Intersections and roundabouts can present particular challenges when riding a bike. The official New Zealand Code for Cyclists is a user-friendly guide to New Zealand’s traffic law and safe riding practices, and has specific and clear guidelines for these situations.
Using bus lanes can help to get around quickly but there are a few important things you need to know to stay safe:
You may use a ‘Bus Lane’, as long as there isn’t a ‘Bus Only’ sign
Be extra considerate of buses – the size of a bus means bus drivers often can’t see cyclists
Vehicles turning left may need to cross bus or cycle lanes. The law states that they must give way to all vehicles using the lanes. But you still need to be careful if a vehicle is turning left just ahead of you as the driver may not see you, or may wrongly guess your speed.
Advance Stop Boxes are painted green and are on most Wellington City streets. Use them to position yourself in the full view of traffic at intersections. When the lights turn green you’ll get a head start on any turning vehicles.
If there is a row of small diamonds painted on the road, ride over those to trigger the lights.
A Sharrow road marking is a distinctive new marking on shared traffic lanes designed to improve cyclist safety.
The marking - a white bicycle with two arrows above it - is used to indicate where cyclists should ride to be most visible and avoid hazards like car doors.
The mark also provides a reminder to drivers that they should watch out for cyclists and share the road.
When you’re cruising the streets drivers will be looking out for you. Bright clothes and reflective material make it much easier for motorists to see you and when the sun goes down bicycle lights are essential.
Check out Greater Wellington’s lights test to find out which lights are best.
Riding a steady line past parked cars, pot holes or broken glass also makes it easy for cars to give you a wide berth. A safety margin of one metre when passing parked cars is needed to avoid being ‘doored’.
Sudden braking or swerving are common causes of crashes in bunches. Group rides work best when riders communicate hazards and rotate the lead rider smoothly. Riding two-abreast is legal (unless you are passing other vehicles or holding up traffic). Riding three-abreast is never legal.
Attending a training course or group ride are good ways to cover the rules and gain cycling confidence.
Contact Pedal Ready to find out about training opportunities and local cycle groups for group rides.