Palmer­ston North boasts ‘bike-i-city’

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

‘Bike-i-city’. How­ever that’s de­fined, Palmer­ston North has it.

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search from Nielsen, more than 9000 Palmy-nauts over the age of 10 are likely to take up cy­cling in the next six months. That’s 21 per cent higher than the na­tional av­er­age, and ranks the city third equal with Tau­ranga be­hind Welling­ton – with nearly 15 per cent of its pop­u­la­tion claim­ing to be po­ten­tial cy­clists, and Dunedin with just over 14 per cent.

At 12.7per cent, we’re ahead of Christchurch at just over, and In­ver­cargill at just un­der, 12 per cent.

Now whether that means 9,000 of us are get­ting bikes for Christ­mas, Santa only knows, but cy­cling ad­vo­cate Des­ti­na­tion Manawatu’s Lance Bick­ford says he’s not sur­prised by the city’s high show­ing.

‘‘We’re a city of a rea­son­able size where cy­cling can be an op­tion. We have a high pro­por­tion of im­mi­grants who come from all over the planet, and for many of those so­ci­eties, cy­cling is a key mode of trans­port.’’

By and large, Lance says Palmer­ston North is a great cy­cle city, but can al­ways do bet­ter. The city to Ash­hurst cy­cle­way he says is fan­tas­tic, and the op­por­tu­nity to link Lin­ton and Feild­ing by cy­cle­ways is ex­cit­ing.

‘‘There are chal­lenges in cy­cling around the city com­pared to other places ... and round­abouts are not ideal... but we have the op­por­tu­nity to be a leader if we really want to.’’

Making the most of the city’s cy­cle-abil­ity is not just about bike lanes but about at­ti­tude. ‘‘Sim­ply leav­ing it up to coun­cil isn’t good enough. Ev­ery­one must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for making this a great place to ride a bike’’

City coun­cil­lor Rachel Bowen re­mains upbeat about cy­cling even though she broke an el­bow af­ter be­ing knocked off her elec­tric pow­ered bike last week.

Cut off in the cy­cle lane by a turn­ing ve­hi­cle, the accident re­in­forced for Rachel what it was like to be a bik­ing com­muter.

‘‘Driv­ers do need to be more aware,’’ Rachel says. ‘‘Where peo­ple feel safe, they will cy­cle. There is safety in num­bers, so we need more peo­ple to cy­cle.’’

Na­tion­ally, the sur­vey fig­ures show that 407,000 New Zealan­ders are pre­pared to hit the ped­als by mid-year.


Bik­ing is set to boom.

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