News | 5 February 2018

Go by Bike Day to celebrate growing pedal power

Go by Bike Day this Wednesday 7 February will be a big celebration for the growing number of Wellingtonians who are choosing to make some trips by bike.

Graphic image of cyclists riding on a pavement.

The annual summer event – on at Queens Wharf under the sails from 7am to 9am – will include free breakfast for those who arrive by bike, giveaways, and spot prizes, as well as competitions to see who can fix a flat tyre the fastest and ride the slowest.  

The new Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter, and Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, will speak at the event, and are both expected to arrive by bike.

The Mayor says with Wellington’s fantastic summer, the upsurge of interest in ebikes, and people just wanting to get some exercise as part of their daily commute, we’re seeing more and more people of all ages out and about on an increasingly diverse range of bikes.

“The Council is working with the Government and NZTA to make improvements by mid-2019, which will make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to choose their bicycle as a means of transport.” 

The increase in the number of cyclists is being monitored by sensors that are being rolled out in parts of the city. Already, figures for January show that more than 18,000 people travelled along the shared pathway in Oriental Bay by bike – about 600 a day. 

In mid-January, as people began to return to work, another new counter showed more than 200 – nearly four people a minute – rode along the Hutt Road shared path north of the Caltex service station between 7am and 8am.

This year the Council will complete the new improved bike and walking paths on Hutt Road as far as the Tinakori Road intersection, the major upgrade under way on the seaward side of Cobham Drive, and carry out work to improve the off-road connection to Newlands.  

Planning is also well under way on a host of other projects including the proposed two-way separated pathway around Evans Bay, which would make the coastal route even more of a drawcard, and safer routes and connections within the eastern suburbs and over to Newtown. 

Cr Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking, Cycling and Public Transport, says Census data, and the annual cordon counts during the morning peak over the last 20 years, show the numbers – and proportions – of people walking, biking and catching public transport have been going up.

“With the city’s population set to grow by 50,000 to 80,000 by 2043, we need those trends to continue to help manage congestion and ensure Wellington remains a great place to live and visit,” she says. 

“As a Council, we are working with the community to gradually develop a connected citywide cycle network, and proudly encouraging more people to bike in a whole range of ways.

“Among other things, we’ve helped fund skills tracks at 8 local schools as part of our Bikes in Schools programme, so more children can safely learn to ride. And there’s three more in the pipeline. Our new website also provides lots of information and support for anyone wanting to give it a go.”

Go by bike day is just one of the things happening in February to help encourage pedal power. There are great prizes on offer for people and businesses that sign up and take part in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, which runs throughout the month. 

As part of the challenge, there will be an opportunity to ride along the waterfront with the Mayor next Tuesday 13 February – leaving from near Mojo café in the Meridian building on Queens Wharf at 7.30am and heading to Waitangi Park.