Bike checklist

Keeping safe on your bike is easy, just follow this simple checklist before you set out and you'll be good to go.

Man wearing a green top and helmet stands with his bike on a sunny street.

What to check

Helmet safety

Helmets should fit snugly with one finger space between the strap and chin, and it should be on straight with the front no more than 2cm above your eyebrows.

Tyres are pumped

Push down on each tyre - they should be firm enough that you don't leave a dent. The ideal pressure will be printed on the side of the tyre; you can use a pump at one of our Bike Fix-It stands, go to your local petrol station or use a hand pump from home to top them up.

Gears are working

Lift the back wheel of your bike and turn the pedals while you change gears. You want to make sure that changing gears is smooth, the gear cogs don't have broken teeth, the gear cables that run to the handlebars aren't frayed and the derailleur (gear-changing device) isn't wobbly.

Handle bars are tight

Your handlebars should turn freely from side to side, but they shouldn't pivot up and down.

Lights can be seen from 200m away

As of 1 December 2016, bike lights must now be visible from 200m.

When cycling at night, or when visibility is poor, your bike must have:

  • one or two white or yellow headlights that can be seen at night from a distance of 200m. Only one of these headlights may flash
  • one or more steady or flashing rear-facing red lights that can be seen at night from a distance of 200m
  • pedal retro-reflectors on the forward and rearward facing surfaces of each pedal - or you must be wearing be wearing reflective material.

Hot tip: Angle the light on the front of your bike so it is pointing slightly downward. This will light up the road ahead and reduce the chance of dazzling or distracting other road users. For more hot tips see this Brilliant Bike Lights video from Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Brakes are working

Last but not least, ensure your brakes are working - look out for frayed brake cables and worn out brake pads, they should always be more than 3mm thick. Test the brakes by squeezing the brake levers half way, the pads should touch the rims fully.

If you need a visual guide, the NZTA provide a variety of helpful resources, including a seven-point safety checklist infographic illustrating everything you need to look out for.

NZTA – Cycle Safety