Guest Post: NZ cyclists are p’ing in the ocean

A guest post by a reader:

It might make the cyclists feel warm but we know it is useless in terms of impact.

After a spend over 10 years of $640 million on specifically, and presumably a good share of another $1140 Million from local transport and road safety budgets, and “in addition to the dedicated bikeway funding, ATAP is jammed full of benefits for cycling in many other areas”, Bike Auckland claims :

“The aim: to raise biking from the Auckland-wide average mode share of 1% to 5% by the end of the ten-year programme. (Note: the central suburbs were already knocking on 4% at the last census; so if the average citywide mode share including even the far-flung rural areas hits 5%, you can be sure the core areas will have much higher rates of everyday biking).”

5% ? Pfffft.

Its simply a statement of hope based on self-delusion. And they have 10 years to make up more excuses and change the goal post when the aim is not met.

Let us look at the claim in a bit more detail.

The first and important thing is to look at real actual numbers from the last Census 2013 for Mode of Travel to Work statistics :

Total stated for Auckland local board areas (3)

Car                  364,257

Bus and train   36,978

Active mode    28,491 (cycling hidden here)

Other                6,486

That is 436,000 commuters across the whole of Greater Auckland area, and cycling at 1.5% of total is only about 6,500 cyclists. Even if the cyclists wildest pipe dream of 5% is reached in 10 years it will mean only 22,000 cyclists. So to increase cyclist numbers by about 15,300 taxpayers and rate payers are going to spend $640M + say 114M (10% of other transport and safety spending). That is $754M / 15,300 cyclists and works out to about $50,000 per extra cyclist. Excessive spend on a maybe 5% minority don’t you think?

Worse is no one, ever has or seem to want to, calculate the external costs the Auckland cycling plan imposes on the 95% of the people caused by the reduction in road lanes, various speed reduction measures, and huge loss of parking. The cost for the 95% due to increased use of fuel and loss of productive time due to longer commutes, the consequent cost of the environmental cost of increase in emissions, and the unavoidable cost of finding alternate private parking.

Bike Auckland claim of “Central suburbs knocking on 4% at last census” is a stretching of the truth (or a bombastic lie). Another Bike Auckland post states :

“A nice and very responsive staffer at Auckland Council provided some extra breakdowns of the cycling numbers when we asked about averages:

Auckland Region: Bicycle 2006: 1.01% Bicycle 2013: 1.22%

Legacy (circa 2009) Auckland City Council Area: Bicycle 2006: 1.55% Bicycle 2013: 2.00%”

This same post says “The greatest cycling percentage however is in Whenuapai West (over 10%) – but the more typical “high mode share” suburb in Auckland would be a place like Pt Chevalier South (official census name, actually the area is better described as “Mt Albert North”) or Narrow Neck on the Shore, both with 4.5% cycle mode share.

So one suburb in the city proper makes it to 4%. That does not make it “central suburbs” does it? What follows in the article is excuses and whinging about why uptake is generally low in central suburbs. By all means go and follow the interactive graphics link provided in the post if you know the Auckland suburbs in detail.

Cycling is huge a con job being perpetrated on the majority of tax payers and ratepayers by a small number of vocal cycling zealots. Unthinking, virtue signaling politicians at both the national and local level politics are falling for it.

Politicians would be better off spending most of this money on the 95% by making it efficient for the majority to get from point A to B. The benefits of providing expensive infrastructure for the few, that cycling delivers, is far outweighed by the economic benefits to the 95% majority in terms of time, money, efficiency for businesses and improvements to the environment.

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