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Cyclists push for cycle lanes through elections

Sep 30th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, News, Top Picture

LOVING CYCLING: A cyclist makes sure he is seen.

“LOVE Cycling” bike plates are being used to make protected cycle lanes in Wellington a local body election issue.

The Cycle Advocates Network campaign involves giving away “Love Cycling” bike plates to cyclists, plus a website, a Facebook group, posters and a petition.

The group is also getting views from council candidates.

“It’s an effort to unite the cycling tribes behind one banner,” said Patrick Morgan, project manager for the network.

“Wellington has under-invested in safe cycling infrastructure for too long, which is why we’ve sunk to the bottom of the safety league table,” Mr Morgan said.

The campaigners have quizzed local body candidates about current council cycling investment, what future spending should be, and if they agree with the removal of some parking to provide safe cycle lanes.

All of the Mayoral candidates apart from Karunanidhi Muthu have responded to the quiz, and the majority said they would remove car parking if it was the only way to add safe cycle lanes, while Nicola Young said she would “consider it seriously.”

In their responses  to the quiz John Morrison and Celia Wade-Brown both noted that alternative parking space may be required if parking was removed.

John Morrison has said that “You can’t just put a cycleway down Adelaide Road and ignore business owners.”

Campaign spokesperson Jill Ford, points to American cities as examples of how protected cycle lanes could look and their benefits.

She said one benefit was the potential for tourism where lanes are linked with off-road cycle tracks.

One of the major objections to cycle lanes, from what she calls “right-wing” local body candidates, is that small businesses will suffer as a result of reduced parking.

Ms Ford said New York research had shown that where protected cycle lanes were installed small business turnover increased.

“People want freedom to bike without worrying about being killed, and it’s a way of improving the quality of life for everyone.”

Both Ms Ford and Mr Morgan said there was huge public demand for cycle lanes in Wellington, and the campaign would continue beyond the election.

A spokesperson for the Automobile Association, Simon Douglas, cycles to and from his workplace in Lambton Quay.

He said the association is an advocate for mobility and strongly supports protected cycle lanes, but when they were not possible in built up urban areas “mixed mode” road use might be unavoidable.

“It gets more challenging in the urban built environment, as to how you balance the needs of cars, pedestrians, public transport and cyclists,” Mr Douglas said.

Dan Mikkelson, owner of Bicycle Junction, a specialist bike shop in Newtown,  said he wanted to see a campaign of courtesy aimed particularly at motorists

Mr Mikkelson said personally he was not fussed about protected cycle lanes, but there was a generation of people who had not grown up cycling.

“Cycle lanes will encourage people who don’t cycle. You’ll watch cycling grow if there is a facility for them to do so.”

bicycle junction 650

BICYCLE JUNCTION: Dan Mikkelson thinks protected lanes will encourage cycling.



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