web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

LocalBodies: Transport Poverty, Bicycles Needed.

Written By: - Date published: 4:51 pm, April 1st, 2014 - 20 comments
Categories: transport - Tags:

The original of this post is here.

I spent last Saturday helping out with a cycling promotion in an Invercargill community market. The market occurs monthly and has been largely driven by a community minded, and recently elected city councillor, Rebecca Amundsen to revitalize a less affluent part of the city and generate a sense of community. Through her leadership the market has become an established event and the car park where the market is held has received extra funding for landscaping and public toilets have been built.

The idea of the cycling promotion was that children could bring their bikes, grab a ‘bike licence’ and collect stickers for completing a quiz, an obstacle course, a skill test and have their bike checked for safety. If all were completed satisfactorily then they got a bag of bike related goodies (bike bell, puncture repair kit etc). I was managing the skill test or ‘Turtle Race’ which involved taking the longest possible time to get between two points in a straight line without feet touching the ground. It was a lot of fun.

Sadly there were a number of children who wanted to take part, and could ride a bike, but they didn’t own one. The fact that quite a number of children didn’t have bikes shook my middle class perception that all New Zealand kids must have access to a bike. A quick phone call to my wife enabled the delivery of my folding bike that I could adjust for a range of ages and bikeless children could use.

The ‘Bike Doctor’ (who was doing the safety checks) bases himself at the nearby Invercargill Environment Centre and, for a donation, repairs bikes and fixes up donated bikes to be given away. I was told that he can’t get enough bikes to meet the demand. Apparently there are even people approaching him for transport to get to work as they no longer have a car or can’t afford to repair one. I have also noticed a growing number of people cycling in Invercargill on older bikes and whose appearance suggests they are struggling financially. While cycling is obviously a healthy and practical choice of transport many are obviously doing it because they have no choice.

This Government’s obsession with roads and cars, and their lack of investment in safe cycling and reliable public transport, ignores the fact that while high income families may own several cars, at the other end of the spectrum there are a growing number of families that not only can’t afford a house or a car, but struggle to own bicycles as well.

20 comments on “LocalBodies: Transport Poverty, Bicycles Needed.”

  1. Ad 1

    Excellent regional regional reality.
    Transport in cities can get to $150 a week with parking factored in.
    In Auckland it’s calculated as 15% of weekly spend as a household average.

    You are the first here to describe transport as a marker of class. Transport poverty is not only about daily stress, and ones defined spatial and mental realm, it’s also a threshold of personal freedom. Very real. Well cashed black economy workers in Kaitaia roll their v8 hemis through town as a grand signifier. Year 8s say it with a freestyle dirtbike with trick accessories.

    You ain’t moving into upper working or lower middle class without wheels – without them on many levels you are stuck.

    By the way, even Gerry gets this. Watch this space when his next govt policy statement comes out.

    • weka 1.1

      “Excellent regional regional reality.”

      Yep, very good post.

      Is there a recyle centre in Invers? What’s happening to the bikes no-one wants?

      • Dave kennedy 1.1.1

        Yes there is, but the bikes at the recycle centre are generally in poor condition and would need attention to get properly roadworthy again. Our Environment Centre bike doctor has bikes donated and he ensures that they are functional and safe before passing them on.

  2. In Wellington, check out the Mechanical Tempest (Abel Smith St) and the Aro Valley Wunderbike programme:

    http://wunderbike.blogspot.co.nz/

    In Christchurch, get in touch with Icecycles:

    http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/bike-maintenance/

  3. karol 3

    Here out in West Auckland, I also see young people using other modes of transportation: scooters (of the engineless type where you paddle along with one foot), skateboards.

    Sometimes I see youngest getting up a bit of speed with wheels on the bottom of their shoes.

  4. Overcache 4

    While well meaning, there are couple of logical flaws in the way this article is structured.

    Firstly, why build bike lanes if the poorest of the poor cannot afford bikes? I think you are inferring that the government should subsidise bikes, as a means of granting greater access to the poor. If so, doesn’t that prejudice people like young mothers and the elderly, for whom a bike is not a viable option? How should this be balanced out? Consider is a country like New Zealand, particularly down South, weather is a huge determinant of cycle use.

    Secondly, you make the assumption that the poor cannot afford bikes. A quick scan on Trade Me shows you can buy functioning bikes for as little as $30 (buy now) on the South Island. This may be out of reach for some of the most disaffected, but these people are at the extreme margin (best served by targeted solutions not blanket subsidies). I would suggest that a targeted (as opposed to blanket) approach is needed, which is where organisations like the Bike Doctor come in. As for funding, the government is by far the biggest contributor to charities in this country, and I would suggest this is the route to go, or perhaps a wider community appeal.

    If you want an example of people living in extreme poverty, please check out this documentary (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/dont-panic-truth-about-population/), and fast forward to the 38 minute mark. Here is a family of 10 living on less than US$10 a day, for whom a bike represents a transformative investment, which they have made at great personal sacrifice. We in New Zealand do not suffer from nearly the same deprivation.

    • Overcache, we need to follow Europe in their approach to providing real choice in transport options, we are lagging behind in this regard. Weather shouldn’t be a limiting factor, our climate is actually a moderate one and many more people in Invercargill used bicycles in the past. In cities with much more challenging Winters (like Zurich) bicycles are common.

      When motorways are constructed the volume of traffic increases and it generally doesn’t reduce congestion. If safe cycle lanes are provided, people will use them and the cost benefit ratio of cycle lanes are hugely positive. People will use cars less, there will be a reduction in road congestion and there are savings in health costs.

      I definitely didn’t infer that the Government should subsidise bikes, if anything I was pointing out how inadequate many incomes are. I would rather see the adoption of a living wage. I am sure that for many of the children who didn’t have bikes it was priorities not price that was the determining factor. If children couldn’t use their bikes as transport to get to and from school safely then they would become purely recreational in their use and therefore a luxury. If children could cycle to their school safely it would free up parents and save on the petrol used to drop them off each day.

  5. shorts 5

    new bikes seem very expensive – so many aimed at the very well heeled and a growing number of bike shops seem to focus on only these customers

    It seems there is very little in NZ these days that isn’t slowly but surely being denied those with less

    Where we are out west (akld) its very hilly and our youngsters would rather walk than bike as they spend a lot of time when biking pushing them up hills

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      new bikes seem very expensive – so many aimed at the very well heeled and a growing number of bike shops seem to focus on only these customers

      That’s the NZ market. It’s very small and so the stores have to go for the things that they can make a large profit on as they’re not going to get the turnover necessary to support a low profit per item model.

      Where we are out west (akld) its very hilly and our youngsters would rather walk than bike as they spend a lot of time when biking pushing them up hills

      I’m pretty much the same.

    • Saccharomyces 5.2

      Bikes have never been cheaper. Yes there are some extreme high-end models out there at specialist stores for many thousands, but there are really cheap options out there too. Under $100 at the likes of The Warehouse and KMart.

      Contrast that to the early ’80s when even the most basic Healing Cruiser would set you back $216! Inflation adjusted that’s near $600!

      I think one thing that has happened is our disposable culture has people chucking older bikes out when they could probably be repaired and on-sold. I hate to think how many bikes with perfectly serviceable frames, rims and hubs get sent for scrap just because the brakes are work/our of alignment or the gears need servicing.

      • shorts 5.2.1

        no disrespect to the warehouse and cheaper retail focused outlets but I have little faith their bikes would last long which is something I want in a childs bike – I got a new bike when I was 13… and was still riding it daily when I was in my early 30s

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          Yes, but we can’t have it both ways. It costs to build product that will last. We could demand cheaper, better bikes, but I’d hazzard a guess that the people making the bikes are facing their own set of poverty problems so how is that fair or reasonable? I like Draco’s and Sacc’s ideas – let’s make things here again, pay the real costs for them, and then instead of throwing things out, focus on building a re-use culture. There is plenty to go around, we are just pretty shit at doing it.

          I noticed this recently with clothing opshops that are packed with far too many clothes. When I commented on this, I was told that they get more than they can sell. FFS, set up a system where the people with no money get given clothes. And educate the rest of NZ that their clothing that is so cheap they can throw it away faster than it can be reused, is being made with slave labour.

          • shorts 5.2.1.1.1

            “let’s make things here again, pay the real costs for them, and then instead of throwing things out, focus on building a re-use culture. There is plenty to go around, we are just pretty shit at doing it.”

            In total agreement with this, I just wish kiwi wages were such that the real costs didn’t make things unaffordable to so many of us

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1.1

              I just wish kiwi wages were such that the real costs didn’t make things unaffordable to so many of us

              That’s not actually the problem. The main problem is that most of the money is going to the bludging shareholders while wages are kept down. Then there’s the rather expensive idea of competition which is aggravated by the large foreign factories that use cheap manual labour where economies of scale apply (an automated factory removes economies of scale but happen to be expensive).

              What I’d like is for the government to build such an automated factory that could produce any design from any material. Such a factory could be built to provide solely for the NZ market with the resources used by it also supplied directly from NZ.

              • Saccharomyces

                “for the government to build such an automated factory that could produce any design from any material”

                Do you mean specifically for bikes, or literally ANYTHING? Because if it’s the latter, there’s no way that I can see that would be possible.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  ATM I’d say specifically anything that had similar construction to bikes. So, anything made out of metal tubes.

                  Actually, it’d be a complex I suppose with each main component being specialised for a part and then brought together in an automated assembly line.

  6. Tracey 6

    children dont vote.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 days ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 days ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 days ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    2 days ago
  • Gerry Brownlee’s revolving airport door story
    A new report shows Gerry Brownlee is the latest Cabinet Minister to have contracted the infectious tell-porkies-until-you-are-caught disease, Labour’s Chief Whip Chris Hipkins says. “A Civil Aviation Report out today shows that despite being an extremely recognisable figure, Gerry Brownlee… ...
    2 days ago
  • Gerry Brownlee’s revolving airport door story
    A new report shows Gerry Brownlee is the latest Cabinet Minister to have contracted the infectious tell-porkies-until-you-are-caught disease, Labour’s Chief Whip Chris Hipkins says. “A Civil Aviation Report out today shows that despite being an extremely recognisable figure, Gerry Brownlee… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    3 days ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    3 days ago
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    3 days ago
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki… ...
    3 days ago
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    3 days ago
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It… ...
    4 days ago
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry. ...
    4 days ago
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    5 days ago
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare… ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems… ...
    GreensBy James Shaw MP
    1 week ago
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems… ...
    GreensBy James Shaw MP
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional… ...
    1 week ago
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional… ...
    1 week ago
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham… ...
    1 week ago
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere