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North Shore City To Host Major Cycling Conference


NEWS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE USE

North Shore City to host major cycling conference

July 16, 2003

North Shore City will host a major national cycling conference in October this year with the Conservative candidate for Mayor for London, Steven Norris, one of the keynote speakers.

The city has just released its draft Cycling Strategy for consultation and Joel Cayford, chairperson of the council's works and environment committee, says the conference will be an important opportunity to raise awareness of cycling issues and how to provide safe facilities for cyclists.

The NZ Cycling Conference will be opened by the Minister of Transport, Paul Swain, and will focus on the first New Zealand Cycling and Walking Strategy, which will form a background to the programme. The draft strategy will be in its consultation phase at the time of the conference and the government has a $3.8m fund for walking and cycling initiatives.

"Promoting walking and cycling is now a key part of government policy under the New Zealand Transport Strategy," says Councillor Cayford.

"The conference is an opportunity to share experience and knowledge on how to get local strategies up and running. A third of New Zealand car journeys are less than two kilometres and two-thirds are less than six kilometres so there is a lot of potential to convert those trips to bikes. But safety is a key issue," he says.

Steven Norris, the UK Government's chair of the National Cycling Strategy Board, will be keynote speaker on the first day of the conference. A former Minister for Transport in London and Minister for Local Transport and Road Safety, he has recently been confirmed as the Conservative Party candidate for Mayor of London. He will be standing against incumbent Ken Livingston.

Around 300 delegates from throughout New Zealand and Australia are expected to attend the conference, which will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11 at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. A Festival of Cycling in Devonport sponsored by North Shore City Council on Sunday, October 12 will follow it.

Councillor Cayford says the city has some way to go before it can claim to be cycle-friendly, but the conference and the draft strategy are a move in the right direction.

"We're keen to encourage safe cycling in our city - as it's a great way to keep fit and healthy and get around. The more people we get cycling instead of driving, the fewer cars on the road."

(ends)


A copy of the full conference programme is available at http://www.cycling-support.org.nz


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