Trail Safety

The New Zealand Cycle Trail includes both on and off-road cycle trails, each of which presents different safety considerations. Below is some general information to help keep you safe in the outdoors in any environment, and more specific information relating to safe cycling on the road.

Safety in the Outdoors

Back Country Mountain Biking Guide

Every trip into the backcountry has an inherent degree of risk, which can be easily reduced through careful planning and good decision making.

It doesn’t take long to plan. We’ve developed a guide with the NZ Mountain Safety Council to help you. Read and download the guide FREE and ask yourself the key questions:

  • Have you told anyone that you’re heading out?
  • How long will it take you to complete the trail?
  • Is it within the limits of everyone in the group?
  • Where will you stop for breaks?
  • How will you ensure you stick together during your ride?
  • What food and clothing will you need?
  • What are the other essentials you should take with you?



What should I take?

New Zealand weather is very changeable. Even if you set out in the sunshine and there is no rain in the forecast it’s not uncommon to have an isolated shower. Make sure you take rain protection and extra layers you can put on if it gets cold. Having the right supplies means that you’re more likely to remain warm, comfortable and safe for the duration of your ride.

There are a few other essentials you should have on you for day rides.

  • A comfortable backpack. About 30L is the largest you’d want to carry, and you could also look to place gear on your bike with a frame bag or seat pack.
  • Food and water – take more than you think you’ll need
  • A basic first aid kit with any personal medication you may need.
  • A map of your ride.
  • A communication device. Mobile phones can have limited coverage in most outdoor locations. If you are going into a remote area consider hiring a personal locator beacon.
  • A torch or headlamp with batteries
  • A basic survival kit


How do I Pack it?



Safety on the Road

Following are a few simple tips to help keep you stay safe when you’re out on the road.

Be Seen – Wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing. Use front and rear lights at night, in low light and in poor visibility such as fog or rain.

Be Aware – Watch and listen for approaching vehicles, pedestrians, potholes, animals, car doors opening and other potential hazards.

Be Predictable – Make eye contact with other road users. Maintain a straight line, keep to the left and signal your intentions clearly.

Be Confident – Know how to safely approach railway crossings, roundabouts and intersections etc. Use hand signals to indicate your intentions and a bell to alert other road users to your presence.

Be Safe – Ride to the conditions and follow the road rules. Cycle no more than two abreast and ride single file where visibility is an issue or traffic is busy. Keep at least one metre away from parked cars and use cycle lanes.

Be Patient – Slow down near parked or lined up vehicles. Pass slowly and only when safe. On narrow windy roads, pull over where practical to allow vehicles to pass.

Be Prepared – Wear an approved helmet and check your bike regularly. Plan your route and carry sufficient water and food, along with basic tools for any repairs.

MSC logo

The NZ Mountain Safety Council encourage safe practices that ensure you make it home to your family and friends. We want you to make it home with adventurous stories, memories and photos. But, most of all we want you to make it home to do it all again next time.

NZ Code for Cyclists
If you’re cycling on the road, you must know New Zealand’s road rules. The Official New Zealand Code for Cyclists, developed by the New Zealand Transport Agency, is a user-friendly guide to New Zealand’s traffic law and safe driving practices.

Bike Wise
Bike Wise
is a national cycling programme of activities, promoting cycling as a fun, healthy and safe way to travel in New Zealand. Bikewise month, held in February each year, encompasses a wide range of activities and events across the country. You’ll also find lots of information about cycling in general and how to keep safe on New Zealand roads.