Planning on cycling in New Zealand? A guide to important road rules and safety tips for cyclists who want to experience stunning scenery on two wheels.

Taking to Aotearoa New Zealand's roads, new cycle paths and mountain bike tracks is an adventurous way to see the country, and you'll be rewarded with amazing views if travelling sustainably by bike. 

Some regions like Nelson Tasman have embraced cycling and made the whole region explorable for cycling enthusiasts. Or find one of the Great Rides to suit you and your ability.

But before you ride off into the sunset, there are some key things to think about which will keep you and your companions safe. 

Walter Peak Guided Cycling, Real Journeys, New Zealand

Top route tips

  • Research your route.
  • Avoid main highways.
  • Cycling is not permitted on motorways.
  • Consider using alternative transport to avoid busy roads.
  • Use cycle paths or lanes, where provided.
  • Ride only on the road or sign-posted cycle path (unless you’re delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets, or there is a sign indicating the footpath is a shared pedestrian and cycle path).
  • Follow mountain bike tracks or rules in mountain bike parks so as not to disturb native bush

What to wear 

  • Helmets for cyclists and motorcyclists must be worn at all times.
  • Rear and front lights on cycles are required at night.
  • Wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing when cycling - you'll be easier to see.

Road rules 

  • At intersections follow the rules for motor vehicles, or get off your cycle and walk across.
  • If space allows, you can ride alongside another cyclist or moped. You must not ride alongside a car, truck or other motor vehicle.
  • Ride in single file if passing another vehicle.
  • Give a hand signal at least three seconds before stopping or turning.
  • Only carry a pillion passenger on your cycle if you have a pillion seat and footrest. If you’re carrying a child, make sure the pillion seat protects the child's legs from the wheels.
  • You must not leave a cycle blocking a footpath.
  • Ride with lights on when it’s dark (from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise) or at other times of poor visibility, eg when it’s foggy.
  • Keep your cycle in good working condition.

New Zealand cycling rules can be found online at the Transport NZ website(opens in new window)

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