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Govt encourages kiwis to bike more often

Govt encourages kiwis to bike more often

Minister of Transport Paul Swain encouraged kiwis to get on their bikes, where possible, to help ease the traffic pressure on the nation’s roads.

As part of ‘Bike Wise National Bike to Work day’, Mr Swain and Minister for Sport and Recreation Trevor Mallard biked from Petone Railway Station to a Cycle to Work day breakfast at Civic Square in Wellington this morning.

“Fewer people are using cycling as a means of getting around, especially for shorter trips,” said Mr Swain. “Between 1988 and 1998 there has been a 39 per cent decline in cycling trips. And it is the use of cycling for day-to-day transport – the journey to work, to school, to local shops and services - that has declined the most This is at a time when nearly 60% of all car journeys are for distances of under five kilometers – a distance that can be cycled in half an hour.

“In the interests of a sustainable transport system, the government is committed to reversing the decline in cycling.

“Last year the government provided an extra $3 million for the National Land Transport Fund to promote walking and cycling. We’ve identified improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists to encouraging walking and cycling and this is a priority in our Road Safety Strategy to 2010. Walking and cycling are also important parts of the New Zealand Transport Strategy, which we released late last year.

“This year the government is developing a national walking and cycling strategy to ensure that walking and cycling help us achieve our objectives including: improving the level of fitness among our young people; supporting our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases; helping reduce congestion on our roads and; improving the liveability of our communities.

“We expect a draft of the strategy to be out for comment in a few months time.

“Cycling and walking are, of course, not the answer for everyone, or for all journeys But we need to ensure New Zealanders have a choice of transport modes, which is part of maintaining a balanced and sustainable transport system,” said Mr Swain.

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