The long-running stoush between cyclists and motorists is still rumbling and the war of words about who is right and who is wrong when sharing the road remains unresolved. In general it would be fair to say cyclists don't do themselves any favours.

The recent report of a cyclist squirting water into a car and the subsequent chase and confiscation of the bike by the car driver only goes to reiterate the battle still raging.

Although cyclists are at pains to state how bad drivers are, they in turn do their cause no favours by ignoring some of the basic tenets of road use. Just take a drive along Tamaki Drive any day of the week to see cyclists in their droves taking over the road.

Just last week a cyclist phoned a radio talkback show saying how badly car drivers treated him and that bikes had an equal right to be in the same space as a car. Not so. For a start, no sensible cyclists would want to put themselves in the same space as a car at the same time. The caller's holier-than-thou tone only caused a plethora of incensed car drivers to call in and tell stories about inconsiderate and arrogant cyclists.

In an effort to help cyclists understand why motorists find them irritating, I have done some research and found what is expected from those choosing to share the road with motorists.

For a fuller explanation of the road rules cyclists can go to the New Zealand Transport Agency website where there are also illustrations on hand signals for cyclists.

RULES
* Cyclists must wear an approved safety helmet. Always fasten it securely, by following the manufacturer's instructions.

* Wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing when cycling. That way you'll be easier to see.

* Don't ride your bicycle on a footpath unless you are delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets, or there is a sign indicating it is a shared pedestrian and cycle path.

At intersections:
* Follow the rules for motor vehicles, or get off your cycle and walk across, or do a hook turn (see below).

Road craft:
* You can only ride alongside another cyclist or moped. You must not ride alongside a car, truck or other motor vehicle.

* Always ride in single-file if passing another vehicle.

* Your cycle must not be towed by another vehicle.

* Your cycle can only tow a trailer (one designed to be towed by a cycle) and must not be fitted with a sidecar.

* You must not carry a pillion passenger on your cycle unless you have a pillion seat and footrest. If you are carrying a child, the pillion seat must protect the child's legs from the wheels.

* You must not leave a cycle blocking a footpath.

* Where there is an adequate cycle path or cycle lane, cyclists should use it.

* You must ride with lights on when it is dark (from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise).

* You must keep your cycle in good working condition.

CYCLIST HAND SIGNALS
* See NZTA website for illustration.

* You must give a hand signal at least three seconds before stopping or turning. You are not breaking this rule if it is impractical to keep signalling while turning right at a roundabout.

* Always check to make sure your hand signals have been seen and understood.

* Look well behind you to make sure there is room for you to turn, pull out or pass safely.

HOOK TURNS
* A hook turn is a different way for cyclists to turn right at an intersection. Hook turns can be done at any intersection except at intersections with signs banning them. At some intersections there may be special marked areas to stop in at the halfway turning point. Hook turns can be done at intersections with or without the marked stopping area.

HOW TO HOOK TURN
* Keep in the cycle lane, the left lane or the left-most lane that goes straight ahead.

* Cycle across the intersection when the light for going straight ahead turns green.

* Stop in the marked area of road just before the footpath, if there is not a marked place stop near the footpath but clear of traffic going straight ahead, and angle your cycle so it's pointing to the right.

* Wait until the lights on the other side of the road turn green and then cycle across the intersection keeping left.

WHAT DRIVERS WOULD LIKE CYCLISTS TO KNOW
* Drivers expect cyclists to obey the road rules.

* Drivers usually travel faster than cyclists and therefore have less time to react to hazards.

* Sometimes cyclists' behaviour can unsettle drivers, such as when cyclists appear hesitant or change direction suddenly.

* Drivers can feel delayed by cyclists.

* Licensed drivers and cyclists both have a right to use our roads, and both share a responsibility to understand and respect each other's needs.

BIKE REQUIREMENTS
* A red or yellow reflector at the back.

* 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).

When riding at night, cycles must have the following:

* A steady or flashing rear-facing red light that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres.

* One or two white or yellow headlights that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres (one of these lights may flash).

* Yellow pedal reflectors, or the rider must be wearing reflective material.

- Additional information NZTA