The New Zealand Transport Agency says that over a million New Zealanders regularly take to their bikes, in a growing trend which shows no sign of abating.

NZTA wants to see 10 million more cycling trips taken annually by 2019 - a long way from where the country is now, but national cycling manager Dougal List expressed his pleasure that the million milestone has been reached.

"It's fantastic that more than a quarter of our population are getting out on their bike - and the research shows that a further 407,0002 are intending to take up cycling in the next six months so we're on track for 10 million journeys annually by 2019 - if not sooner," he says.

NZTA is launching its annual Bike Wise programme this December, with the celebratory Bike Wish Month set for February 2016. The authority is hopeful of encouraging more New Zealanders to take up cycling, which is already officially the fastest growing method of transport.

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"Bike Wise is a great way to encourage Kiwis to enjoy fun and safe cycling this summer," says Mr Dougal.

"There are plenty of activities taking place up and down the country during the Bike Wise programme which provides some great opportunities for people to get involved.

"More Kiwis cycling to work, to keep fit or simply for fun is positive for both the individuals and for our transport networks. Bike Wise Month is a great way to encourage people to get out and try cycling."

Bike Wise will see cycling events taking place throughout the country for its duration. Along with events intended to foster confidence in beginning cyclists, there will be Big Bike Tune Ups in which mechanics conduct free maintenance checks on bikes to make sure they are safe, roadworthy and suited to the individual cyclist.

"We'll also be providing safety tips and sessions. With more than one million cyclists on our roads, it's important that both cyclists and motorists look out for one another and share the roads safely."

Check out Bike Wise for more information, including the full calendar of events.

Below are some nifty tips for cyclists to achieve a safe riding experience, and also for motorists to ensure they don't endanger those with whom they share the road.

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.


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