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Census shows cycling on rise despite lack of safe cycleways

25 March 2014

Census shows cycling on the rise despite lack of safe cycleways

Cycling is booming throughout New Zealand despite the National Government’s failure to fund new cycle lanes to keep people safe, the Green Party said today.

Census Travel to work data released today shows that the numbers of New Zealanders choosing to ride a bicycle to work increased by 16 percent from the 2006 census, while those choosing to drive increased by only one percent.

“Increasing numbers of New Zealanders are choosing to ride their bicycles to work despite the lack of safe, separated cycle lanes,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“It’s time for a change in the way we invest our transport budget to meet the demand for safe cycle lanes.

“National currently spends less than one percent of the transport budget on cycling.

“Currently only seven people work on cycling projects of the 1300 staff who work for the New Zealand Transport Agency. Twenty-one people do public relations for the agency.

“The Green Party will shift spending from very low-value motorway projects into high-value safe walking and cycling infrastructure.

“It would cost only a tiny fraction of the National Government’s $13 billion spend on motorways to fund the building of safe cycling infrastructure throughout our towns and cities.”

The Green Party recently announced $200 million of new investment in infrastructure so kids can cycle and walk to school safely, and to ease congestion on New Zealand's roads.

“We will invest $50 million a year over four years to ensure our kids can walk and cycle to school safe from traffic,” Mrs Turei said.

“The latest research shows that we can secure up to $20 of benefits for every dollar invested in safe walking and cycling. That's a billion dollars of health and decongestion benefits for each year's $50 million investment.

"Our Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan is a smart way to get kids to school safely and ease congestion on our roads for those that need to use them.

“The Government is missing a huge opportunity to enable cycling to be a serious, cost effective transport option for short trips.”

Safe to School details: https://www.greens.org.nz/safetoschool

Link to number of people working for the NZTA on cycling projects: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qwa/QWA_10923_2013/10923-2013-julie-anne-genter-to-the-minister-of-transport

ENDS

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