Go by bike day celebrates growing pedal power

30 October 2019

Go by bike day tomorrow (Thursday 31 October) will celebrate the growing number of Wellingtonians of all ages and abilities who are choosing to make some trips by bike.

Image of cyclist on way to work

The annual event – on at Queens Wharf under the sails from 7am to 9am –  has been brought forward to spring this year to tie in with the month-long Greater Welly BikeFest.

There will be free coffee, a bagel breakfast, and Dutch treats for anyone who arrives by bike, as well as giveaways, spot prizes and competitions. People can also get their bike fixed up or try out new bikes from local retailers.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster, and the Ambassador for the Embassy of the Netherlands, Mira Woldberg, will both arrive by bike and speak at the event.

Karen O’Leary, who is an early childhood teacher and on-screen police officer in Wellington Paranormal and What We Do in The Shadows will arrive by electric bike and MC as Officer O’Leary.

In her day job as head teacher at Adelaide Early Childhood Centre in Newtown, she sees a growing number of children being transported by bike.

”There’s been a noticeable increase in the number of families transporting their children to the centre by bike over the last couple of years,” she says. “About a quarter of our families regularly come by bike now, which has got to be a good thing for family health and fitness, and the environment.”

Mayor Foster says biking, walking and catching public transport are all great ways to experience Wellington, factor some exercise into your day, and help the city reduce the emissions that cause climate change.

“We have by far the highest proportion of trips by bike, on foot or by public transport – measured to work or education – of any part of New Zealand and that has grown every year since 1992.

“As a city we’ve declared a climate emergency and committed to become net carbon zero by 2050, so it’s fantastic to see more and more people making some trips by bike.

“The electronic bike counters that have been installed around the city over the past 18 months show significant numbers of people are riding all year round, but for anyone thinking of giving it a go, summer is a great time to start.” 

September’s count data shows Thorndon Quay and Oriental Bay Parade are the busiest biking spots in the city. Some 24,129 bike trips (a weekday average of 1102) were recorded on Thorndon Quay during the month. In Oriental Bay, 18,963 (a weekday average of 723) were counted on the new bike path in September, with a further 7534 (a weekday average of 299) on the road. Cordon counts show cycling numbers have tripled since 2001.

Wellington City Council is working with the Government and the NZ Transport Agency to make things safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to choose their bicycle as a means of transport. 

Construction work is in full swing and on schedule to develop new bike and walking paths at Ōmarukaikuru/Pt Jerningham and along Cobham Drive, which will in time allow people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to ride all the way from Miramar to the city without having to ride on the road.

Over the past year a number of other improvements have been made in the eastern suburbs, including the new uphill bike lane in Crawford Road. The lane has made the most challenging section of the trip from Kilbirnie to Newtown safer and more pleasant.

The new, improved walking and biking paths along Hutt Road are also proving popular and will soon be even better as work to widen the final pinch-point, the bridge over the Kaiwharawhara Stream, is almost complete.