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Cycling numbers up in Hamilton


Cycling numbers up in Hamilton breaking 27 year trend

FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2008

For Immediate Release

Cyclist numbers have risen significantly in Hamilton in the last twelve months. Overall, a recent annual cycle cordon count, part of a study which has taken place since 1980, shows that cyclist levels are over 10 percent higher than last year.

The rise is a turn up since the cycle use survey began in 1980, which peaked in 1997 and has been in decline to 2007.

Active Transport Committee chairman councillor Roger Hennebry says the break in the trend is extremely encouraging although the number of students cycling to school has continued to fall and presents a challenge.

“We are really pleased that Council's investment in the sustained construction of a cycle network for the city is starting to show a real return. Over the past year we have continued implementing cycle lanes and paths across the city. Hamilton now has a network of over 90km of cycle routes, 29km of which are off road routes such as the Waikato River pathway. We will continue to provide new cycle routes in coming years as part of delivering our ten-year plan.”

Cycle projects engineer Philip King says the decline in the number of students cycling to school continues to be a focus.

“We are currently working with 10 schools on new School Travel Plans that will encourage walking and cycling instead of being driven. More schools will start plans at the beginning of term three. We are also rolling out a programme of child cycle training to year 6 students to educate them in road safety and encourage the next generation to give cycling a go.”

The annual cycle cordon count measures the number of cyclists passing through a series of set check points across the city on one day a year. The number of school cyclists and adult cyclists is measured, as is the number of cyclists with no helmet. This year for the first time, the number of cyclists illegally using footpaths was also counted.

“Our next challenge is to continue educating all road users to follow road rules. Cyclists need to know that by law they must wear helmets and keep clear of the path. Likewise, drivers need to be more aware of vulnerable road users and keep clear of cycle lanes.”


ENDS


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