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Cyclists can be quite vulnerable on the road as they are less visible and less well protected than other road users. For these reasons, be alert for cyclists on the road and drive carefully when near them.

Safe driving around cyclists

  • Hazards like parked cars, potholes, glass, litter, strong wind and opening car doors may cause cyclists to veer off-line and move into your path. Because of this, give cyclists plenty of room when passing them. Ideally, allow at least 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist.
  • Wait for a clear space before passing a cyclist on a narrow road.
  • At intersections, apply the same rules to cyclists that you would to any other vehicle on the road. Take care to indicate turns.
  • If you are crossing a cycle lane, give way to cyclists before you cross.
  • Take extra care around young cyclists.
  • You must not drive in or cross a cycle lane except for a maximum of 50 metres when entering or leaving side roads, driveways or parking spaces.
  • You must not stop, stand or park in a cycle lane.

Common causes of cycle collisions

Take extra care when you are carrying out the following actions.

Moving through or turning at intersections

Cyclists can be hard to see on the road. Always check carefully for cyclists before turning at, or moving through, an intersection. If you are following a cyclist and want to turn left, wait until the cyclist has passed the intersection.

At busy intersections cyclists may choose to turn right using a hook turn. This means they will go straight ahead in the left lane and stop on the left side of the road to wait for a gap in the traffic or for the traffic signals to change.

Hook turns - more information.

Opening a car door

You can injure a cyclist if you open your door into their path. Always check carefully for cyclists before you open your door. Using your left hand to open the door will turn your shoulders and increase your chances of seeing an approaching cyclist.

Reversing or moving out of driveways or parking spaces

Always check the road carefully for cyclists before reversing or moving out of a driveway or parking space.

When leaving a driveway or parking space you must give way to other vehicles using the road.

Passing groups of cyclists

Remember, don’t drive too close to cyclists. Allow them plenty of room.

What cyclists would like drivers to know

  • Cycles are small and can be difficult to see, especially at night. Don’t just look for car-sized vehicles.
  • Cyclists can feel threatened by inconsiderate driving. Cyclists have a right to space on the road and need extra room at intersections and roundabouts.
  • Cyclists may ride away from the kerb or occupy a lane – not because they want to annoy drivers, but to:
    • avoid drains, potholes or roadside rubbish
    • be seen as they come up to intersections with side roads
    • discourage drivers from squeezing past where it’s too dangerous, eg the road is too narrow.
  • Cyclists turning right are exposed. They need extra consideration from drivers, especially on multi-laned roads with fast-moving traffic.
  • Cyclists can be forced into faster traffic by vehicles that are parked where they shouldn’t be:
    • in cycle lanes
    • on broken yellow lines
    • near intersections.
  • Cyclists are dazzled by headlights on full beam, just like other road users – remember to dip your lights for cyclists as well as other motor vehicles.
  • Cyclists can travel quickly, capable of speeds of 40km/h or more.
  • Cyclists have a right to use the roads and to travel safely and enjoyably. Please understand and respect their needs.