AT's efforts to encourage cycling - more to do, says group

March 21, 2024

AT's efforts to encourage cycling - more to do, says group

A bronze cycling lesson in progress. Photo: Auckland Transport

Watch: TWN's Bella Ireland took to a busy bike path to see what cyclists think

Auckland Transport have been offering free resources to cyclists, but an advocacy group says there is room for improvement.

AT wants to encourage people into the cycling culture said its sustainability mobility manager Cliff Wilton.

“A build it and they’ll come approach works for some, but for many, there remain lots of other barriers that stop them from cycling.

"My team is trying to break down some of these barriers," he says.

Wilton highlighted AT’s free multi-level cycling courses that have been operating for several years, providing skills from riding basics to navigating busy traffic, catering to riders of all levels.

Additionally, the bike safety programmes in schools introduce students from years 5 through 10, to the essentials of cycling, and was successfully hitting their target of 1600 participants.

However, he said there were some challenges with reaching their adult course targets of 4000, which could be due to pandemic-related issues such as attitudes and contractor shortages.

Wilton also noted the new Bike Hubs across Auckland, serving as repair and donation centres, refurbishing bikes for communities, and offering tutorials on self-repairs, unlike traditional bike shops.

But Bike Auckland, which advocates for cyclists, says safety was the biggest challenge and priority for Auckland cyclists.

The lack of safe cycleways is a limitation, says chief biking officer Fiáin d'Leafy.

They say the AT cycling courses are valuable but there is a large gap in developing riders' confidence between the adult course levels and a demand for more investment in the children’s programme.

Bike Auckland chair Karen Hormann recounted searching for an in-school course for her daughter but, unable to make contact with AT, eventually gave up.

“You don’t know when it’s happening, no one seems to know anything. That was a few years ago so I hope that it's improved, but it’s probably worse now there’s less funding.”

Hormann said there was an issue within the Auckland cycling infrastructure's connections, with cyclists often navigating dangerous sections of the road to reach the rest of the cycleways.

This was “really off-putting for new cyclists.”

For those unable to access courses, d'Leafy and Hormann recommend starting on small off-road pathways and leisurely settings to build confidence before progressing to commuting.

Bike Auckland says as well as encouraging people to cycle,  they  advocate expanding courses alongside the cycleway infrastructure, for a safer and more accessible cycling environment.

Watch: TWN's Bella Ireland took to a busy bike path to see what cyclists think

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