National cycling organisation Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) today called for the Government to boost funding for cycling. CAN Secretary Robert Ibell said the Government�s announcement of an extra $27 million of state funding for public transport showed a commitment on the part of Government to boost alternatives to private motor vehicle use. CAN wants similar attention to be paid to the use of bicycles as a means of transport.
CAN noted that figures from the last census suggest that the same number of New Zealanders bike to work as take the train or bus. �Despite the existence of national and regional government support for public transport, public transport�s share of journeys to work is currently no higher than the bicycle�s� Mr Ibell said. �At three percent, cycle commuting figures in NZ are low by international standards, but this reflects decades of car-centred planning and offical neglect and underfunding of cycling.� Transfund NZ is allocating about $1 million a year to cycling projects.
CAN believes there is potential for greatly increased use of the bicycle in NZ. It wants to see the Government commit to a National Cycling Strategy and release the resources required to achieve a doubling of the number of journeys made by bicycle over the next five years. It also wants funding criteria widened to recognise all the environmental and health benefits of cycling.
CAN is pleased to see public transport receiving the extra $27 million of Government funding and wants the Government to allocate a similar amount of money to boost bicycle use. �With the added health and environmental benefits cycling brings, this would be money very well spent� said Mr Ibell. Many cycling projects are relatively inexpensive - a kilometre of cycleway costs roughly one percent of the cost of a kilometre of motorway, for example.
�Money is sorely needed for projects such as providing adequate road shoulders on State Highways, reinstatement of the Hutt Rd cycleway between Lower Hutt and Wellington, a national �Share the Road� campaign, and the introduction of a cycle planning unit at the Ministry of Transport�, said Mr Ibell.
Extra funding would enable local authorities like Tauranga to make progress on plans for cycling projects that are currently postponed, or for Auckland City to move ahead faster with its cycling and walking strategy.
For further information, contact Robert Ibell, CAN , 04-385 2557
or Stephen Knight, CAN/Cycle Action Auckland, 09-373 7599 x6456