New government policies and more resources are needed to give New Zealanders a better choice of transport options, according to the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN).
CAN is using National Bike Wise Week as an opportunity to call on national and local government to adopt policies that give people the freedom to get around by bicycle. CAN wants to see a national network of cycle routes developed, suitable for commuting, recreation and tourism.
Cycling could account for 10-15 per cent of all trips made in New Zealand, CAN says. Currently only two per cent of journeys are made by bike - similar to the proportion of work journeys made by public transport.
Most trips in New Zealand are a realistic distance for cycling according to CAN. One third of all journeys are under two kilometres in length,� and two thirds are under six kilometres.
"People should be able to choose to cycle or walk - and there are plenty of good reasons why they might wish to", said CAN chairperson Jane Dawson. "But right now this choice really doesn't exist for most people. After two and a half years of waiting, we want action from this Government."
Decades of planning that favours motor vehicles have created a road environment that is often not cycle-friendly. Traffic volumes and speeds, together with poor road layouts and inconsiderate road user� behaviours deter people from taking up cycling.
"Many parents and teachers won't let children cycle or walk to school because they think the roads are too unsafe", said Ms Dawson. "We need more local authorities to follow the lead of Christchurch City Council. The Safe Routes to Schools initiatives in Christchurch make cycling and walking viable options for children, making them healthier and more independent."
CAN is calling on central government to inject a substantial amount of money into supporting cycling as a transport option. Currently cycling projects get about 0.1% of funds from the National Roading Programme.
"Much more money needs to be allocated to cycling projects at a national� and local level. We want to see a national cycling strategy developed, a national network of cycle routes constructed, Safe Routes to Schools schemes in place throughout New Zealand, and speeds reduced in urban areas through local traffic calming schemes" said Ms Dawson.
In election year, CAN asks all politicians and parties to adopt policies that give New Zealanders the option of travelling by bicycle.
For further information contact: Jane Dawson, CAN Chairperson, 04-385 2557,