Petrol Prices Linked To Strong Interest In Cycling
High Petrol Prices Linked To Strong Interest In Cycling
Media statement, Thursday 2 February 2006
New Zealanders seem to be turning to pedal power in the wake of high petrol prices. Figures show that imports of cycles continue to increase, and cycle events are also growing in popularity.
HSC walking and cycling programme director Brent Skinnon says Statistics New Zealand figures show cycle imports have been increasing since 2002, with growth of about 20 percent from the previous year in 2004 and 2005. Nearly 268,000 cycles were imported into New Zealand in the year ending June 2005.
He puts some of the renewed popularity down to high motoring costs, environmental concerns and the current emphasis on fitness.
“As petrol prices peak and dip at dizzying speed, and publicity around vehicle emissions rises, bikes are an obvious choice for people of all ages. Biking is good for you, and it’s good for the environment.
“New Zealand already has more than 750,000 bike owners and if the last three years’ trends are anything to go by, imports will continue to rise. I don’t think we’ve peaked yet.”
Organisers of this summer’s big cycle events say entries continue to increase, as do spectators. November’s Wattyl Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge saw almost 1,500 more riders entered than in 2004. The race attracted over 11,400 riders, and was inundated with late entries.
Joce Moyle, media liaison officer for the race, says the event has undergone significant growth every year for the past six years. “Cycling has enjoyed something of a renaissance over the last few years.”
The increased popularity of cycling is also being reflected in retail outlets. Murray Howe, Avanti Plus manager, Lower Hutt says the days when parents only bought bikes for the kids are gone.
“Now they buy one each and ride with their kids. The women’s market has also really taken off, which I think is due to the manufacture of both bikes and cycling gear for women, with a lot at the high end of the fitness fashion market.”
Brent Skinnon says the support provided to cyclists by local and national government also encourages people to get on their bikes.
“Special facilities for cyclists, such as cycle lanes, are starting to make the roads safer than a few years back. Competitive cyclists also receive the spin-off with plenty of safer training areas.”
BACKGROUND – BIKE WISE WEEK
Bike Wise Week events are running nationwide from 25 February to 5 March 2006 co-ordinated by schools, regional and city councils, New Zealand Police, sports trusts, businesses, environmental groups, parents, public health units, cycling advocates, retail sector and more.
- the Bike Wise Business Battle – a fun, free inter-business challenge
- the Mayoral Challenge (26 February) – regions compete against each other as they strive to have the most people ‘ride behind the mayor’ and win the coveted title of New Zealand’s Cycle Mad City 2006
- Go By Bike Day (1 March) – thousands of New Zealanders choose to go to meetings, universities, schools and social engagements by bike. As a reward, they can call into designated centres to enjoy breakfast and live entertainment.
NZ Bicycle Imports, 2000 to 2005