We drive on the left-hand side of the road in Aotearoa.

If you don't keep left, you're likely to cause a head-on crash. This is one of the worst types of crash, as it almost always results in death or serious injury.

Keeping left on a laned road

Most roads in Aotearoa have lanes marked on them with a white line, double white line or raised studs.

When on a laned road, it's important to ride your motorcycle within your lane.

Where there are 2 or more lanes on your side of the centre line:

  • keep in the left-hand lane as much as you can
  • don’t use the lane closest to the centre line if you'll hold up other vehicles.

The lane closest to the centre line should only be used when:

  • you want to pass another vehicle
  • you want to turn right
  • the left-hand lane is full with other traffic or is blocked.

A 4-lane road with solid double yellow lines down the centre. On the left, a blue motorcycle and red car are travelling in the left lane. On the right, a white car is passing a truck blocking the left lane.

What is a road?

The legal definition of a road is very broad. It includes the roadway and also any place the public has access to – such as beaches, riverbeds, riverbanks, sports fields, car parks, reserve lands, wharves and road shoulders.

This means requirements like displaying a current WoF, holding a current driver licence, wearing a seatbelt, and following the road rules, continue to apply even when you’re driving somewhere other than the road.

Keeping left on an unlaned road

An unlaned road is a road with no marked white lines or raised studs.

To stay well out of the way of oncoming vehicles, always keep as close as possible to the left side of the road.

An unlaned road with motorcycles and cars travelling in different directions, keeping to the left side.

Keeping left on a curve

Keep to the left when you're riding around a curve or a bend in the road, whether you're on a laned or unlaned road. If you're on a left-hand curve you might need to go towards the centre line so you can see further around the corner, but try to stay as far to the left as possible.

This is because you can’t always see what’s around the corner. You should be prepared to slow down in case there are cyclists, horses, pedestrians or an object on your side of the road, as well as vehicles coming the other way.

Curved laned road with blue motorcycle and red car keeping left
Curved unlaned road with blue motorcycle and red car keeping left


Riding tip

Positioning your motorcycle behind the right-hand wheels of the vehicle ahead at the correct following distance, can make it easier to see and be seen. However, you must still remember to keep well to the left of the centre line.