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Time to get on your bike – for transport and fun

SND12-wk1-News-Bikewise 300x225It’s time to ditch your normal mode of transport, dust off your bike and start exploring the glorious outdoors again! This February is Bike Wise Month and Kiwis are encouraged to jump on their bikes and take part in the numerous events around the country to celebrate.

Bike Wise is a national cycling programme run by the NZ Transport Agency that promotes cycling as a fun, healthy and safe way to travel, while encouraging all road users to share the road safely. Last year approximately 80,000 Kiwis took part in Bike Wise Month in around 850 events in New Zealand.

Hundreds of cycling-related events will be taking place around the country this month, including Big Bike Tune Ups where mechanics conduct free bicycle maintenance and safety checks and the national Go By Bike Day on February 11, where those taking part can grab a free breakfast on the go!

NZ Transport Agency’s national cycling manager Dougal List is excited to see more people give cycling a go throughout the month of February.

“The Bike Wise programme for 2015 features plenty of great events up and down the country, providing some wonderful opportunities for people to get involved. Cycling is a great way to bring families together, socialise with friends, and meet like-minded enthusiasts,” he says.

“This year is the 13th year of the Bike Wise programme and we are looking forward to seeing more New Zealanders taking to their bikes as their chosen method of transport. Bike Wise is all about encouraging participation and making it fun.”

NZTA is urging cyclists and motorists to share the road safely and has put together some tips:
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.

Bike Wise events
• Big Bike Tune Ups, throughout February 2015
To ensure bikes are safe, road-worthy and are a good fit for the cyclist, a series of Big Bike Tune Ups will be held throughout the country over Bike Wise Month. People are encouraged to bring their bikes along to a local Big Bike Tune Up where mechanics will conduct a free maintenance check.
• Go By Bike Day, February 11, 2015
Bike Wise Month’s key event, Go By Bike Day, encourages Kiwis to leave the car at home and cycle to work or school. In a number of regions, they can even enjoy a free breakfast on the way.

See www.bikewise.co.nz/events  for a full list of events.

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