Despite their success, I still hear complaints about the cycleways we’ve built in Christchurch.
I think a big part of this stems from a misunderstanding of who these are being built for. In some people’s minds, the cycleways are being built to benefit a small number of smarmy, rich, lycra-clad, fitness-freak cyclists.
In reality, the people using them are far more varied. From my observations, it’s primarily children riding or scootering to school; it’s a lot of parents, especially mums; it’s grandparents taking children for rides; and it’s regular people making utility trips- going to work, shops, appointments etc.
Below are some photos I’ve taken over the last few months of people using the cycleways of Christchurch.
When we don’t build cycleways people have to ride with traffic which feels dangerous. Many decide it’s too unsafe and just jump in the car instead, which is a lose-lose for everyone.
It’s worth keeping these sorts of people in mind when you think about the value of cycling infrastructure.
A few other reminders to finish:
- The cycleways we’ve built are being very well used (here and here)
- Women especially are using them (here and here)
- The majority of people want us to build more cycleways (here)
- Cycleways are cheap. Despite all the cogitations of council wasting ratepayers money, cycleways are a bargain compared to just about any other transport infrastructure – they cost a tiny fraction of what motorways, new roads, road widening, overpasses/underpasses, bus lanes all cost. They are also funded mostly from central government rather than council, so they have next to no impact on council rates.
- They’re not just for summer – people use them even if it’s raining (here)
- They’re not just for rich people – rich and poor alike use them in roughly equal measure (here).