CAN's vision

CAN’s vision

Cycling is an everyday activity in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

CAN's mission

CAN is a national voice for cyclists, promoting cycling as an enjoyable, healthy, low-cost and environment-friendly activity, and a key part of an integrated, sustainable transport system.

CAN's goals

  • Promote the benefits of cycling
  • Improve safety for cyclists
  • Encourage the creation of a good cycling environment
  • Advocate for integrated cycle planning
  • Increase the number of cyclists on our roads.

The Context

Social , economic and environmental pressures are forcing countries and cities to become more sustainable, and to reduce their dependence on private motor vehicles. Cycling has an important role to play in improving the pleasantness and sustainability of cities and the health of individuals.

Cycling is a key component of an integrated and sustainable transport strategy:

  • The bicycle is a vehicle for our times – quiet, non-polluting, space-efficient, healthy, economical, and convenient. It can and should have an integral place in a modern lifestyle.
  • Access to private motor vehicles is important for many people, but their unthinking use is causing increasing pollution and congestion in urban areas, and is compromising the safety of other road users.
  • New Zealand has global responsibilities for climate change and CO2 production.
  • Cycling will make an important contribution to improving the quality of life in both cities and rural areas, and to improving the health of individuals
  • The majority of journeys undertaken in New Zealand are under 8 km in length (5 km in urban areas). Many people could use bicycles for most trips. Others could cycle for local trips or to access public transport.

All types of people use bicycles

  • People cycle for different reasons , such as transport, recreation or sport. Cyclists’ needs differ, and must be taken into account when planning and providing for cycle use.
  • No one cycles all the time - cyclists are also pedestrians, and many use motor vehicles and public transport. Multi-mode journeys require special consideration.
  • Cyclists come from all age and economic groups, but young people and those on low incomes depend more on cycles. Ways of encouraging other groups to cycle should be identified and implemented.

The roads must be safer for people on bikes

  • Many would-be cyclists are deterred by perceived and real dangers.
  • Cycling is an accessible, low cost option for a wide range of people. At a time when vehicle costs are rising rapidly, social equity demands that everyone has access to safe stransport options that suit their budget.
  • While cycling injury and fatality rates in New Zealand are statistically small (e.g. one fatality for every 2 million hours of riding), the significant road safety gains seen in New Zealand for motor vehicle occupants have not translated into similar improvements for active road users.
  • New Zealand urgently needs a nationwide enforcement and education campaign aimed at improving motorists’ awareness of the needs of cyclists and their behaviour towards them.
  • Better training for enforcement officers and more comprehensive and careful crash reporting and recording are required.
  • Cyclists’ own skills and road behaviours need to be addressed. All school children (aged 9-13) should receive cycling skills and safety training as part of road use education. Education and enforcement campaigns are needed to improve adult cycling skills and behaviours.
  • There is evidence that mandatory cycle helmet wearing legislation is not working as intended and should be reviewed. Priority needs to be given to other safety issues such as motorist behaviour and roading improvements. (Note: see here for further clarification of CAN's position on this)

Better planning and facilities are needed

CAN wishes to see planning for cycles co-ordinated at a national level through a National Cycling Strategy. It should recognise health and economic benefits and access issues, and integrate cycling into general transport, environmental, urban design and health planning.

Roading authorities should:

  • have specialist cycle planners, and adequate training in cycleways for all planning/engineering staff.
  • put safe cycling in to roading design standards and consider in all roading projects.
  • NZTA should not fund or subsidise any work that makes the environment less safe for pedestrians or cyclists.
  • Safety audits of existing roads should consider the needs of cyclists.
  • The scope of benefit/cost analyses should be widened to include intangibles, strategic issues, health benefits and induced traffic effects. However, most cycle facilities should not be expected to meet benefit/cost requirements (as is already the case for most roading work).
  • Most cycling will continue to take place on the ordinary roading network, but where conditions require it, on-road cycle lanes, off-road cycle paths and other special facilities should be constructed.
  • CAN opposes mandatory use of segregated cycle facilities in recognition that such facilities are often inappropriate for some cyclists. Some facilities are more dangerous to use than to ignore.
  • Issues relating to cyclists sharing facilities with pedestrians, skateboarders and roller bladers sharing facilities should be investigated and guidelines established to encourage compatible shared usage.
  • Mountain bikers and cycle tourists need special consideration in rural areas. Routes out of cities and towns and to mountain bike areas should be signposted.
  • Public transport should provide for cycle storage at principal stops, and for carriage of cycles where practicable.

Cycle tourism benefits the country

Tourism authorities should be encouraged to promote New Zealand overseas and at home as a cycle tourist destination. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • Improved collection of information on current cycle tourist numbers, origins and destinations.
  • Improved provision for carriage of bikes on trains, aeroplanes and coaches.
  • A national network of signposted cycle touring routes should be developed, with maps available.


To achieve these things, CAN will:

  • Work with all levels of government and community.
  • Liaise with industry and retailers.
  • Mobilise and assist local groups.
  • Act as facilitator of communication and debate nationally and internationally.
  • Use mass membership to obtain benefits and influence decision makers.
  • Maximise membership participation and make decisions by consensus wherever possible.
  • Develop policy positions and advertise these to decision makers.
  • Encourage uptake of cycle skills training courses.