Night Riding Rules

Note: Land Transport Rule - Omnibus Amendment 2016 increased the lighting visibility requirement to 200m.

Adopted by the Executive Committee on 23 January 2014

Camera flash reflects from Simon's reflective vest.

Simon & Greg depart for Picton-Westport-Picton

1. The Purpose of these Night Riding Rules is to ensure:

  • Safety: The rider must be able to ride safely during the hours of darkness.
  • Visibility: The rider must be able to be seen by other traffic.
  • Legality: Our rules must meet all legislative and regulatory requirements, including the New Zealand Road Code and Land Transport Rule.
  • Enforceability: These rules must be easily enforceable.
  • Clarity: These rules must be unambiguous and easily understood.
  • Redundancy: No lighting system is perfectly reliable. Breakages, malfunctions and failed batteries occur frequently. Backup lighting systems ensure that riders are able to continue to ride safely following an equipment failure.

2. The Night Riding Rules apply to any Ride organised by Kiwi Randonneurs where:

(a) Any part of the maximum permitted time for the ride is between sunset and sunrise.; and
(b) At any time of low light condition where a person or vehicle is not clearly visible at a distance of 200 metres1. This can occur around dawn and dusk or when cloud cover, fog, smoke etc reduce visibility.

3. You must have the following Equipment:

(a) At least two independent2 head lights that emit a substantially white or amber coloured beam must be available for use (i.e. fitted to the bicycle or carried); and

(b) At least two independent2 tail lights that emit a substantially red coloured beam must be available for use (i.e. attached to the bicycle or carried); and

(c) One or two head lights must be fitted to the bicycle or to a fixed and secure accessory (e.g. a rack or saddle bag) at all times; and

(d) At least one tail light must be fitted to the bicycle or to a fixed and secure accessory (e.g. a rack or saddle bag) at all times; and

(e) A reflective vest or gilet3 that has reflective material on all sides; and

(f) In the case of a recumbent or velomobile, the machine must have reflective devices on all sides; and

(g) Sufficient battery or generator capacity to operate the lights for the maximum possible extent of darkness during the length of the ride.

4. At Night or at times of Low Visibility1 you must Enable or Wear the Following Items:

(a) One or more steady or flashing tail light(s) that can be seen at night from a distance of 200 metres; and

(b) One or two white or yellow head light(s) that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres; and

(c) A reflective gilet or vest3

5. Enforcement of the Night Riding Rules

(a) By participating, you agree that at any time you are unable to meet rules 4(a)-(c) (e.g. due to a double light failure) that you will remove yourself and your machine from the roadway and not to proceed until there is natural light that provides at least 100 metres of visibility1.

(b) Lighting inspections may be carried out before or during rides. Riders who do not meet these night riding requirements will either not be permitted to start or disqualified.

(c) The Ride Organiser is required to disqualify any rider who does not meet these night riding rules and to give this authority to delegate this power to any of his or her officials.

(d) Proper lighting and visibility is fundamental to rider safety, therefore no discretion is allowed.

(e) The Ride Organiser is not required to provide support to any rider who has been disqualified.

6. Additional Guidance

(a) The Land Transport (Vehicle Lighting) Rule mandates the correct the alignment of lights and prohibits the use lighting or reflectives in a manner that dazzles, confuses or distracts other road users. In order to prevent being a nuisance to other road users and to prevent visual fatigue among your fellow cyclists Kiwi Randonneurs recommends against the use of head-torches (on road rides) and operating powerful lights in flashing or strobing modes.

(b) These rules only specify the minimum mandatory requirements for participating in rides organised by Kiwi Randonneurs. Additional devices, ankle reflectors and bright or high-contrast clothing and other visibility devices are strongly recommended.

(c) The Official New Zealand Road Code for Cyclists.

(d) Cycles: Road rules and equipment (Factsheet 1)

(e) Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004

(f) Land Transport (Vehicle Lighting) Rule 2004

7. Maintenance of these Night Riding Rules

(a) The Executive Committee may at any time amend, revise or adjust these Night Riding Rules.

(b) The Executive Committee is required to revise these rules at any time where:

i. Changes to these rules are required to comply with Insurance policies or affiliation agreements.
ii. Changes to the Law of New Zealand pertaining to cycling affect these rules.
iii. Kiwi Randonneurs enters new affiliation agreements that have an impact on these rules

(c) In any case where these rules are changed as per rule 7(a) or (b) it will be notified by notice on the website www.kiwirandonneurs.org.nz.

1 Low Visibility is defined in the NZ Road Code as any time when there isn’t sufficient daylight for a person or vehicle to be clearly visible at a distance of 100 metres.
2 Independent means that lights cannot share the same power source, or the same mounting system. Doing so would defeat the purpose of have a redundant set of lights in case of a failure.
3 Reflective Gilet or Vest Reflective requirements are not defined in the NZ Road Code, or Land Transport (Road User) Rule. These night riding rules require a reflective garment meets the requirements of one of the following standards4:

• A Class N or Class D/N garments as per Australia/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4602 “High Visibility Garments”; or
• British/European Standard BS/EN1150 “Protective clothing. Visibility clothing for non-professional use. Test methods and requirements”; or
• EN/ISO 20471 “High visibility clothing — Test methods and requirements”; or
• A Class 2 or Class 3 garment as per American National Standard ANSI107

4 Standards documents are frequently revised. Kiwi Randonneurs will accept any garment that is labelled as meeting any version of the standards listed; including any predecessors or subsequent revisions as alternative standards.


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Frequently Asked Questions


Please talk to your bicycle retailer about attaching a reflector.
Manufacturers and retailers are required to ensure that any cycle or equipment that they sell complies with the law. If you see the retailer where you first purchased the bicycle, they will most like attach a reflector for free.


It is a breach of Section 11.12(1) of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 to ride a cycle during the hours of darkness, without a reflector.

The Kiwi Randonneurs Night Riding Rules require the use a reflective gilet or vest, to comply with Section 11.12(2), and believe a standards approved reflective gilet or vest is an improvement on the use of pedal reflectors, in order to comply with Section 11.12(2) of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.


New Zealand law does not allow more than two headlamps to by fitted to a Group A vehicle under the Land Transport (Vehicle Lighting) Rule 2004 Section 3.3(2) & 3.3(3)
and a pedal cycle is defined as a Class AA vehicle and Class AA vehicles are Group A vehicles under the Land Transport Rule.


Reflective material on all sides is a Kiwi Randonneurs safety requirement. Thankyou for applying this very sensible change to your cycle.The Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, 11.12(2) states that “a person must not ride a cycle on a road during the hours of darkness, unless the cycle has pedal reflectors; or the person is wearing reflective material”

Kiwi Randonneurs may make submissions when laws pertaining to long distance cycling are amended by the New Zealand Government. Kiwi Randonneurs would appreciate your assistance with making such submissions.


Night riding at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Night riding at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011