"Cyclists are good for the NZ economy. We should value their contribution to society instead of discouraging them", says the Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) chairperson, Jane Dawson. "Increasing the number of journeys done by bike should be one of the Government's priorities. It would have benefits for the health budget, overseas debt, rates, and the cost of providing goods and services."

CAN, which is the national body for commuting, touring and family cyclists, is pleased that many government agencies have got behind Bike To Work Day this year. CAN hopes that the Minister of Transport will use National Bike Week as an opportunity to set NZ on a cycle-friendly path.

Congestion is increasing in many places in the country, and the time spent by commercial vehicles stuck in traffic increases the cost of goods and services.

"Creating an environment where children can easily bike or walk to school is one of the most obvious ways to reduce congestion in the cities. Currently a high proportion of children are taken to school in a car, not only clogging up the roads and creating a safety hazard, but also making a generation of dangerously inactive and dependent children."

A third of car journeys are less than 2 kilometres, and two thirds are less than 6 kilometres, according to the LTSA's recently released Travel Survey. "Short-distance car journeys make very inefficient use of petrol, and could often be done easily on a bike. Importing petrol uses up foreign currency reserves and adds to NZ's balance of payments deficit. In addition, local authorities have to spend rate-payers' money cleaning up the polluted water which runs off the roads."

"Cyclists cause very little wear and tear on the roads, so the proportion of taxes going to road maintenance could be reduced if more journeys were done by bike."

"Many reports have found that regular exercise is the best way to keep healthy, and a healthy population is good for the economy. There is evidence that fewer sick days are taken by regular cycle commuters, and cycle-friendly policies will mean that less money is needed for the health system."

� National Bike To Work Day is on Wednesday, 21 February 2001

� National Bike Week is from 17 - 25 February 2001

For further information, contact Jane Dawson, CAN, 04-385 2557,

Bike - The Best Way to Work

Biking to Work is good for you:

- better health - 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day brings major health benefits (cycling 7 km a day reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%; regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level equivalent to being 10 years younger; health benefits outweigh risks by 20:1)

- save time - cycling can be the fastest & most predictable way to work - no traffic jams or timetables

- save money - no parking fees, low running costs

- convenient - no parking hassles, combines exercise with getting to work

Biking to Work is good for the environment:

- the bike is energy and space efficient - 3 slices of toast gets you to work & back

- the bike is non-polluting - no greenhouse gases or particulates

Biking to Work is good for employers:

- cyclists make for a fitter, healthier, more productive workforce - cycling is an excellent

stress reliever & cyclists take fewer sick days than non-cyclists

- cycle parking is cheaper to provide than car parking & releases space for more productive use - 8 bikes can be parked in one car space

- cycle commuters are more likely to arrive at work on time - bike journeys can be faster and more predictable than other work journeys

- being a cycle-friendly employer has a positive image & can raise business profile

What do Cycle Friendly Employers provide?:

- good cycle parking - contact CAN for a good design

- washing & changing facilities - cyclists may need lockers, a changing room and showers

- a green transport plan - employer & employees together design a company transport strategy

- cycle 'mileage' allowances - cycling's cheap, but not free; if car users are reimbursed, a bike allowance should be paid too

- other incentives - a bike pool, loans for cycle purchase & discounts at bike shops can be offered to encourage employees to cycle

For further information contact:

Cycling Advocates' Network
PO Box 6491
phone/fax: 04-385 2557

Tel/Fax: 04-385 2557 PO Box 6491, Auckland, NZ

Release Date: 
Monday, 19 February, 2001