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Trail Safety & Tips
Hawke’s Bay Trails is one of 22 national New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Rides. As well as an easy ride, expect regular servings of stunning scenery, superb food, coffee and, of course, fine wine. Our Trails love pathway, touring or mountain bikes. We’re set up for social riders, families and new cyclists. Multi-geared bikes with medium to wide tyres are right at home.
Trail Grade - easy to intermediate
GRADE 1: Most of our Trails are flat and off-road with some gentle climbs. We have firm limesand, gravel, concrete or asphalt. Usually wide enough for two side-by-side cyclists, though single file in places.
Safety Note: Where the Trail goes up or down quickly or the surface seems loose, slow down and take care. If you haven’t cycled for a while or you’re on an unfamiliar bike, consider walking these sections.
GRADE 2: Some small sections of Trail follow quiet roads with little traffic. Consider the New Zealand Code for Cyclists.
Safety Note: Use caution with changes in Trail surface, loose material, holes, water ruts, steep bits and tight or blind corners.
GRADE 3: Small sections of on-road Trail, some with open road or hill climbs. Follow the New Zealand Code for Cyclists. Check the map for these sections. Suitable for regular, experienced cyclists, 12+ years with good fitness. An adult should accompany children.
Find out more about trail grades here.
- Visitors are responsible for their own safety at all times and children must be supervised.
- If you are riding our trails you need to know how to ride and control a bicycle. This includes being able to look for potential hazards and avoiding them. We recommend a cycle skills course if you are not confident.
- You’re going on a Great Ride, so plan with (and take) a map. Keep track of your location, look for the Trail signs. Try the free ‘Great Rides’ App.
- Please keep on the trails only and always follow trail signage for closures or important safety messages - it is for your safety.
- Always take your rubbish with you - please be respectful of nature and others.
- Approach underpasses with caution. Slow down, change gears, look for others at blind corners. Be aware of changing steepness, uneven and loose surfaces.
- Gates - if we didn’t need them, we wouldn’t have them. They improve safety, stop motorbikes and stock. However gates mean that some sections of Trail aren’t suitable for tandems, trikes, wheelchairs or hand bikes.
- Railway lines can catch you out with tight corners or slippery tyres – consider dismounting. Always cross at safety crossing points and cross at right angles. Take extra care when wet, as tracks can be very slippery.
- If sharing the Trails with local cows or birdlife, do so quietly and considerately.
- Seasonal or tidal flooding can happen in low areas or under bridges, sometimes at Ahuriri Lagoon or Awatoto. Check high tide times and avoid these sections with tides over 1.7m. Consider (if not fast flowing) carrying your bike through before continuing or detouring. Wet feet can be refreshing and are part of an authentic cycling experience. Tip: If you ride in salt water - remember to wash your bike later.
- Safe Crossing points on Water Ride are here: Safe Crossing Areas
- Dogs are allowed on the trails, in some sections but for safety reasons please make sure they are on a lead and under control at all times. Like children they can be unpredictable, so cyclists please slow down when approaching and expect the unexpected. Dogs are NOT allowed in some areas: DOC areas, with sensitive bird life or on farms with stock. Avoid the Water Ride section from Bayview, Onehunga Road, past the airport to Prebensen Drive.
- Accidents sometimes happen – always carry a cell phone. If someone has a serious accident, phone Emergency Services on 111, request an ambulance, let them know your location and follow their instructions.
- Please follow the New Zealand Road Code for Cyclists when on roads.
- No unauthorised motorised vehicles (cars, motor bikes, mopeds, quad bikes, mini bikes) are allowed on the Trails. If you see this behavior please report to the police immediately.
- No horses are permitted on the trails except where horse trails cross the stopbank near Clive and where trail exits near Puketapu. For more info see Horse Trails.
- All Trails are shared - keep left and slow when approaching other users. Say a friendly ‘hi’ or ring a bell when passing.
- Please wear a helmet, ride to your ability, follow signage, be aware of hazards, leave gates as you find them and supervise children.
- Slow down in busy sections, look out for children, elderly and those with four legs (dogs, horses and cattle).
- Shut gates and stay on the Trails, especially when crossing private land or areas of natural/ historic significance.
- E-bikes can travel fast - to avoid accidents remember to always slow down when approaching other users, especially in busy shared sections and look out for hazards. Check out this website for rules around using them legally
- IMPORTANT - motorbikes and mopeds are not allowed on the trails for safety reasons.
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