Christchurch Cycling

November 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reported:

The Government’s transport plan for is being hailed as another big boost for in the city.

Keith Turner, chairman of the cycling advocacy group Spokes Canterbury, said the cycleway initiatives could put Christchurch on a par with bustling cities like Copenhagen.

Earlier this year the Christchurch City Council agreed to invest nearly $70 million on creating a new network of suburban cycleways.

Now the Government has confirmed plans to turn the new central business district into a cycle-friendly area by slowing down traffic and building separate cycle paths where possible.

“It is everything we hoped for and everything that people were asking for as part of the Have a Say campaign,” Turner said.

Under the government plan released on Wednesday, key cycling routes will be prioritised for cycling and some paths will be for cyclists only.

Christchurch is such a flat city, that it is made for cycling. In Wellington cycling to and from work can be a form of Russian Roulette!

Would be good to see Wellington City Council do what it can to make Wellington a safer city for cycling.

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24 Responses to “Christchurch Cycling”

  1. kowtow (8,475 comments) says:

    …….on a par with Copenhagen……get real! Advocates talk such crap.

    It’s flat now ,so why aren’t more people cycling anyway? Cos they don’t want to and won’t want to.We like the comfort and convenience of our cars ,and why not? Petrol is relatively cheap,no need for insurance and compared to the Danes I’d bet veh taxes here are very cheap (just guessing).

    No amount of tax payer money is going to make the masses take to bikes……another green pipe dream paid for by the long suffering taxpayer.

    ps spending money on dream projects is not “investing”.

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  2. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Would be good to see Wellington City Council do what it can to make Wellington a safer city for cycling.

    Considering that between the ferry terminal and the Mt Vic tunnel there is about 4 acres of flat land , what would you have them do?

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  3. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    only 70 mill? cheap as lol

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  4. freedom101 (504 comments) says:

    Wellington is a car, bus and train city. Fine if you live 1km from the CBD, but beyond that, forget it. Out of 365 days, probably only 200-250 are suitable for cycling. 70-80 days would be positively dangerous due to weather. The roads are narrow, and it’s almost impossible to retrofit cycling lanes etc to the existing infrastructure. Then you have the hills …. again, fine if you are in your 20s or 30s, and have showering facilities at work, but this is pretty niche stuff.

    Christchurch is another matter. Much better, and with cycling routes and lanes, and if there are showers available at work, then it’s a goer.

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  5. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    My neighbour is firmly of the opinion that mountain biking is many times safer than road cycling in Wellington.

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  6. hj (7,021 comments) says:

    One reason more people don’t cycle in CHc is habit, but another is danger. You are much more likely to have a near death experience that in a car. Things like cycling have to reach a critical mass.

    Christchurch – mostly flat – was nicknamed ‘Cyclopolis’ in the early 20th century. In 1924 the city council’s motor inspector estimated that there were 40,000 cyclists in the city – half the population. A 1936 traffic census found 11,335 cyclists passed one corner of Cathedral Square between 8 a.m. and 5.30 p.m., a rate of 19 per minute. Christchurch was home to 50,000 of the 250,000 cycles in New Zealand in the late 1930s.

    Cycling booms and declines

    Cycling took off in the early 20th century. By the late 1930s, New Zealand had one bicycle for every six people. From 1900 to 1950, nearly 800,000 bicycles were imported and many thousands more were manufactured locally. Learning to ride a bike was part of growing up in New Zealand. As car ownership increased in the 1950s cycling began to decline in popularity.

    Cycling accidents

    Road accidents for cyclists increased alarmingly in the 1920s with the rapid growth in the number of cars. Between 1932 and 1950 motor vehicles killed 449 cyclists. From 2000 to 2006, 10 cyclists were killed, and 750 were injured every year.

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/23420/christchurch-the-cycling-city

    I think a city that had biking lanes from (say) the center to Sumner /Brighton etc would be a hit with tourists.

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  7. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    The same things that make Christchurch good for cycling also make it good for cars. Wide streets, flat city, spread out CBD. Bikes should complement, not replace, cars.

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  8. hj (7,021 comments) says:

    Safe cycle ways are built -in welfare as people aren’t required to run a car and there are savings in health costs.

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  9. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    Chch is also seasonal. It gets ice in winter, southerly squalls, not ideal for cycling. And frankly, our roads are so bad at the moment, you’d have to have a mountain bike, minimum.

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  10. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    This is great news for Christchurch as there’s enough room for cars and bikes on Christchurch streets

    Someone once observed that cars make you fat and burn money, while bicycles burn fat and save you money.

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  11. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    Would be good to see Wellington City Council do what it can to make Wellington a safer city for cycling.

    You could start by taking all of ChCh’s roadlice – they know their rights!

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  12. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    $70 million?

    Cost per trip?

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  13. Fentex (974 comments) says:

    I grew up in Christchurch and as a kid cycled everywhere. Recently when my car was at the panel beaters for a couple of days I was back on my bike and it isn’t a lot of fun.

    Especially since the earthquakes shifted people and traffic over to my side of the city our roads are too crowded for bikes and cars together and it’s much more dangerous than it’s ever been to cycle.

    On the day I went to get my car I started on the opposite side of the city to the panel beaters and had to cycle quite some way. Early on the trip I suddenly remembered I was going to cross a railway that had a cycle way built along it and was able to get away from traffic on that.

    It was wonderful – away from traffic, on smoother seal, cycling was a joy and I traveled quite a long way in bliss.
    Cities built with purposeful cycle ways would please drivers for keeping bikes out of their way, keep people safer, enable more cheap and healthy travel.

    However putting a lot of effort into keeping cars out of the central city doesn’t do this – Christchurch’s city center, apart from excellent remodeled night clubs and bars sadly lost to the quakes was dead. Ringed by large malls and bulk retailers getting to our city center is bothersome and awkward and making it a nicer place isn’t going to make that any different.

    To make it worthwhile people need to live in city centers and NZ doesn’t have the population density or culture of apartment living that pays for that.

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  14. jedmo (33 comments) says:

    Last time I was in Welly, I could not believe that the cycle path from Petone to Wellington city, didn’t start til about a km along the motorway from the Petone overbridge. What a joke

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  15. Michael (909 comments) says:

    @Jedmo – Then the cyclists don’t use the path because it’s a joke as well. All the debris from cars end up in it, creating puncture hazards. The surface is uneven and desperately overdue for a full resurface. And then when there is more than 2mm of rain it floods.

    It should be removed and the highway widened to fit an extra lane in, with a proper cycleway on both sides. But it’s not designated a Highway of National Significance despite the population of the Hutt Valley (145,000) being almost twice that of Kapiti (50,000) and Horowhenua (30,000).

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  16. Richard Hurst (859 comments) says:

    If you want to commit suicide or would like some new scars or feel the need to end up in a wheel chair then yes cycleing in Christchurch is a good option.

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  17. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    cycle-friendly area by slowing down traffic

    There is ya problem !

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  18. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Cycle ways are helpful for limiting the damage caused by road lice infestations. What concerns me is, who pays for it all ? Cyclists cost the country a fortune, yet are able to clog our roads without paying any registration or demonstrating any knowledge of the road rules.

    The rest of society does not owe road lice a state sponsored play ground, nor is it appropriate for them to play on the road. The idea of slowing down our transport system, to please cyclists, is absurd.

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  19. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Christchurch city is only about 20km wide along its widest axis from west to east.

    Where does $70 million go? It sounds like an impressive $/kilometre rate!

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  20. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Kea;

    Get over yourself, my petrol tax is contributing to the maintenance and upkeep of rural roads in Bumfuck, Western Southland 5666, that I’ll never use. There are downsides to living in a society, these are the cost of having things like customers and neighbours…

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  21. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    RRM, yes but roads are needed, cyclists are not. Most kiwi people cycle for recreation, not transport. They are not poor peasants and many ride bikes that cost serious money. Millions are being spent on playgrounds, not on transport.

    You are free to use the roads in, Bumfuck, Western Southland 5666, but careful of the “rape culture” down that way ;)

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  22. glenkoorey (3 comments) says:

    @ben: “$70 million? Cost per trip?”

    Well, currently there are about 45,000 bike trips a day in Chch x 365 days x 20 years (say) = 330 million trips.
    (source MoT Household Travel Surveys)

    Or about 21c per trip. Mind you, the point of the exercise is to significantly grow the cycle trip numbers, so probably the cost per trip will ultimately come down. And the calculated benefits/km for cycling are much higher; I’ve seen one estimate of the benefit/cost ratio for Chch’s cycleways as 6:1 (conservative because it assumed minimal growth).

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  23. glenkoorey (3 comments) says:

    @RRM: “Christchurch city is only about 20km wide along its widest axis from west to east.
    Where does $70 million go? It sounds like an impressive $/kilometre rate!”

    We have ~1500-2000km of roads in all of Chch, and at least 200km of them (main arterials) are not very friendly for cycling on at all. Separated cycleways or sufficiently good paths can easily be $100-200k / km (more if new kerbing is required); bridges and underpasses even more. Likewise a large number of intersections or crossings of busy roads require attention; these don’t come cheap if you start looking at signals or underpasses. Add on some network signage and $70m will get used quite easily. By comparison we’re probably going to be spending ~$2bn on roads in Chch over the next decade.

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  24. glenkoorey (3 comments) says:

    @Kea: “RRM, yes but roads are needed, cyclists are not. Most kiwi people cycle for recreation, not transport. They are not poor peasants and many ride bikes that cost serious money. Millions are being spent on playgrounds, not on transport.”

    A few facts: Only about 30% of cycling is for recreational purposes; most is just for getting from A to B (work, school, shops, etc); rather similar to the proportions for driving actually.

    2-3% of all trips in NZ are by bike, yet we spend <<1% of all transport funding on providing for cycling, despite the high benefit/cost ratio of this investment.

    And everyone contributes to cycleways through rates, general taxation, etc, including the 1 million+ people in NZ who currently ride bikes. See http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/benefits-of-cycling/mythbusting-cyclists-dont-pay/ for more details.

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