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The politics of opposition to cycleways

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, May 8th, 2022 - 53 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, climate change, local government, science, supercity, transport, uncategorized - Tags:

Auckland Council is now getting into the business end of climate change policies.  The emergency declaration has been passed, and the vision, Auckland’s Climate Plan, has been endorsed.

These steps are important although overdue.  When I first became a Local Government politician, in 2001, we knew then that the world faced a cataclysmic climate disaster and we had to get moving but at least then we had some time.

Politics was different then.  The right was obsessed with the proposition that climate change was a socialist plot to destroy the capitalist system.  At one level it was.  It is clear now that rampant consumerism is destroying the planet and the capitalist system is the cause of the problem.  But back then it was a battle between science and right wing dogma.

The debate is now over.  What we are seeing in the real world is exactly what was predicted.  The right has achieved nothing but assisting decades of lack of action at a time when action was most needed..

Over the past two decades locally there has been some progress.  Thanks to the Fifth Labour Government and a united Auckland Region Auckland’s double tracking and electrification of the rail system has been completed.  Out west a number of walkways and cycleways have been constructed and intensification has been concentrated Waitakere City around the rail line.  If you want to see a local example of a compact urban form then come out west.

The double tracking and electrification of the rail line took 14 years.  It is now state of the art public transport.  But we no longer have the same amount of time to do the next big project.

The IPCC recently released a recent report where it said:

It is unequivocal that climate change has already disrupted human and natural systems. Past and current development trends (past emissions, development and climate change) have not advanced global climate resilient development … Societal choices and actions implemented in the next decade determine the extent to which medium- and long-term pathways will deliver higher or lower climate resilient development … Importantly climate resilient development prospects are increasingly limited if current greenhouse gas emissions do not rapidly decline, especially if 1.5°C global warming is exceeded in the near-term.

UN General Secretary Antonio Guteres has been even blunter in his language:

With the planet warming by as much as 1.2 degrees, and where climate disasters have forced 30 million to flee their homes, Mr. Guterres warned: “We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe.”

“In our globally connected world, no country and no corporation, can insulate itself from these levels of chaos.”

If we do not want to “kiss 1.5 goodbye … we need to go to the source – the G20” (group of leading industrialized nations), the UN chief said.

Noting that developed and emerging G20 economies account for 80 per cent of all global emissions, he drew attention to a high dependence on coal but underscored that “our planet can’t afford a climate blame game.”

Developed countries must not put the onus on emerging economies to accelerate their transition nor must emerging economies responding by saying, “you exported carbon-intensive heavy industrial activities to us in return for cheaper goods”.

“We can’t point fingers while the planet burns,” said the Organization head.

Advanced cities like Tamaki Makaurau must be able to play our part if the world has a hope of avoiding a climate catastrophe.

How is Auckland City doing?  It has its big plan to halve CO2 emissions over the next decade.  But so far construction of the all important supporting infrastructure has been lagging.

There are two recent proposals which will potentially make a significant contribution to Auckland’s goals.

Auckland Transport’s draft parking strategy proposes that parking on some major roads be removed so that space is made for traffic and other forms of transport to improve the performance of the system.  Having a parking space right outside your home if you live in the inner city is a very expensive service that the Council does not have to supply.  And it can be used for much more important roles.

This is not something new.  And unfortunately the arguments against converting car parks into alternative mode use is exactly the thing that we will have to do if we want to reduce transport emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Unfortunately there is the appearance of a viable political market for pedaling nonsense.  Here is an example of the level of incoherence the opposition has mustered.  Whau Councillor Tracy Mulholland was reported as saying this:

Who parks in the parking outside town centre shops? Customers do! AT appear to be telling Aucklanders to walk, cycle or catch a bus or a train even if it doesn’t suit!

It is essential that we support small businesses, the lifeblood of our region’s economy. The café owners, services businesses, chemists, gift shops; people who risk their savings to set up and run businesses and who rely on loyal customers to shop there.

Don’t be fooled by the argument that the Draft Parking Strategy is about tackling the ‘Climate Emergency’. It’s not. I predict Auckland Transport will shortly cut some public transport services because it’s going broke. The Government – which is poll-driven, noting the temporary reduction in fuel excise tax – has underfunded AT’s activities for more than a decade.

Climate action is a distraction from the real goal, which is charging motorists more and more to help fund AT, which has become both extreme and dogmatic in its puritanical desire to eliminate cars from Auckland.

Is she correct that cycle lanes are the death knell for adjacent businesses?  The experience from throughout the world would suggest not.  From the Guardian:

Experience often overtakes fears after projects have time to become part of daily life in cities. Studies of New YorkLondonTorontoSan Francisco and other American cities determined that pedestrian and cycling infrastructure increased retail sales by making streets and the stores along them better for shoppers on foot, bike and public transport.

In Detroit, [Mayor] Duggan will be hoping to see similar support after he oversaw the largest one-year buildout of protected bike paths in the US and created a network of plazas and downtown pedestrian space. Plante’s path to reelection in Montreal on 7 November is being challenged by Denis Coderre, who has criticised her bike- and pedestrian-friendly policies. Critics have portrayed Plante as out of touch with ordinary residents, but even her opponent is careful to promise that he would not reverse her signature protected bike lane on St Denis Street.

Bikelash can be exhaustingly repetitive, to the point where even media writers are tired of the ritual of discussing bike lanes solely in terms of controversy.

Reflecting on a decade of bike controversies across Canada, Toronto’s the Globe and Mail this month asked: “Is the war against bike lanes finally over?

Perhaps not quite yet, but the editorial took the view that bike lanes had “grown from political flashpoints – and ideological signifiers – to standard-issue civic infrastructure”.

It added: “The arguments over bike lanes are settled. They’re becoming what they should have long been: an ordinary way of getting around our cities.”

This level of incoherence from the right is the reason why any notion of having a civilised debate on the issue and reaching consensus has little if any chance.

The other recent announcement by Auckland Council is the Auckland Cycling and Micromobility Programme Business Case which this week was considered by Council.  The proposal is to work out what infrastructure would be needed to increase cycling’s share of all trips in Auckland to 7%.

The Herald in covering this issue showed there are two types of stories that it publishes.

One, by Bernard Orsman, was rather sensationalist.

His article said this:

Transport planners want to nearly double Auckland’s cycle network, make bike training compulsory in schools and scrap teachers’ parking in a controversial $2 billion cycling scheme.

Proponents say the plan is essential to ensure Auckland becomes a more liveable city for residents but opponents are predicting ‘outrage’ amid warnings of more congestion if cycleways take over more car lanes.

The ambitious proposal also seeks to abolish tax deductions for company cars and introduce public subsidies for people to buy bikes, the Herald understands.

While $306 million has so far been allocated, planners are seeking political support for a further $1.7b, plus law changes to increase cycling’s share of the transport system and do so safely.

National MP Simeon Brown was gifted the headline by using that go to word for tired conservatives, “Outraged”.

He should read the actual agenda item before tweeting.  Because it was about the best use of the $306 million that all councillors had previously agreed to although it did note the significant increase in funding required if Council is to meet its greenhouse gas emissions target.

And talking about value for money the various cycleway projects are said to have a benefit cost ratio of 2 to 3.4 which is really, really good.

By comparison some of the road projects that National has supported have these BCRs:

  • East West Highway in Auckland – 0.96.
  • Transmission Gully – 0.6.
  • Puhoi to Warkworth – 1.2.

The alternative article was written by Simon Wilson.  He said this about the Orsman article:

… this paper reported yesterday that there would be “outrage” at an Auckland Transport proposal to spend more money on bike lanes. Turned out the “outrage” was expressed only by the National Party’s transport spokesperson, Simeon Brown. Even the AA, traditionally a staunch defender of the interests of drivers, made it clear they were in general agreement.

The AA gets it. We can’t keep adding more roads in the belief that will lower emissions, or help with road safety, or ease congestion. It does the reverse: more roads and more parking leads to more driving, and that makes emissions, road safety and congestion worse.

What we have to do is reduce our dependence on cars.

So here’s a goal. Let’s make it safe and desirable for kids to walk and cycle to school. Is there anything outrageous about that?

The politics is interesting.  Clearly some think that opposition to cycleways is an election result enhancing thing to do.  But from this week’s local government election results in the UK it appears that anti cycleway candidates did not do so well.  From the Guardian:

Elsewhere, in one of the more niche if most bitterly contested subplots of the local elections, candidates who explicitly opposed the schemes known as low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) appeared to fare badly.

LTNs, which seek to encourage cycling and walking by using filters or bollards to block through traffic on some smaller residential streets, while allowing pedestrians and cyclists to pass, have proved a divisive innovation in a series of areas including London, Oxford and Birmingham.

A series of dedicated anti-LTN independent candidates stood, while in some places, notably in a series of London boroughs, Conservative and even Lib Dem candidates promised to remove them.

No anti-LTN independents won in Friday’s results, although one, standing in Oxford, finished a reasonably close second to Labour. Campaigners’ hopes to unseat pro-LTN Labour candidates in London boroughs like Southwark came to nothing. One potential exception was Enfield, another hotbed of the debate, where the Tories gained eight seats from Labour.

The opposition to cycling infrastructure generally has a major problem.  They present no alternative showing how we are going to get to carbon neutrality.  Instead there is a yearning for the status quo to prevail when clearly this is no longer an option.

Hopefully this year’s Central Government budget will provide sufficient funding so that Auckland’s Cycling and Micromobility Programme Business Case can be fully implemented.  And this year’s elections results in politicians committed to improving the region’s cycleways being elected.

Reprinted from Gregpresland.com

53 comments on “The politics of opposition to cycleways ”

  1. Ad 1

    Who is standing in Whau against that nitwit Mulholland?

    No doubt she'll turn up for the opening of the New Lynn-Avonde cycleway like the hypocrite she is.

  2. Sacha 2

    This level of incoherence from the right is the reason why any notion of having a civilised debate on the issue and reaching consensus has little if any chance.

    Sometimes leaders cannot wait for everyone to catch up. Less 'consultation' about stuff that has to be done regardless of whining.

  3. Incognito 3

    The debate is now over.

    I don’t think so. It has become a dirty drawn-out war in muddy trenches where little progress is being made, which seems to be the plan of attack of one side: stall, stall, stall. The ‘debate’ has moved or should be moving into a much more difficult stage, which is about action, real genuine and meaningful action, about what needs to be done, when does it need to be done by (i.e. how fast), and, most importantly for the Right, who pays or rather who will be exempt and won’t have to pay (as much).

    The Right’s tactic seems to be to stalling through fear-mongering. They employ ‘actions’ such as shouting fire!! in a movie theatre when there’s one lonely cyclist on-screen to interrupt the viewing of the film and unsettle the movie-goers.

    As you say, Micky, the Right’s alternative is status quo and BAU and stall, stall, stall. They’re worse than dinosaurs with their heads in the sand or mud because dinosaurs had small under-evolved reptile brains.

  4. Reality 4

    The problem with all the promoters of cycling is they overlook that the majority of people do not ride bicycles for all sorts of reasons. But the promoters assume they can get a majority of people to ride bikes. Older people are not going to ride a bicycle to the supermarket and hurl their shopping onto the bike, on windy, wet days, or even fine days. Mothers with young children, and baby gear bags, will not. Parents taking children to school some distance away, no. People getting to work – maybe a smallish number. A bike lane was put into central Lower Hutt at the cost of millions. Maybe one cyclist will be seen when driving on that route.

    • Incognito 4.1

      The problem is that you’ve created a bunch of strawmen. For example, you may want to have a look at the Investment objectives in this report (pg. 40; http://iportal.huttcity.govt.nz/Record/ReadOnly?Tab=3&Uri=5965590) and possibly adjust your perceptions in accordance with facts rather than lazy reckons and beliefs.

      • Belladonna 4.1.1

        A big part of the difficulty in convincing cycleway sceptics – is that we don't see the current suburban cycle infrastructure (installed at an eye-watering cost and inconvenience – not just to motorists, but to all road users) – actually being used in anything like the numbers that the cycleway proponents airily fling about.

        Yes there have been some wins. The cycleway running beside (but separated from) the NorthWestern motorway in Auckland is (I understand – I don't actually live out that way) fairly well-used.

        But the ones that have been installed locally, are not. The very, very few cyclists that I see on the roads travel either with the cars (the confident lycra brigade) or on the footpaths; not on the expensively retro-fitted cycleways.

        And one (at least) is virtually never used, because it is a literal death trap. Council installed the cycleway between the footpath and parked cars – it's impossible to see cyclists (assuming any were so foolish as to use it) when turning into side-streets.
        It's also a road to nowhere: leads to an infrequent and often cancelled ferry service – and the mirage of the cycle-bridge-that-never-was.

        The mantra that we just need to connect up the cycleways is running a bit thin, now.

        If one of the biggest intended uses is for local (less than 2K trips) – the infrastructure is already there – it's just that no one (proportionally speaking) is using it.

        And, in my area, I know exactly why. It's all hills. And most people don't have ebikes – and are unwilling to invest in the substantial cost on the speculation that they might use them. Committed cyclists would (and presumably do) – but regular folks …. not so much.

        • lprent

          I live around hills and a lot of commuter cycling. Newton gully, upper Queen Street , Mount Eden, and K Road. It is all hills. On the cycleways and roads most bikes are now ebikes. The median age of cyclists are rising rapidly.

          I'd expect that thre is a growing market in second hand ebikes as well. Outside of having to get puncture proof tires in Auckland, they seem indestructable.

          The lithium batteries don't seem to wear out either. I'm now over 5000km, and the battery capacity has only dropped by less than 5%. Which since I weigh about 120kgs and usually carry another 15-20kgs in gear is pretty good going.

          I want to shift to a step thru because swinging my leg over with a pack on my back in the morning is getting tiresome. Plus the weight is too far back and I get front wheel lift.

          Means I will want to flog off my e-urban… I suspect that a lot of ebikers will wind up upgrading over the next couple of years.

        • Incognito

          A few facts from the Hutt City cycling report I linked to above.

          Approx. 30% of the population are unwilling or unable to cycle (pg. 111).

          There’s a so-called Quick Wins package that is prioritised.

          All projects undergo in-depth economic evaluation including sensitivity testing, e.g., recalibrating new cyclists based on observed data, which means the estimated number of existing cyclists using the buffer method was compared to the observed number of existing cyclists using 2018 census data (pg. 89-90). This has minimal effect on the BCR.

          Road gradient (slope steepness in degrees) is factored in (pg. 26-27).

          I realise that planners may be on par with politicians but they’re really not all that stupid.

    • lprent 4.2

      Reality you are not. Stupid is a better name because you seem to fixate on stupid stereotypes and old technologies.

      I don't do the shopping with my bike. Supermarkets have lots of parking for cars and bugger all for bikes.

      So I use the car when I shop once a week as part of my household chores. I also do the cooking. Between cooking and work I don't get time to shop during the week. But most weeks that weekly shop is the only time that I will use a car.

      But like most people who ride bikes, I ride my ebike between home and my workplace 5 days per week. I carry a backpack of computer gear, occasionally a saddlebag of clothes if the weather has been shite.

      This is called "commuting". It appears to be a new concept for your stifled view of the world. Where I live there are a lot of commuters who use bikes or walk. It means that you don't have to find and pay for parking and is usually faster than driving. Most cycling these days is as a commuter.

      Riding a bike isn't hard with a ebike. Even the elderky do it. I am nearly 63. Been commuting for 5 years with my ebike. My 83yo father uses his ebike for trips around his town. We use the cycle paths, because who in the hell wants to deal with car drivers either driving poorly or in parked cars with their apparent inability to look in wing mirrors before opening doors.

      If store keepers want car parking for their customers then they should pay for it. Just like supermarkets do. If they want the councils to provide it, then they should pay the council the full cost of providing it. There are better uses of expensive roadways and rates than providing cheap parking for shopkeepers.

    • Ben 4.3

      Gonna leave this set of bingo cards here for ya


    • Sacha 4.4

      "the promoters assume they can get a majority of people to ride bikes."

      Where did you get that idea?

      If the stated target is 7% of commutes, by definition 93% of those trips use other methods.

      Local trips less than 5km might increase a lot but nobody has ever said they expect anything near 100%.

      Other cities around the world manage this stuff. We are not special.

  5. AB 5

    One of the reason cycleways attract such opposition from the right is that cyclists can be made into culture war targets in a way that wedges and fractures unity on the left. Cyclists are portrayed as affluent middle-class types on their pricey e-bikes going to cushy CBD jobs where they pontificate uselessly in meetings – in contrast to working class battlers doing multiple, complicated cross-town journeys in their old ICE dunger cars, and heroic small business people putting their savings on the line to 'get ahead'. Like all stereotypes there is a sufficient grain of truth for it to resonate emotionally. It's bad political management to walk into this trap.

    Secondly – and more concerningly – what if cities don't really have a future? Cities are great if you have surplus money to spend on what they offer – and particularly if you are young as well. But housing costs are so high that many of the young won't be able to buy houses or afford rents without enormous sacrifices that soak up vast amounts of their income and put all the enjoyable things about cities out of reach.

    They will postpone having children, and many women on their late 30's will find they can't have children without throwing yet more vast sums of money to private IVF clinics – which themselves are part of just another extractive cartel. If you can't afford the good stuff about cities, you are just left with the crowding, the pollution, the congestion, the ugliness, the lack of community and the alienation. Why not bugger off somewhere out of the city and work remotely with an occasional commute?

    Add to that 4 degrees of warming and sea level rise – will the infrastructure of cities actually work any more? Are you more likely to need a Hummer to get to work than a bike? And will there actually be those cool CBD jobs that you can ride your e-bike to? There's a chance that all the emotional investment in cycling and PT is about solving problems that were important 50-60 years ago, not the ones we are really going to face.

    • Sacha 5.1

      Low-wage economies do not work, sure. Nor ones where housing has been turned into an investment class.

  6. Mike the Lefty 6

    Cycleways outside of cities are generally accepted as a good idea but as soon as you want to put them inside cities they become a polarising issue.

    They mean less car parks. And as everyone on this blog knows as soon as you start taking up car parks this is a challenge to the long held status of the motor car being king. The Kiwi lifestyle is now absolutely inextricable from the car so it is also viewed by many as a direct challenge to the Kiwi idea of freedom – like some viewed the COVID mandates. Take away my right to drive and park my car when and where I like and you are interfering with my freedom!

    But it isn't only the right that hate cycleways. Over on The Daily Blog it is rare for a day to go by without Martin Bradbury pouring scorn on cycleways which he apparently thinks are all devised by "lycra-clad middle-class Marxists".

    • Incognito 6.1

      Car parking is not a freedom and in most cases you have to pay for it. (NB In European cities you have to pay for parking your car in front of your home). The right to drive is not an (absolute) freedom either, e.g., many city streets are one-way and some bus-lanes are off-limit. To view it is a freedom and thus (!) as a right is the view of the entitled self-righteous not wanting to give up their luxury convenience. Those same people who want to drive and park right in front of the door of their expensive gym to jump on a treadmill or stationary bike trainer and who give real cyclists the finger on the road. Go figure.

      • Mike the Lefty 6.1.1

        Yes, we actually have to pay for our "freedom" – it comes in the form of responsibilities, but some people don't want to know about that, like the rabble in parliament grounds in February.

        • Incognito

          Agreed. Freedom doesn’t mean it’s free as in gratis and free of cost.

    • Ad 6.2

      Auckland Council and the government chugged $5b into downtown Auckland over the last 7 years and still it's on life support. The new cycleways didn't make a difference.

      First Mayoral candidate to make car parking free for a month will win and also bring the heart back to Auckland and the retail and hospitality it used to be good at.

      • Poission 6.2.1

        there would be a lot of fair weather sailors in AK where it rains every second day,the stats seem to show a sunset industry.


        Sort of like the AK cbd with 12% commercial space (and growing) available.

      • lprent 6.2.2

        The CBD in Auckland has been a useless blackhole to be avoided ever since I was a adolescent. The North Western motorway pretty well killed K Rd and the rest never recovered.

        There was a mild revival of the party central down around the viaduct. But that was mostly out of towners, central after workers, and tourists.

        Got killed by covid-19 but was faltering before that. There are only so many times you could go downtown with stale venues and getting stiffed for parking or fares. Free parking won't help. There has been a persistent parking capacity problem even on weekends…

  7. And bang on cue, the right prove they are incapable of learning and/or recognising that there is such a thing as climate change:

    The Natz candidate for Tauranga plans to prioritise 'roads!'


    • Ad 7.1

      Been to Tauranga recently?

      Driving there is intestinal.

      National has a point.

  8. Reality 8

    Incognito, myself and likely many others will not be reading pages and pages of local body plans because of the complexity of the wording which is far beyond the comprehension of most, I suspect. You say I have "lazy reckons and beliefs"! I know what I see when I drive several times a week past this cycle way and cyclists are few and far between, even though it is on the flat. Should I be catching a bus? Well given I have a couple of mobility issues it would not be easy to walk 10-12 minutes to get the bus. So please be tolerant of those who depend on their car who for all sorts of reasons are not ever going to get on a bike.

    • Incognito 8.1

      Lazy wilful ignorance ≠ bliss

      I’ve made it easier for others and you by pointing out the exact page in the report, but you cannot make a horse drink after you’ve led it to water. I could have copied & pasted from the report, but it would still be futile, most likely.

      So, please stick with your reckons & beliefs, your anecdotal ‘evidence’ that is self-limited, and your apparent conviction that if it doesn’t apply to you, because you say so, it should not or cannot apply to anybody or to all.

      You ask me to be tolerant of your dependence on car use. This is another strawman because I never denied you your car nor did I ever suggest you must start cycling (or take the bus). When I reply to you it’s not necessarily all about you; don’t make it personal when it is obviously not – the report wasn’t about you either although you seem to have formed a very strong personalised opinion about it, without even reading it.

      Are you sure you’re using the most appropriate alias here? Perhaps change it to Speaking for myself only.

    • Ad 8.2

      New Zealand is and will remain one of the most car dependent countries on the planet, with a median of nearly 3 cars per household.

      There are only two local governments in New Zealand in which cycling will feature in the local elections coming up: Auckland and Wellington. Both of them will be against cycling because old people vote and old people don't cycle.

      There are otherwise few towns who have successfully made cycling part of ordinary life: Palmerston North and Napier. The most used cycleway in Palmerston North is to the university, by offroad route over the river and through dairy paddocks.

      $3 a litre of 91 octane when public transport is half price is surely the test of whether there's any truth to the travel elasticity promoted in those business cases.

      Cycling is the electoral equivalent of Marmite.

      • William 8.2.1

        I gained my Goldcard three years ago so I probably qualify as old. I do my supermarket shopping by bike, there's a front carrier with plastic crate, and panniers on the back. This contradicts the claim by Reality & yourself about old people.

        "Auckland and Wellington. Both of them will be against cycling because old people vote and old people don't cycle. "

        I think you might be surprised. I live in Wellington in Island Bay, location of the infamous cycle lanes. That is in the WCC Southern Ward which has had two local body elections since the lanes were installed. Both elections have returned councilors strongly supportive of cycling, both here and in other wards, hence the current expansion plans for Wellington being implemented.

        This has also been reflected in the Island Bay Residents Association, which was formed in response to the cycle lanes issue, who held their AGM in March. This resulted in most of the anti cycleway fogies being voted off the committee and a motion passed that requires the association to take a neutral stance on the cycleway.

    • lprent 8.4

      One of the problems looking at cycleways to see traffic is that it moves – unlike cars.

      On most cycleways the bikes run at about 20-25km per hour with few stops, and with a small profile target. Unlike oversized cars with a single driver around town or on the motorways, which are often parked at lights or in jams.

      It is only the people who are on dedicated dualway cyclepaths seeing cyclists going the other way or pedestrians on shared pathways who get an idea of how many cyclists there are. Or the counters.

      That is because car drivers are usually completely blind to cyclists (and motercyclists). Shopkeepers aren't much better observers – because cyclists flick past their view line in seconds.

      That is particularly the case because the dedicated cycle ways are where the cyclist traffic is. They are far safer for cyclists.

  9. Reality 9

    Well Incognito – seems to me you yourself are exactly what you accuse me of – someone who speaks for yourself only. Someone who has very limited regard for other points of view.

    By all means those who can comfortably ride a bike as they go about their day should do so. But having seen the hundreds of thousands of cyclists in Amsterdam (with their flat, wide bicycle lanes, no howling southerlies/northerlies, no hilly winding dangerous roads), I doubt this can ever be replicated in Wellington.

    • Incognito 9.1

      More strawmen. Who ever suggested that Wellington should replicate Amsterdam in terms of cycling infrastructure and cycle use, except you?

      I don’t have much regard for folks who only erect strawmen to suit their narrative, that’s true.

    • lprent 9.3

      Wellington didn't seem to have cycleways last time I was there (about 2014). And not along commuter routes. But it did have a train sytem that worked. That appeared to be heavily patronised.

      Perhaps you have to have a working system before you see traffic on a transport system? Seems obvious to point that out. But since you don't seem to see the bloody obvious 🙄 ….

      Cycling in Auckland didn't start rising until they started to put dedicated cycleways along commuter routes.

      Just as car driving doesn't increase until roadways are put in. Or bus travel doesn't increase until you put in dedicate buslanes like the northern busway…

      You really are a bit dumb.

  10. Reality 10

    Lprent – you bandy around the word "stupid". Not surprised at your response – plenty of history there. Now surely being such a cycling devotee you could manage to cart home your supermarket shopping on your bike – come on, give it a go!

    • Incognito 10.1

      Never heard of bicycle bags or baskets? You think it’s impossible to cycle to the dairy, buy a bottle of milk, and cycle back home? You’ve just erected another strawman. Perhaps next comment you’ll ask how house movers (as in house transporters) can do their job on an e-bike. How did they ever build the pyramids or Stonehenge?

    • lprent 10.2

      Ah as I keep pointing out, you appear to have a problem connecting the points through.

      I have done the shopping with a bike for small loads like milk or bread. But not weekly shopping. The reason should be pretty obvious.

      Even with just two adults and a cat, I wind up with 4 full large cotton bags of shopping. In total this is somewhere between 35-50kgs in weight depending on the amount of liquids.

      Apart from only having 2 saddlebags and not being able to fit the weekly shop into it. With my 120kgs on bike it well exceeds the weight limits on the bike – especially those onnthe tires. Not to mention being bloody dangerous to ride in traffic.

      I could shop multiple times per week. But I start work at 0800 and I work late most days. My first duty is to cook starting between 1800 and 1900.

      Plus of course there are bugger all lockups at the supermarket. At prime time after work there is nowhere available to lockup the bike.

      Now most of that information was in.my comment. The reason that you get the stupid label from me is because you tend to write without thought. Like thinking about the comment or post you are responding to. This is a pretty good example of why I use that label for you.

  11. Binders full of women 11

    I bike 3 days a week. I am white & middle income, middle age. Every cyclist I see is like me. The other half of town are busy driving, cos more kids and unsafe biking hours to work and bikes are an unwanted luxury. Kinda like how the poor suburbs never vote Green. A lot of 'green' initiatives appeal to the rich, not low income shift workers.

    • lprent 11.1

      I would agree with that as a general description of the current state.

      But it is also because people in most parts of Auckland don't live in areas that are even remotely safe for cycling.

      I stopped biking when I moved back to Auckland in 1990. The traffic density had doubled over the decade. The hills were a problem with cars trying to tailgate or pass dangerously. Over that decade in Auckland, kids largely stopped biking to school mainly for the same reason.

      Now I am cycling again. Having cycle paths make it less dangerous. The bikes are better. Things are different. Your argument is thw dimwitted conservative one that says people can't change even if you change the environment.

      Obviously this is just false. Things like the Northern Busway in Auckland were called "White Elephants" when they opened because people from the North Shore would never get out of their cars. But they did – in droves. Vehicles going over the bridge have stagnated, as bus traffic increased.

      So much so that decades and a massive population increase later – the only reason we need a new harbour crossing is not because of lack of capacity – but because the bridge is getting too old to maintain. It can't handle the increased truck weights.

      Cycleways appear to be the same. Build them and expect to get a steadily increaaibg traffic on them regardless where they go – moving people off the roads.

      Build roads and they just fill up with bigger cars with the economic wastage of single occupants and heavier trucks.

      Build more effective transport modes and people will dtart to use those. But you have to build them before you can find out. Building a busway or a cycleway costs a fraction of what a general purpose roadway designd to carry trucks does. It is cheaper to build those.and find out if they get used than building any roadway.

      • RedLogix 11.1.1

        NZ really has missed the bus on this. Australian cities like Brisbane have invested in an extensive network.

        For instance I can travel to work – a distance of about 16km – by e-bike most days. The first 4km via bike paths through forested park, and across a mangrove creek – to an urban electric rail station – 20 min on the train – then 1km along a road with a dedicated and wide bike path, then the final 2km through more bike paths in the park under the Gateway Bridge – all crossing only one busy road just the once.

        In many places it is quite impressive just how much has been built at real scale.

  12. Incognito 12

    It never stops to amaze me that whenever you write about cycling, cycle lanes, or cycle bridges (God forbid!) it brings out all those cranky old bikes with rusty chains, flat tyres, and rubbing brakes. It seems we’ll all go to Hell on a bike.

  13. Reality 13

    Well Lprent, lots of excuses from you there. I am surprised. However, you have your reasons for your decisions and I have mine, but I do not call you stupid. I simply am of the belief that cycling is not possible or desirable for many people and that does not make them stupid, irresponsible citizens.

    • Incognito 13.1

      I simply am of the belief that cycling is not possible or desirable for many people and that does not make them stupid, irresponsible citizens.

      And your belief is inconsistent with reality. Only approx. 30% of the population are unwilling or unable to cycle (pg. 111 of the Hutt City cycling report).

      What would you call it when somebody clings on to an obviously false belief?

      BTW, please learn how to use the reply function here.

      • Reality 13.1.1

        If, as you maintain, 70 per cent of Hutt citizens are keen to cycle, I am perplexed as to where they are, and why they are not seen. Just where are the thousands of these cyclists that you believe are itching to hop on their bikes. When I see them out on the roads in great numbers I will change my belief that cycling is taken up by a very small number of people. Seeing is believing. Until then, it's a wish list from some rather intolerant cycling devotees.

        • Ben

          They're called 'interested but concerned'. You don't see them because they spend their weekdays in cheap cars, and their weekends on the Hutt River Trail.

          The Hutt Valley is so flat, yet so hostile to everyday cycling, and that is what will and has to change.

        • Incognito

          Are you for real, Reality? You can check for yourself, on pg. 111 and the table is very easy to understand.

          Research published by the Journal of the Transportation Research Board in 2014 19 found that willingness to cycle can be broken down into one of four categories relating to the type of infrastructure required before someone is willing to give cycling a go.

          Make of that what you will but please don’t let an inconvenient fact get in the way of your beliefs. Hold on to them dearly but without becoming an intolerant delusional denialist.

        • Sacha

          I will build a bridge once I see plenty of people swimming across.

  14. Reality 14

    Incognito this discussion really has become petty and childish and while I have a different viewpoint to yourself and Lprent, I have not been rude in my responses as you have both been.

    "Intolerant, delusional denialist" – perhaps it takes one to know one!

    Sadly The Standard is not the site it once was. Ideas can be contested but surely not with rudeness and insults.

    • Incognito 14.1

      Sadly, some people think they’re contesting ideas while in fact they’re arguing with facts.

    • lprent 14.2

      The problem is that your arguments tend to be assertive, anecdotes, and often complete crap. They are easily refuted by anyone with actual experience. But you seldom answer any points made in response or engage with replies.

      The most effective way to get you to engage is to point this out with similar anedotes, experience or just plain facts – while also rudely expressing our opinion about your inepititude. This is encourages robust debate, and discourages your usual tendency to try to avoid owning your own opinion and defending it.

      You do want to defend your statements and opinions in robust debate – don't you? Not just piss on the fence and run away like puppy..

  15. Reality 15

    How unpleasant, aggressive and intolerant some people are, who choose to attack and name-call rather than discuss an issue. How fortunate those of us are who don't have those people to deal with in their daily lives.

  16. DB Brown 16

    Some people see cycling as a threat to the perception of their own testicular endowment. When the only tool you've got is a microscope…

    According to AKL transport the introduction of half price fares has seen usage trends:

    Buses up 50%

    Trains up 66%

    Ferries up 78%

    As a rule people aren't THAT in love with their cars, given decent options they will and can change. Even, heaven forbid, to cycling.

    Cycling into the city for uni was downright dangerous back around 2010 when I attempted it. Symond St on a wet morning, sun in your eyes and bouncing off the road and buildings and the fucking buses pulling in and out of the lane you shared with them… After a couple of near misses I opted to walk.

    It seemed crazy that it was so hard. You were either on a crowded footpath endangering people, or on a road being endangered.

    More cycleways, please.

  17. Christopher Randal 17

    "They present no alternative showing how we are going to get to carbon neutrality. Instead there is a yearning for the status quo to prevail when clearly this is no longer an option."

    But how many "real people" actually believe this?

    Do Joe and his wife from South Auckland think that this is a problem when they are driving to/from/between their 7 or 8 cleaning jobs kilometres apart in what is an increasingly vain attempt to keep their families housed/fed/alive?

    I'd love to see an opinion poll on this subject, without the political and activist BS.

    • William 17.1

      I suggest that 'Joe and his wife' (doesn't she have a name?) aren't part of "The opposition to cycling infrastructure" which was clearly the target of the sentence you quoted. They'd likely be overjoyed to have jobs that paid well enough to live on that were close to where they live, close enough to get there by riding a bike even.

      The physics/chemistry that govern climate don't give a fig about your whataboutism, or the results of opinion polls.

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