Police and Council cycling workshop, 1 February 2005

Workshop notes

CAW members (David, Jane, Stephen and Patrick) went riding with police and council staff this morning. We run an annual Police / Council cycle training day. There were about 40 people there.

This year we started at 8am and cycled for about an hour from Karori, Johnsonville and Kilbirnie, and through town. Then we discussed some of the issues facing cyclists in city traffic. We pretty quickly figured out that cyclists sometimes have to choose between what is legal, what is practical and what is safe, e.g:

  • overtaking inside a line of moving traffic (Featherston St, Karori Rd)
  • overtaking outside moving traffic (Glenmore St, Ngaio Gorge)
  • coping with multi-lane roundabouts (Johnsonville) -
  • riding the cycle lane south of Kaiwharawhara, dodging turning traffic -
  • uncertainty about whether cyclists can use bus lanes / bus only lanes
  • riding on the footpath to get past stationary traffic.
Police took a fairly pragmatic approach. "It's the behaviour that compromises someone else's safety" was how one person put it. They didn't seem too bothered about riding on the footpath if there's no-one around. But if you run a red light they will happily ping you.

We asked what advice they would like to give cyclists. Responses included:

  • be predictable
  • signal before turning
  • avoid weaving
  • be visible
  • look around
  • occupy the lane where necessary
  • know your limits and give way if in doubt.

Bus lanes – cyclists may use these
Buses Only lanes – no cycling. Buses Only lanes are at:

  • Thorndon Quay
  • the operations area at the Lambton Interchange
  • the southbound route on Lambton Quay starting, at Kirkcaldie’s and continuing along Hunter St, Customhouse Quay, and Willis St.

Riding two abreast is legal.

Injury statistics
Wellington has high numbers of injuries among cyclists and pedestrians relative to mode share.

Legal requirements for a bike
There was discussion about the legal requirements for a bike.
Here’s what the LTSA website says:

What lights do I need?
When you ride on the road during the legal hours of darkness your bike must have:

  • a steady or flashing rear-facing red light that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres
  • a steady forward-facing white light that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres.
In addition to the two lights above, you can also display a forward-facing flashing white or amber light.

What reflectors do I need?
When you ride on the road your bike must have:

  • A red or yellow rear reflector at least 35 cm2 placed where it can reflect any light shining towards it from behind your bike.
  • Either yellow pedal reflectors on the forward and rearward facing surfaces of each pedal or reflective straps attached to the lower part of your legs while you're riding.
Safety rules for cyclists
In addition to the helmet-wearing requirement, cyclists must also follow these rules:
  • Cycles must be ridden on the road unless there’s an adequate cycle lane. Only riders delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets are allowed to ride on the footpath.
  • At intersections riders must follow the road rules for motor vehicles, or get off the cycle and walk across.
  • Cyclists can only ride alongside another cyclist or a moped (i.e. they can’t ride alongside a car, truck, or any other sort of vehicle).
  • Cyclists passing another vehicle must ride in single file.
  • Cycles cannot be towed by another vehicle.
  • Cycles can only tow a trailer. Towing any other sort of vehicle (like a person on a skateboard or rollerblades) is illegal.
  • Passengers can only be carried if the cycle has a pillion seat and footrests. The pillion seat must protect children’s legs from the wheels.
  • If you ride during the hours of darkness (defined earlier) you must have the cycle lights on.
  • Cycles must be kept in good working condition.

Your cycle must not have:

  • white lights at the back
  • red lights at the front
  • a rusty or dangerous frame
  • any dangerous fittings
  • any insecure loads, or loads that touch the ground.
You can’t carry any loads that extend more than one metre in front of or behind the wheels, or loads that extend half a metre (50cm) on either side of the centre of the cycle.
Note that new road user rules come into force on 27 Feb. There’s a summary at