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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

These pages provide information on safe riding practice, equipment and on your responsibilities as a cyclist.

Every cyclist, walker, and driver has a role to play in making Dunedin a cycle-friendly city and a safer place for everyone.

The information provided here will help ensure all road users can safely navigate the streets of Dunedin and beyond.

Cycle safety

The Official New Zealand Code for Cyclists is full of useful information on how to ride and use the road safely.

The Code is important for cyclists of every level of ability, from beginners to experts. We recommend you make yourself familiar with the Cyclist Code before heading out on your bike.


The law says that you have to wear an approved safety helmet when you're on your bike.

  • Make sure it fits your head properly, that you wear it correctly and that it doesn't move from side to side or slip off the back of your head.
  • Wear it on your head, not your handlebars.
  • Check the helmet for damage, and the straps for wear. If in doubt, have it checked at a cycle shop.


The law says that your bike must have good brakes on the front and back wheels. It’s a good idea to:

  • Fit a bicycle bell on the handlebars.
  • Clean and oil your bike often.
  • Have your bike checked by a cycle shop once a year.

Hand Signals

  • Let other road-users know what you are going to do.
  • Give a good clear hand signal, at least three seconds before you stop or make a turn.
  • Always look for other vehicles before turning, especially from behind.

Stop and look

  • Before you ride onto the road, check for pedestrians, cyclists and cars.
  • Be visible - ride where you can be seen.


  • If the road feels too busy, hop off your bike and walk along the footpath.
  • If you need to cross a busy intersection, walk your bike across a pedestrian crossing.

Be Seen

  • Wear bright colours - so you can be seen on the road.
  • Wear reflector strips around your ankles and waist.

Your bicycle must always have:

  • A red or yellow reflector at the back of your bike, facing backwards.
  • Yellow pedal reflectors.

At night, or when visibility is poor, your bike must have:

  • A steady red or yellow light at the rear, or a flashing red light that can be seen at night from at least 100 metres.
  • A steady white light at the front of your bike that can be seen at night fr

Cycle hazards

Crash Records

New Zealand Transport Agency maintains a database of all crashes reported to the Police that involve a motor vehicle. Most cyclist crashes are unrecorded as they involve another cyclist, a pedestrian or a stationary road feature.

Hazard Identification

Cyclists are the best 'eyes' for identifying possible cycling hazards as, collectively, they cover all of Dunedin at road level.

What if you see unsafe driving behaviour

If you have witnessed or been in a crash that resulted from unsafe driving behaviour, you can ask the Police to take action.

If you don't want the driver to be prosecuted, you can complete an online Community Roadwatch Form (link to external website, new window). The Police will follow up on these reports by sending a warning letter to the offender. The reports are stored for later use if necessary.

For more serious offences, a formal complaint or statement must be made in person at a police station.

You can also report the incident to the Police immediately by calling *555 from your cell phone.

Get Noticed – lighter, brighter, alive

  • Pull on some high viz gear before you saddle up and make sure you’re noticed on the road. High viz gear means other road users are more likely to see you, reducing the risk of a misjudgement.
  • Check your brakes before you set out.
  • Make sure your helmet is correctly fitted – bike shops in Dunedin will be happy to check this for you.
  • Use a bike bell (available free from bike shops) or tell people you’re passing them if you need to alert them when using the shared pathways. Be aware that some people may be using headphones and might not hear you until the last minute.
  • Check your bike lights if you’ll be cycling at dusk, early morning or in the dark.

For drivers, a reminder to share the road

Always slow down and wait until it's safe to overtake cyclists, allow a minimum clearance of 1.5 metres.

"Fast moving vehicles don't just create a direct hazard from colliding with cyclists. It's also the slipstream from vehicles that can cause cyclists to wobble, or even be sucked towards larger vehicles. On narrow roads with very little room for error, even a slight wobble from a cyclist can result in serious consequences" adds Nicola Bould who is a member of the Port Chalmers Community Board and Harbour Cycleway Network.

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