. It is important to make sure your helmet is the right size, is worn correctly and meets the standards.

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, sideways or backwards and sits straight on your head.
  • 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 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 as damage may not be visible but the helmet will no longer work properly.

Helmets do not stop accidents and proper cycle safety training is still needed.

Even though footpaths are not for cycling, anyone who does use these should be careful and follow these guidelines:

  • Take care around all driveways or corners – drivers are not expecting anyone to be moving quickly.
  • Take care around walkers – slow down, ring your bell before you get to them, give them lots of space, pass with care and respect.  

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.


Pedestrians include anyone that is not in a car or on a bike. Pedestrians need to keep themselves safe by:

  • Using crossings where they are provided
  • Looking both ways before crossing even when using a marked crossing
  • Taking care around intersections and driveways
  • Giving way to cyclists and vehicles
  • Wearing reflective clothing at night

When you are a passenger in a car you also need to think about others who are using the road. Always look behind you before opening a car door so you do not knock a cyclist off their bike.

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Audio Māori keywords: 

How do you stay safe when you are out cycling?

With a little bit of thought and the right equipment you can stay safe while cycling or out walking. Image: NZTA.

Use the 2, 4, 1 rule to make sure your cycle helmet fits correctly. Image: AT.

A well fitting helmet which is worn correctly will protect your head. Image: AT.

A cycle helmet will not protect your head if it is not worn correctly. Image: AT.

People should wear bright clothing to be visible when cycling and anyone riding on the road must follow the road code. Image: NZTA.

Cycleways for the Future
New Zealand Roads (Waterview Connection)