On yer bike, greenies – the stats tell us why we need to spend much more on motorways

So long as the buggers keep to the left there is plenty of room for all os us...

So long as the buggers keep far to the left there is plenty of room for all of us…

Dunno what the Greens think they are trying to tell us.

But it looks like good news for the Government’s transport policies.

Today the muesli-munchers have banged out a statement to say cycling is booming throughout New Zealand despite the National Government’s failure to fund new cycle lanes to keep people safe.

They are basing this on Census travel to work data which show the numbers of New Zealanders choosing to ride a bicycle to work increased by 16 percent from the 2006 census. Those choosing to drive increased by only one percent.

“Increasing numbers of New Zealanders are choosing to ride their bicycles to work despite the lack of safe, separated cycle lanes,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“It’s time for a change in the way we invest our transport budget to meet the demand for safe cycle lanes.

“National currently spends less than one percent of the transport budget on cycling.

“Currently only seven people work on cycling projects of the 1300 staff who work for the New Zealand Transport Agency. Twenty-one people do public relations for the agency.

“The Green Party will shift spending from very low-value motorway projects into high-value safe walking and cycling infrastructure.

“It would cost only a tiny fraction of the National Government’s $13 billion spend on motorways to fund the building of safe cycling infrastructure throughout our towns and cities.”

The statement goes on to remind us the Greens recently announced $200 million of new investment in infrastructure so kids can cycle and walk to school safely, and to ease congestion on New Zealand’s roads.

“We will invest $50 million a year over four years to ensure our kids can walk and cycle to school safe from traffic,” Mrs Turei said.

“The latest research shows that we can secure up to $20 of benefits for every dollar invested in safe walking and cycling. That’s a billion dollars of health and decongestion benefits for each year’s $50 million investment.

“Our Safe Walking and Cycling to School plan is a smart way to get kids to school safely and ease congestion on our roads for those that need to use them.

“The Government is missing a huge opportunity to enable cycling to be a serious, cost effective transport option for short trips.”

Alf interprets the data differently.

He reckons they show increasing numbers of New Zealanders are choosing to ride their bicycles to work, sure enough. And this proves there is no need to spend more public money on building safe, separated cycle lanes to encourage more people to go cycling.

The comparatively negligible increase in numbers of people driving cars, on the other hand, only goes to show the roads are too bloody congested to encourage them.

Accordingly more money should be spent on motorways and what-have-you.

Come to think of it – that’s what the Nats are doing.

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