OECD Report a Recipe for Cycling, say Advocates.

Advocates for better cycling facilities gave an unusual welcome to the recent OECD report, which called for action on two problems New Zealand faces- traffic congestion and obesity.

Release of the report from the international body, primarily concerned with promoting economic growth, was welcomed by national network body, Cycling Advocates’ Network. The report generally praises New Zealand’s economic performance, with some reservations about income equality and the housing shortage, but finds fault with the failure to tackle traffic congestion in major cities, and mentions New Zealand’s steadily worsening obesity epidemic.

The report calls for action on both these issues, and CAN members pointed to the unusual link. CAN interim project manager Will Andrews told press, ‘The OECD haven’t made the connection that cycling is a solution to both these problems, but it’s a link that we and our member groups highlight constantly. The prospect of a joined-up approach, where health advocates and transport engineers work together to increase people’s use of bikes or walking for transport, is awesome.’

CAN is currently following a programme of engagement with public health, transport and environment MPs and Ministers, to encourage co-operation between sectors and Ministries.

Cycling isn’t often promoted by economic development organisations, but many studies show substantial economic benefits from converting short trips to cycling. These include recent studies of the cycling economy in the EU, NZ roading studies, and several analyses of the benefits to public health funding. Economists generally agree that investment returns in cycleways are considerably higher than in motorways.

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Will Andrews 021 02692724