When you ride your bike on the road, the road rules apply to you. Here’s what you need to know.

Participants discuss road rules.

Some rules for riding your bike

Keep left, see and be seen

You need to keep towards the left while also being in a safe position for the road and traffic conditions. Don't get too far left and don't weave in and out of parked cars.

You need to be where you have a good view, and where other road users can see you.  Allow traffic to pass as soon as you can.

See also:

Do these things whenever you ride on the road

Riding next to each other

Two people can ride next to each other as long as you don't hold back traffic. Ride in single file when going past vehicles such as parked cars.

Signs and Signalling

You must obey all road signs and signals including traffic lights. Follow the give way rules and give way at pedestrian crossings.

Use hand signals to show other road users what you are doing — just like you use indicators in a car.

Cycling through intersections(external link) (the official New Zealand code for cyclists, includes give way rules)

Hand signals(external link) (the official New Zealand code for cyclists) 

Following distance

Keep a safe distance behind other bike riders and vehicles. The gap should be at least two seconds, four seconds in wet or other adverse conditions. You must be able to stop if the vehicle in front stops suddenly.


The only bike riders allowed on footpaths are people delivering newspapers or mail, or children on tricycles or small bicycles (the wheel diameter for children must be less than 355 mm).

Bus lanes

You may use a bus lane, unless there are signs or road markings forbidding this. A "B" traffic signal applies to bikes as well as buses.

Carrying things

Loads need to be secure and not touch the ground. Loads mustn't stick out more than 1 metre in front of or behind the wheels, or more than half a metre either side. The exception is you can tow a specially designed cycle trailer.

Rules about bikes and gear

Cycle helmet: you must wear an approved standard helmet. It needs to be buckled up securely.

Brakes: you must have good working brakes on front and back wheels.

Reflector: a red or yellow rear reflector must be on every bike. Normally found under the seat.

Cycle lights: must be on when it's dim or dark.

Extra seat: you can only carry a passenger, such as a child, in a specially fitted pillion seat with footrests. Carrying someone anyone else (doubling) is not allowed. Passengers must wear helmets.

Trailers: You can tow a cycle trailer, but you can't fit a sidecar to your bike.

More details

Additional rules are in the cycle code.

Rules for cycling (The official New Zealand code for cyclists)(external link)