Cy­cle lobby gets crank­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENVIRONMENT - RACHEL KEED­WELL

Palmer­ston North is an ideal place to ride a bike. The city is flat, rel­a­tively compact with only the oc­ca­sional head wind.

How­ever, while road cy­cling and moun­tain-bik­ing are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, and the de­vel­op­ment of off-road cy­cle paths along the river is pro­vid­ing a safer op­tion for recre­ational bike rides, only a few of us are choos­ing to ride a bike as a way to get around.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2013 census, just 4.8 per cent of peo­ple used a bike to get to work in Palmer­ston North. This is higher than the na­tion­wide cy­cling rate of 2.2 per cent but is still a low num­ber for a city that is rel­a­tively easy to get around in by bike.

One way we can en­cour­age more peo­ple to get on their bikes is to de­velop cy­cling net­works in the city that are safer while work­ing well for peo­ple rid­ing bikes . To help fa­cil­i­tate this, a group of util­ity and com­muter cy­clists -peo­ple who use bikes for trans­port pur­poses, have re­cently formed a group called ‘‘Peo­ple on Bikes’’.

The group’s vi­sion is to work as an ad­vo­cacy group with the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil to de­velop a wellde­signed and safe en­vi­ron­ment in which to cy­cle.

The coun­cil has a bud­get for cy­cling in the city and it makes sense to have this money spent as ef­fec­tively as pos­si­ble. We’d like to see th­ese funds used to not only cre­ate a net­work that is safe but also to change the pre­vail­ing cul­ture on our roads – one that recog­nises cy­clists as hav­ing the same rights as other road users.

The group is look­ing for com­muter cy­clists with ideas to share. What would you like to see as part of the city’s cy­cle net­work? How could the ex­ist­ing net­work be im­proved?

Al­though the form of the group and how it in­ter­acts with coun­cil is still be­ing de­vel­oped, we are in­ter­ested in hear­ing your views.

To con­trib­ute to the Peo­ple on Bikes Group, con­tact Rachel Keed­well at rachel4hori­zons@gmail.com.

PHOTO: MARGI MIT­CALFE/SUP­PLIED

Roslyn res­i­dent Kirsty Porter reg­u­larly com­mutes to town on her bi­cy­cle.

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