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Transport Agency urging Kiwis to get Bike Wise this summer

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The NZ Transport Agency is urging more Kiwis to get wise to the joys of cycling this February, with dozens of events planned around the country as part of Bike Wise Month, New Zealand’s annual celebration of cycling.

Bike Wise is a national cycling programme supported by the NZ Transport Agency to promote cycling as a fun and healthy way to travel, while encouraging all road users to share the road safely. 

With hundreds of cycling related events on offer around the country throughout the month, there’s something for everyone. Events include family-friendly festivals, competitive races, women’s only events, cycle skills training and even a series of Big Bike Tune Ups where mechanics conduct free bicycle maintenance and safety checks.

“Bike Wise Month features plenty of opportunities for Kiwis to get involved in cycling and we’d love to see more people out there giving it a go this February. With more people out on bikes over the summer months, it’s also an ideal time to remind drivers and people who cycle to look out for each other, be considerate and share the road safely,” says Ernst Zollner, NZ Transport Agency Road Safety Director.

Mr Zollner said the NZ Transport Agency recently launched a Share the Road education and advertising campaign designed to personalise and humanise people cycling so that motorists see beyond the bike. More information is available via  www.nzta.govt.nz/about/advertising/other-advertising/share-the-road.html(external link)

This year marks the 12th year of the Bike Wise programme.  In 2013, more than 800 events attracted some 75,000 participants nationwide.

Go By Bike Day

A highlight of Bike Wise Month is national Go By Bike Day on Wednesday 12 February, when New Zealanders are encouraged to leave their cars at home and cycle to work, school or wherever they’re going.

Safety first
Before hitting the road, brush up on your skills through the official New Zealand code for cyclists(external link) and remember these key tips for sharing the road safely:

Safety Tips for people cycling

  • Be prepared: Plan a safe route and check your bike before you start – brakes, tyres, chain, lights and reflectors.
  • Be aware: Watch for car doors opening, potholes, rubbish, grates, and other hazards.
  • Be confident: Ride in a straight line, at least one metre from parked cars if you can and take the lane when you have to. Use cycle lanes when you can.
  • Be considerate: Try not to hold up the flow of traffic – if necessary, pull over to allow vehicles to pass.
  • Be predictable: Make eye contact with other road users and signal your intentions clearly
  • Be seen: Wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing. Use front and rear lights at night, in low light and rain.
  • Be patient: Slow down near parked or lined up vehicles. Pass slowly and only when safe. 

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Be aware: Watch out for people on bikes, especially in low light or rain, before opening car doors and at intersections. Cyclists may be travelling faster than you expect.
  • Be patient: Slow down near people on bikes and if need be, wait behind them. Pass slowly and only when it is safe. Ideally, leave a space of about 1.5 metres.
  • Be considerate: Cyclists sometimes need to use the traffic lane for their safety. Please give them time and space to move in and out of the lane.
  • When turning left: Remember that if you have passed someone on a bike just before approaching a traffic signal, driveway, bus stop or junction, it is very likely they will end up on your left-hand side or just in front of you – assume the cyclist is in one of your blind spots and do not turn until you know they’re safely out of your way.

For more information on the Bike Wise programme, activities happening in your area, cycle routes, bike info and more, visit the Bike Wise website www.bikewise.co.nz(external link). You can also get cycling news and updates on the Bike Wise Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bikewise(external link)) and on Twitter www.twitter.com/bikewisenz(external link).

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