Cycling is a safe and social way to enjoy exercise and improve your health. February is Bike Wise Month, so if you haven’t ridden a bike in some time, now is the time to change that! Bike riding is a skill that you don’t forget – it’s low impact on your joints, you can explore your neighbourhood and improve your strength and fitness along the way.
There are organised Bike Wise events taking place from Whangarei to Invercargill during February, with plenty of activities for all ages and fitness levels.
When you’re cycling, you are far more connected with the environment that when you are in a car. You can appreciate your surroundings and it’s an ideal social sport – going on a bike ride with a friend is great for your mind and body.
NZ Transport Agency (who runs Bike Wise) National Cycling Manager Dougal List says he is looking forward to seeing more people out and about on their bikes.
“We are dedicated to making cycling a bigger part of the way Kiwis get around, Bike Wise is a fantastic way for Kiwis to enjoy fun and safe cycling, so we’re really looking forward to seeing the country get involved.
“We have a target of more than 10 million more cycling trips by 2019, and we’re hoping that Bike Wise will encourage more people to jump on their bikes to help us reach this milestone.
“Cycling is a great way to bring people together, something you can do with family, friends or work colleagues. It’s the 14th year of Bike Wise and we know more and more Kiwis are on board so we’re hoping it’s the biggest one yet!”
The full calendar of cycling events across New Zealand for Bike Wise Month includes National Go By Bike Day on 10th February 2016, when Kiwis are encouraged to ditch their cars, cycle to work or school and in some regions enjoy a free breakfast on the way.
Safety, whether on a bike or in a car, is crucial. Review the safety tips below, whether you will be on two wheels, or sharing the road with cyclists.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
· 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, pedestrians and other hazards
· Be confident: Ride in a straight line, at least one metre from parked cars 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 for cyclists, 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 cyclists 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 a cyclist 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.