Bicycles are used on the road and like cars, it is extremely important that they work properly and do not add to the dangers of the road.

The basics

All pedal bicycles in New Zealand must comply with a standard. Look for Standard AS/NZS 1927:1998.

Find out more about the pedal cycles safety standard.

Children’s tricycles are considered toys and are NOT allowed for road use.

A trader can be prosecuted and fined for selling a bike that does not meet the safety standard for bicycles and that is proved to be unsafe, or for selling a helmet that doesn’t meet approved standards.

Before you buy a bicycle

Buy a bike from a recognised bicycle dealer or bike shop that can do repairs and servicing and can put things right if the bike is faulty.

Buy a bike that is already assembled or have it assembled by a skilled cycle mechanic.

Don’t buy a bike that your child has to “grow into”. This is unsafe.

Use a bicycle safely

Wearing an approved helmet is mandatory. If you can’t afford the proper safety equipment, don’t ride. A reputable retailer will be able to recommend and fit the right helmet for you.

You can see samples of labels for approved helmets(external link) on the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

Only use your bike for the reason you bought it – for example, don’t use a road or racing bike for riding off-road.

If your bike has been modified, make sure the changes were done by a qualified expert.

Always keep your bike regularly serviced and maintained – for example, make sure the brake pads are in good condition, the frame is not rusty or bent, the tyres are properly inflated, and the gears don’t slip.

Read and follow the Road Code and Cycle Safety Rules and Equipment information published by the NZTA to make sure you ride your bicycle safely.

By law when riding on the road you are required to have: 

  • an approved helmet
  • a rear red or yellow reflector
  • a steady or flashing rear-facing red light that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres
  • a steady white or yellow forward-facing light that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres (a front flashing white or orange light may also be fitted)
  • yellow pedal reflectors or reflective straps attached to the lower parts of the cyclist's legs
  • good brakes on the front and back wheels, or, if the bike was made on or before 1 January 1988, a good brake on the back wheel. 

Got a problem with a bicycle?

The Commerce Commission enforces the Pedal Bicycle Product Safety Standard. You can contact them at:

Address: PO Box 2351, Wellington
Phone: 0800 943 600
Website: link)