Confident cycling – tips and tricks
Cycling is affordable, fun and a great way to stay fit and healthy. It’s important to remember that as a road user you must follow the road rules, and wear an approved safety helmet.
Cycling requires a certain amount of skill. If you’re not experienced at riding in traffic, take the time to build your confidence on quieter roads. The best route to ride is often different from the route you’d drive.
Practice your skills and plan your route to make use of cycleways or streets with less traffic and lower speeds. If possible, find an experienced cycling friend or colleague to ride with.
Sport Hawke’s Bay in conjunction with Cycling New Zealand offer Adult Cycle Skills and Bike with Us programmes. Contact Lyndal Johansson (Community Walking and Cycling Development Officer) to learn more. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the official New Zealand code for cyclists(external link) to help build your confidence and skills, or the NZTA cycling website(external link) for great information on cycle safety.
Our friends at Wellington City Council have put together seven light-hearted videos(external link) with great tips for cycling.
Sharing the Road
Here are a few simple tips when sharing the road:
- Be seen – wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing and use lights.
- Be aware – watch for car doors opening, uneven surfaces, and people walking. Remember to check behind as well as ahead of you.
- Be predictable – make eye contact with other road users. Be confident. Use hand signals and a bell. Ride at least one metre from parked cars and try not to weave.
- Be safe – follow the road rules and choose the safest route.
- Be patient – slow down near parked or lined-up vehicles. Pass slowly and be ready to stop quickly.
- Be prepared – wear an approved helmet and check your bike’s brakes, tyres, chain, lights and reflectors regularly.
Shared lane markings
Shared lane markings (called sharrows) indicate the safest place to bike on the road.
They are often used on roads without dedicated cycle lanes, to help people cycling and driving share the space.
Sharrows direct people cycling to the safest position on a road. They help people on bikes to avoid hazards like car doors opening, or ‘pinch points’.
If you’re driving, sharrows are a prompt for where you can expect people to be cycling.
Sharrows are a common feature in the new cycleways.
With an increase in the number of people choosing to cycle to get around, awareness, respect and courtesy are key behaviours that will help people get where they’re going safely.
Here are a few general tips to help things go smoothly:
Ride in control
- Control your speed so you can react quickly if needed.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times including behind you, and be especially alert when travelling through road works.
- Make extra checks around intersections where people driving may turn across cycle lanes.
- When riding through queues of stationary or slow-moving cars, scan ahead for gaps in the queue where turning vehicles may unexpectedly cut across your path.
Be seen and heard
- During the change of seasons, be prepared with working lights on your bicycle so you can be seen.
- Bike lights in flashing mode are more noticeable and use less battery power.
- Reflectors, reflective strips, reflective bag covers and reflective ankle bands can help you be more visible.
- Ring your bell when approaching others you plan to pass others on bikes, and people walking.
Communicate with others
- Be predictable. Use clear hand signals to let other road users know your intentions.
- Make eye contact with other road users to help you both be sure that you’ve seen each other.
- Thank other road users when you can. Let them know you appreciate that they waited for you by waving, smiling or giving a thumbs up.
- Positive interactions help build a considerate and safe road culture, and make travelling on our roads more pleasant for everyone.
- Road sharing advice if you’re driving(external link)
- Official road code if you’re cycling(external link)
- Road sharing hints when cycling or driving a truck or bus(external link)
- Cycle Safe school programme