Commonly asked Questions and Rule updates

Commonly asked Questions and Rule updates

By Norm McCann – National Officiating Director.

Over the last couple of weeks I have had some riders asking questions around the rules of BMX.

In New Zealand we are governed by two organisations. Firstly the international cycling organisation – the UCI, and secondly by our independent rules, last published in 2010.

The UCI amend their rules annually and the NZL book is currently in the process of being updated, due for release later this year.

Both are available on the internet – UCI at and BMX NZ at In the meantime, here are a couple of the more common questions I get asked; page11image18456 page11image18616

Can unlicenced riders ride at meetings?

1.010 Licences (BMX NZ rule book)

No person shall race at a BMX NZ sanctioned meeting unless they hold a current BMX NZ issued licence or an international licence recognised by BMX NZ, except as follows;

• Mums and Dads fun races
• Mountain bike invitation races
• Invited overseas riders
• Other novelty type races

Can I add items to my helmet?

1.3.031 (UCI Rule book)

  1. Wearing a rigid safety helmet shall be mandatory during competitions and training sessions in the following disciplines: track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross, trials and BMX, para-cycling, as well as during cycling for all events.
  2. During competitions on the road, a rigid safety helmet shall be worn. Except where legal provisions determine otherwise, riders taking part in UCI WorldTour events may, at their own risk, refrain from wearing a helmet during individual time trial races taking place entirely on a mountainous course. Every discussion regarding the qualification entirely on a mountainous course will be decided by the Commissaires’ panel.
  3. Each rider shall be responsible for:
    ensuring that the helmet is approved in compliance with an official security standard and that the helmet can be identified as approved;
    wearing the helmet in accordance with the security regulations in order to ensure full protection, including but not limited to a correct adjustment on the head as well as a correct adjustment of the chin strap;
    avoiding any manipulation which could compromise the protective characteristics of the helmet and not wearing a helmet which has been undergone manipulation or an incident which might have compromised its protective characteristics;
    using only an approved helmet that has not suffered any accident or shock;
    using only a helmet that has not been altered or had any element added or removed in terms of design or form.

Do I have to wear my body protection under my jersey?

1.3.029 (UCI rule book)

No item of clothing may hide the lettering on the jersey or the rider’s identification number, particularly in competition and at official ceremonies

Are there any limitations to the Jersey I can wear and does it need to be tucked in

6.1.056 (UCI Rule Book)

The jersey shall be a loose fitted long-sleeved shirt whose sleeves extend down to the rider’s wrists. The following is not permitted for BMX jerseys:

Zippers above the waist
Back pockets
Jerseys for Road/track cycling

The jersey must be tucked into the pants before the start to not cause interference

Why can I not wear jeans anymore?

6.1.057 (UCI Rule Book)

The pants shall be loose fitting long pants made of tear-resistant material

Loose fitting short pants made of tear-resistant material are permitted if used together with knee and shin protection with a rigid surface that extends from the knee protection to fully cover the shin, or to just above the ankle. Lycra is not permitted unless for use under the pants and to cover knee-protection.

Pants must be of a single piece construction, separated from the jersey at the waist.

The following items are not permitted for BMX pants:
One piece skin suits
Tight fitted pants that need to be stretched in order to cover the legs Lycra pants
Track and Field pants /jogging pants
Road/Track cycling pants
Denim / Jeans

Why are you telling me I cannot hold my son on the gate?

1.023 (BMX NZ rule book)

Starting Blocks

Riders 6 years of age and under may use a block or footrest, or place the block under the back pedal. The block must be no higher than 76mm above the lower pedal when in a perpendicular position. The top surface of the block must be parallel to the surface of the starting platform. No other rider may use any form of assistance to aid their start.

As we move close to the BMX New Zealand National Championships, I would like to ask everyone to remember that the officials and other staff at race meetings are volunteers, giving up their time to ensure the race meeting runs smoothly and that the riders can participate safely.

There is no excuse for rudeness or for arguments with these volunteers. It would be great the next time you see someone helping out at a race meeting you or your children are racing at, if you lean over and say thanks – doesn’t take much, but a little appreciation goes a long way…

A final one that we all need to keep in mind is our code of conduct as set out

1.008 (BMX NZ Rule Book)

General Conduct

Riders will be held accountable for the actions of their parents, team managers and any other persons in their company at a BMX competition or event. Any misconduct on the part of any of these persons may, at the discretion of a Race Commissaire or Race Director, result in the disqualification or suspension of the rider and the removal of the offending persons from the track area.

All riders and supporters must observe these rules and follow all instructions given them by any official at any time during the course of an event. Every rider shall at all times observe such conduct as reflects the ideals of good sportsmanship and avoid any conduct which may bring the sport of BMX, UCI, BMX NZ, their Club or themselves into disrepute. Unacceptable and prohibited behaviour includes but is not limited to;

Any abuse of race officials
Use of foul or offensive language
Abuse of other competitors or supporters
Violence of any nature, whether on or off the track

Penalties for such behaviour will be determined by the Chief Commissaire, supported by the National Officiating Panel (for race meeting-related incidents). The Executive and BMX NZ Regional bodies may take action as appropriate for other non-racing matters.


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