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Tips and tricks to keep you safe

When you’re riding a bike, just like with a car, there are road rules. Riding is fun, free and great for you – but we want you to be safe too! Check out our simple tips to stay safe when sharing the road.

Some of the basics

Be aware – watch for car doors opening, potholes, rubbish, grates, and pedestrians. Always check for left turning vehicles.

Be predictable – maintain a straight line, use hand signals and a bell.

Be seen – make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians, ride at least one metre out from parked cars, and take the lane when appropriate.

Be safe – follow the road rules and choose the safest route.

Be bright – at night, use lights front and rear, and wear reflective items. You can find out the legal requirements for you and your bike on the NZTA website.

Be patient – slow down near parked or lined up vehicles, pass slowly and only when safe. On shared paths, slow down and use one ring of your bell to warn pedestrians before you pass, cycle with courtesy.

Be prepared – wear an approved helmet and check your bike regularly, including brakes, tyres, chain, lights, and reflectors.

Follow the cycling road code

Just like for cars, there’s a road code for cycling. The user-friendly guide to our traffic laws and safe driving practices is great background reading when you’re getting on – or back on – a bike. 

You can read it here on the NZTA website:

Cycle lanes help to keep you safe

Cycle lanes are painted strips dedicated for cyclists. Often they’re green, but they don’t have to be, and in other cities they can be different colours. Cars aren’t allowed to drive or park on cycle lanes.

We’re working to increase the number of cycle lanes in our city, but finding room for them on already built streets can be difficult. We’re working hard to ensure people can move around our city safely while also balancing the need for parking in some areas.

Hook turns

Hook turns are a safer way for cyclists to turn right. They can be done at almost any intersection. Watch this video from Christchurch City Council to see how to do it safely.

How to do a hook turn.

Sharrows

Sharrows are road markings which indicate safe places for you to share the road. Ride where the sharrow is, rather than keeping to the left. They will keep you out of the way of car doors opening or common traffic pinchpoints.

We often have to use them on narrow streets where we can’t fit cycle lanes.

Drivers should also recognise this symbol to learn that these are streets where cyclists will share the lane.

Sharrows show that the space is to be shared between people on bikes and in cars.

Two-way shared paths or cycleways

Remember to stay left if you are using two-way shared paths or cycleways. You can ride these regardless of which way the traffic is flowing. You’ll be able to find them in Longburn and on Tennent Drive.

Railway crossings

Always cross at designated crossing points only.

At a controlled crossing, cross only when red signals have stopped flashing, the barrier arms have lifted and the bells have stopped ringing.

If the railway crossing is not controlled, look as far as you can up and down the railway line to check for trains.