Wellingtonians showing their love for two wheels

15 April 2015

More Wellingtonians are getting into the saddle, with recent surveys showing record numbers of people commuting by bike.

Woman riding a bike.

The Wellington City Council Transport Monitoring Survey 2015 shows that cycling commuter numbers continue to rise – up 21 percent from 2014, and 200 percent over the last 10 years. 

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the figures are encouraging and justify future investment. 

“The Capital’s cycling numbers are up and up, unlike some other cities in New Zealand. Wellingtonians have told us they want more opportunities to bike,” she says.  “The Draft Regional Transport Plan 2015 shows that regional mode share for biking is 2.9 percent, but Wellington City comes in highest at 4.2 percent.”

“These figures add weight to our proposal to implement a cycling network across Wellington.  The more we encourage people to use active modes such as cycling, the more we can reduce the congestion for other road users, as well as improving our health, reducing emissions and supporting local shops and cafes.” 

“Over the past year, we’ve already made modest commitments to making it easier for people to get around Wellington by bike,” says the Mayor. “We have opened the Tawa Valley Pathway – Ara Tawa, and will be opening the Leonie Gill Pathway in Kilbirnie on Sunday 19 April.  These pathways are proving popular with families, school children and commuters as a way to get around their suburbs on bike or on foot.”

“Our recently launched Bikes in Schools programme gives more than 1300 students the opportunity to build their bike skills at school,” says the Mayor.  “We’re preparing our younger generations to have more confidence and competence on bikes, so that they can bike to school and recreationally.” 

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Transport and Urban Development committee, says that the numbers are really good. “I bike a lot and I can see the greater numbers of people on bikes, but there is still room to grow.” 

“We’ve been making Wellington more bike friendly with improvements such as cycle stop boxes at traffic lights, cycle friendly sump grates, bike racks and shared pathways.  The ongoing planning work for the Wellington City cycle network will really reach the large part of our community who are interested in giving biking a go,” says Cr Foster. “Our research shows 76 percent of Wellingtonians say they would like to bike for some trips if protected bike lanes were provided. 

“We are currently developing the Wellington City cycling framework, which is planned to create a comprehensive cycling network to make biking a viable choice for more people,” says Cr Foster. “The Government and New Zealand Transport Agency are strongly supporting making transformational changes to cycling in all our major cities. We have crucial decisions to make at the end of this month on the shape of that network, the scale of investment, and the speed with which we roll it out.”  

“Good cycling infrastructure makes sense, as it has proven economic and health benefits – from increased retail sales and housing prices, to reduced health care costs and improved wellbeing,” says Cr Foster.