Happy Go By Bike Day!
It was great to hear Transport Minister Simon Bridges endorsing urban cycleways as a “core priority,” for safety and health this morning. It was also good to hear him mention local, community cycling as well as commuter cycling:
“We’re investing to give more New Zealanders more opportunities to choose cycling – whether to commute to and from work and school, to run errands, or get some exercise.”
“We recognise the contribution cycling makes to healthier communities, and that safe and attractive cycling infrastructure can encourage people in urban areas to change their travel patterns."
Go By Bike Day is also a great time to remember the many benefits that riding a bike can generate. NZTA recently released this fantastic new resource that highlights the benefits of investing in cycling in New Zealand communities. If you're still not convinced we've also compiled two extensive lists of the benefits of cycling and the benefits of cycleways.
The benefits generated by riding a bike are something that probably hasn't received enough attention in the Island Bay cycleway debate. The investment needed to encourage cycling as an everyday activity is tiny compared to roading or public transport projects and the return on that investment is typically huge. The primary justification for protected cycleways, in particular, is to get lots of new people riding bikes rather than just improving conditions for current cyclists. That's why the often-stated criticisms of the cycleway that "The Parade is already safe for cycling" and "hardly anyone cycles on The Parade" are actually mis-placed and contradictory. For example, trying to divide the cost of the cycleway into the number of current cyclists to get a cost-per-cyclist is disingenuous. The aim of the cycleway is to encourage new people into riding a bike which then unlocks the benefits. Whether that aim has been successful will only be revealed over time. The first evaluation of the cycleway is planned for one year from its opening date.