Last week the Ministry of Transport released a very interesting report looking at how travel in NZ has changed over the last 25 years. The data is based on the ministry’s Household Travel Survey (HTS) they conduct which monitors the travel of all members of a large number of households all across New Zealand. One of the advantages of the over the other sources like the census is that the HTS covers trips for all activities and not just trips to work like the Census currently does. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect but it does at least provide a different picture.

One of the strong themes that comes through in the report is one that we’ve talked about a lot which is that young people are starting to behave differently to older generations. They’re getting drivers licences later, driving less and using alternative modes to get around (or live in closer proximity to their destinations). This is shown a few ways.

  1. Fewer young people are getting their drivers licence. Part of this will be the driving licence changes of a few years ago but it for many it appears they’re simply not interested in doing so.
    HTS 25 year - Driver Licences
  2. Younger people – and the 25-34 age group especially – are driving less than they have in the past.
    HTS 25 year - Distance driven by age

One of the big questions is whether the trend will continue or if it is just a blip, will those 25-34 year-olds continue to drive less as they shift into the older age brackets. Given the 25-34 age group decline has been going on since the late 1990’s it seems to be the former. My guess is that in places like Auckland where the city and its transport systems are evolving so rapidly that we’ll see the trend start to flow though.

Travel to Work

This is a measure that hasn’t changed a lot over the last 25 years and seeing as the data is at a nationwide level it isn’t likely to do so much in the future either. At a city level I think Auckland in particular will start to see much more change coming through as transport options improve.

HTS 25 year - Travel to Work

But work isn’t the only place people are travelling too, in fact it’s one of the smallest destinations.

HTS 25 year - Travel Purpose

Travel to School

The travel to school data helps show one of the areas where there has been the most significant change over 25 years and also the one of the biggest areas of opportunity. As of the last survey 57% of kids aged 5-12 are now driven to school compared with 32% in 1990. Public Transport mode share has remained about the same and so the biggest contributors to the loss have been from walking and cycling which respectively have gone from 42% to 29% (thanks to a small recovery recently) and 12% to 2%.

HTS 25 year - Travel to School

It all reminds me very much of this cartoon

Walk to School cartoon

Interestingly though secondary school students are actually walking to school more than in the past and catching public transport more too. The biggest change has been cycling dropping from 19% in 1990 to just 3% now.

HTS 25 year - Travel to School - 13-17

The MoT look at cycling to school for both age groups separately in the chart below. Statistics NZ estimate there are around 487,000 5-12 year olds and 306,000 13-17 year olds. If they were cycling at the same rate as they did in 1990 instead of being driven it could potentially take over 40,000 car trips off the road in Auckland and 100,000 nationwide. Of course some of the current driving figures will be the result of a parent dropping the kids at school on their way to work so it wouldn’t necessarily result in a reduction of car use in the immediate term – just a shifting of where and maybe when it occurs. Instead the process of getting back to those kind of mode share will certainly involve much better bike infrastructure and that will get others using it too.

HTS 25 year - Cycle to School

Public Transport

With the PT data there isn’t the long term charts like above but there is some very interesting information from the most recent survey.

The chart below shows the frequency of usage of PT across different age groups and as you can see the 13-17 and 18-29 age groups are the ones most likely to catch a bus, train or ferry.

HTS 25 year - PT frequency of use

Around 2/3 of all those who used PT during the survey used it to get to work or to education but another third were doing so for other reasons.

HTS 25 year - PT use reasons

Lastly the report includes a section on how much time is spent drinking alcohol per week. It seems this was put in the survey in the context of drunk driving. What I found fascinating is how much the younger generations have taken reduced the amount of time spent drinking. It seems to only be those 65+ who are drinking more than they were

HTS 25 year - Hours spent drinking

All up some very interesting stats and a good report from the Ministry

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  1. Seeing those stats involving a huge decline in children cycling to school is worrying.
    Could this possibly have anything to do with the mandatory helmet law introduced in 1994?

      1. I struggle to believe that one person, however determined, could induce major changes in the travel patterns of an entire nation.

        Especially when you consider that she was talking to school children, rather than their parents. I was one child who experienced these talks and I don’t remember even mentioning it to my parents. All I remember was the focus on encouraging us to wear helmets when cycling.

        In terms of more important causal factors, I’d rank it down near the bottom and certainly below the following factors:
        – Trend towards larger schools increasing average distance traveled to school
        – Increasing motorisation generally (especially among secondary students, e.g. 16-18 year olds)
        – Development patterns making it harder to walk and cycle, even when located in proximity to a school.
        – The decline in adult cycling meant that fewer kids were taught how to cycle. This is a bigger barrier than many realise.

        1. “I struggle to believe that one woman, however determined, could induce major changes in the travel patterns of an entire nation.”

          I disagree with you there – she got the mandatory helmet law introduced and passed by parliament pretty off her own bat, so yes she has managed to have a big impact whether she intended that side effect or not. Yes she did have some local groups behind her, but she is the one who started the whole crusade.

          She was tramping up and down the country talking to all and sundry about this single thing, not just to schools, but she was on public media, TV, newspapers, radio, whatever media, and where-ever she could.

          So it was a continual message in her helmet law drum beat “cycling is dangerous for *your* kids, like it was for mine”, any wonder parents started driving them instead after hearing this same story for 6+ years?

          Yes cheap Japanese car imports had arrived en-masse then as well, making parents able to afford a second car and time to do the running around for their kids when they didn’t before when they only had 1 car.

          The big change now with that second car is that before one parent could be at home and do the driving to/from school. Now they both work, so the kids are dropped off/picked up on the way to/from work.
          With different travel patterns – counter peak mostly before, now peak direction mainly now. So we get twice the cars on the road at peak times.
          You only have to drive down Remuera Road at 3pm to see the problem all those parents picking up their kids cause.

          Lets be clear – the Helmet ladies son, Aaron, was injured on the road while cycling to school on a busy road [with no cycling facilities].

          I think nowadays we’re wiser about the actual problem the law tried to solve – which is a lack of segregated cycling facilities, not cycling per-se, so thats the issue we should be fixing, not hoping some flimsy plastic and foam contraption on your head will magic away the problem.

        2. you’re welcome to disagree, but I don’t know of any evidence to support your suggestion that one woman orchestrated a massive fall in rates of cycling among school age children in NZ.

          As Steve notes below, the rise of helmet laws is far more likely to be a consequence of the risks of cycling (perceived or real), rather than something that caused it to fall, i.e. correlation not causation (although of course simultaneous causality is a possibility).

          I’m fairly ambivalent about helmet laws myself, and would be happy to see them go. However I wouldn’t expect to see cycling mode share among school children to return to pre-1980s levels if we were to get rid of them. Other socio-economic factors seem likely to dominate any impact of helmet laws.

          Anyway, this post is not about the merits of helmets etc, so I think we should just agree to disagree.

        3. Well Stu,
          You wanted evidence?

          Parliament generally doesn’t pass laws because one person says its a good idea (well they do sometimes, but its pretty rare, – recent examples? say the flag change law and I’m pretty certain helmet laws are not one of these cases).

          Instead like a law banning fireworks altogether, they’d usually expect some evidence of a problem that the law can help solve.

          Parliament didn’t wake up one day and say “right, we’ll bring a mandatory helmet law into being today”.

          They were lobbied. Long and hard, to change the law, not just by the helmet lady but also by the organisations she lobbied/created to lobby on her behalf.

          She got awards for the lobbying she had done to bring the law about. and they don’t hand those out for sending a few letters out or a Facebook campaign.
          The Palmerston North City Council website says this:

          “Mrs Oaten was awarded the 1990 Commemoration Medal for her services to New Zealand, Rotary have made her a “Paul Harris Fellow” – an award rarely given outside Rotary circles, and in 1989 she received the Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Award. Her work has also been recognised by the Wellington City Council who honoured her with the Knight of the Road Award.”

 said this in 2012: Mrs Oaten furiously campaigned to make cycle helmets compulsory in New Zealand after her son was paralysed in a 1986 accident at the age of 12
          And earlier, in 2010 For six years she visited an average of four schools a day, “lambasting” kids with reasons why they should wear helmets. and same article says:
          “His mother, Rebecca Oaten, went on a crusade to make sure her son’s accident was not ignored. …for six years she travelled to schools around the country… Her tenacity gave rise to Palmerston North-based Protect the Brains trust, which spread nationwide and lobbied the Government for a law to make helmets compulsory.”

          So yeah. the evidence pretty clear of what she did, and what she achieved. Its great she was so passionate about it.

          But, as part of the lobbying she did do to get the law change, she had to (whether intentionally or not is irrelevant now) demonise – in the politicians and the public eye – the “status quo” of cycling without helmets – to get the politicians to sit up and take notice.

          So of course, her story was picked up and presented in the media as cycling [without a helmet] is dangerous. Which lead next to the perception after that, that cycling is dangerous because you have to wear a helmet to do it.

          You yourself said below that:
          “And remember that perceived risks can be more important than actual risks: If parents feel like society is less safe, then that may impact on whether they allow their child to walk/cycle to school.”

          So while the demonising of cycling that occurred may not have made your parents immediately stop you from cycling to school, it sure made a lot of parents think that way with regards walking and cycling. and they never actively encouraged younger kids who hadn’t started cycling before the law change from ever starting or ever trying to cycle to school. And once a generation goes by without learning to cycle as kids, then its hard to bring it back.

          We’re over a generation along from the law change now, and its impact is showing up pretty clearly in the stats. If thats not evidence of what a one woman crusade can do then I don’t know what is.

          Funny thing the law has not actually reduced the injuries cyclist suffer though.

          As I see it, the helmet lady spent many years of her life tilting at the helmet windmill, ignoring the real issue/actual cause of the problem – unsafe roads.

          Oh yeah, as for the stranger danger thing – its been a ongoing thing all kids were taught in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s about stranger danger. There were stories of strangers luring kids into cars with bags of lollies – how true they really were, and how uch was just endlessly repeated urban myths is impossible to determine. But we were “lambasted” about it. We just listened, and kept walking to/from school each day.

          Its not a newfangled risk. But its reached a hysteria and a tipping point in public [parents] perception that walking is as bad as cycling. In part thats what school walking buses are trying to “fix” – the stranger danger thing.

        4. Sorry Greg but that’s a major logical fail, Evidence for Ms Oaten’s “furious efforts” do not amount to evidence that her efforts caused a nationwide decline in cycling rates. Anyway please desist from further comments on this topic – you’ve stated your position, as have I.

        5. I remember quite a lot of media coverage at the time and a lot of it was more than just about helmets. It was plain dangerising of cycling.

        6. Maybe. As someone at school at the time it didn’t really affect me or my mates. We just kept cycling as we always had. Less anecdotally, i dont know if any emprical evidence, e.g. surveys, showing the helmet law was a primary cause of the decline in cycling during this period. And until i see some evidence my intuition tells me the theory is a load of hocus pocus.

        7. I tend to think of it to being similar the Tram/Car debate which is along the lines of did we pull out the trams because people were using cars more and preferred them or did the shift to cars occur because we pulled out trams. In that case I suspect it was an element of both i.e. car use increasing and seen as the future so trams were pulled out and the buses that replaced them didn’t provide as good of an experience so pushed more people to cars.

          In the case of cycling you had a mix of cycling being perceived as being more dangerous combined with cheaper cars. Combine them and you get a big drop. Here’s a chart I put together a while ago based on Journey to Work data from the census. I sourced the old stuff from Stats NZ Yearbooks. Obviously doesn’t include children cycling to school.

    1. The demand for helmets arose because cycling was perceived to be less and less safe. The helmets are the symptom…..not the cause.

      I rode a bike for most of 20 years…..and then stopped after a co-worker of mine went under a truck. I rode that same road and faced that same danger. His crippling injury made it all too real for me. Then are are the funerals one goes to of people who died on motorcycles… common with bicycles in that flying human meat bags don’t come out well when the other guy runs a stop sign.

      I still own a bike, but haven’t ridden it in several years. Last time I was on it I nearly got bowled by a hoon in a car with tinted windows.

      I have kids. I need to be able to walk. I want to live a long life as free from disability as I can make it. Riding a bike didn’t fit into that picture anymore. I’ve been lucky. Only knocked off my bike 3 times in 30 years by bad drivers who just……hit me.

      It’s not the helmets. It’s the narrow roads and bad drivers.

      As for driver licenses generally……one of my kids finally got their full license at 25 and the other takes the view that they can’t afford a car on their low wages and they instead use public transport and live as close to where they work as possible. They both vote for people who will improve public transport as the one who does drive doesn’t actually like to drive very much due to the uncertainty of the travel time in traffic and the poor driving of many on the roads (especially BMWs and Audis).

      1. Back in my day (deliberately in the style of a moaning old man), riding a bike is what kids did, how they got about. And I carried on riding into my 20s because until I could afford to own and run a car it was still how I got around.

        Later, I got a job at the other end of a rural cycle lane from my house, so started riding again. Later still, when our family first arrived in New Zealand we had the one car so I walked my son to school then rode to work while my partner took the car to her job that involved an early start. Now we have two cars but mine does less than 50Km a week; I cycled to work this morning because I prefer it to driving.

        I think that getting kids on bikes again is the only way that cycling for transport will go from being seen as a fringe activity to a normal part of everyday life. It sets a pattern up for life.

        As for the safety aspect, I’ve ridden on rural lanes, in provincial towns and in cities (including London). I don’t find that I have anymore near-misses now in Auckland than I did in my provincial hometown in the 80s. But it is the hoons I worry about most. The professional drivers of trucks and buses tend to be the most considerate I come across, and most car drivers I just expect are distracted and stressed (driving in Auckland does that to you) so I treat them accordingly and ride defensively.

  2. Interesting to see walking to school stage a revival in the past few years – is it travel planning?

    Sobering to note that of the 30-64 age group only c.7% are regular PT users (although likely slightly higher in Auckland) – big contrast with younger groups.

    1. ISTM that one of the reasons that kids are driven to school, rather than walk, is the perceived perception of “stranger danger”. Not really sure if there is a fix for that. As far as biking is concerned, the growth of separate cycle lanes, not just green paint, would make a huge difference.

      1. It’s worth noting that the risk of a child being abducted rose greatly when would-be abductors could easily afford cars. Once the child is in the car….they are largely invisible and quickly gone. Before such people could get cars, it was much more difficult for a child to disappear…..

        I put the risk to children now down to car culture. Just one more hidden cost.

        1. interesting hypothesis!

          I have often wondered whether the decline in children walking/cycling to school was likely to be linked to perceived risks of not just cycling, but the community as a whole. And during this post-Rogernomics period rates of violent crimes dud surge.

        2. Teresa Cormack was abducted and murdered in 1987, which I think reverberated through society a lot. I believe this was the first and to this day only random abduction and murder of a child in NZ, all others have been by people known to the family. It’s more a perceived risk but I certainly think this impacted parents thinking.

          She was the same age as me, but didn’t seem to bother my parents in the slightest as I walked to school without adult supervision from aged five and biked from aged eight.

        3. There seemed to be a number of high-profile abduction cases around the same time in the 1980s, e.g. Kirsa Jensen (her mum was my form teacher), Louisa Damodran, Karla Cardno, etc. I think that raised the national consciousness about “stranger danger” (even though the stats are pretty clear that you’re far more likely to be killed by someone you know than a stranger), and the kids who grew up then hearing all about that (whether in the news or from their newly anxious parents) became the parents of today. I’m struggling to think of many high profile cases of late (e.g. Kirsty Bentley was now 17 years ago) and they were always very rare events anyway. But it clearly had an impact on allowing children (esp. girls) to travel on their own.

        4. Looks like there was more than one, but you are right they were all in a relatively short period and it is understandable parents would react in that way. Unfortunately we have now lost the critical mass of kids walking or biking to school, which makes it appear even higher risk.

        5. I assume you’ve simply forgotten to link the research that shows that there is a higher incidence of child abductors and rapists among the poor?

          Or is this just a variation of the “poverty is a moral failing” argument I’ve seen in editorials up and down the country since as long as I can remember?

        6. I interpreted Steve’s comment as an observation that declining costs for vehicles made it easier for people (including criminals of whatever income level) to use vehicles. It’s reasonable to suggest that vehicles make it easy to commit a crime and flee the scene. As opposed to being a comment on whether people’s propensity to commit crimes varied by income level.

          In terms of data on crime rates here’s some information that I thought was interesting:

          – Wikipedia article “Crime in NZ”: Just note this relates to total criminal offences rather than homicide/violent/sexual offences.
          – Here’s some more detailed information compiled for parliament:

          Interestingly the latter shows rates of sexual offending growing steadily during the 1980s and 1990s, and peaking in 1993.

          I also found this police report from last year – which shows total offences declining, including murder rates.

          The sexual offences category seems to be quite sensitive to levels of reporting – as such may be affected by campaigns encouraging people to speak out.

          Anyway, I still think it’s an interesting hypothesis. And remember that perceived risks can be more important than actual risks: If parents feel like society is less safe, then that may impact on whether they allow their child to walk/cycle to school.

          P.s. Angus, note that we don’t require people to present evidence with their comments, but we do expect them to provide it when asked, or at least desist from simply re-hashing their opinions as if that progresses the discussion. So if you want evidence for someone’s position, then ask for it.

        7. I didn’t mention poverty. I said cars were more readily available. They aren’t the same thing. Until 1966 in NZ one needed foreign currency to buy a new car directly. You couldn’t buy one with NZ money (pounds in 1966) unless is was from someone else who had bought it with some other currency.

          My comment was about the ubiquity of cars and didn’t really have anything to do with anyone’s economic well-being…and it was a speculative comment in any case. I should have made that clear.

  3. Good summary. I suspect a major contributor to youngins aren’t driving so much is because of the punitive drivers licensing regime put in place in the 2000s. It’s way too tough. A better regime would be to retest drivers every 10 or 20 years.

    Given the importance for young people to have drivers licenses to get jobs, and given the atrocious youth unemployment rates (in part because the government got rid of youth minimum wages for all intents and purposes) — a thorough review of the impact of the tough driver testing regime on young people should be done. Alternatives should be investigated too.

    I’m not completely denying that kids preferences have changed, but I’d far rather investigate the impacts of regulation first.

    1. Couple of comments:
      1. Driver testing – disagree: New Zealand is not punitive compared to other countries. In fact we’re very lax – so I reject this suggestion.
      2. Link between drivers licenses and employment – disagree. Maybe for those who grow up in rural areas (like me), but this is a very small % of kids. Most kids (say 80%) who grow up in urban areas can access many jobs without a car, e.g. baby-sitting, lawn-mowing, dog-walkin, tutoring, etc.
      3. Removing youth minimum wage – agree, this was a terrible idea that reduced employment opportunities for young people.

      1. As someone who was fairly recently a teenager, most of the jobs my friends and I did relied on a car, or mum and dad dropping you off. working at supermarkets, the movies, restaurants etc – most finish late (10pm not uncommon) and most people don’t want to be walking about at that time of night, or it was much too far to walk.

        1. My point was that a car is not *required* for the job – provided one is prepared to use alternative modes of transport.

    2. The driver licencing system in NZ is very lax. There is no compulsory training. It is just two tests once you have your learners. They are effectively just driving to a reasonable standard for half an hour to an hour. I just went back through the system to get my motorbike licence. All I had to do was ride around for a bit. There was no assessment of my understanding or ability to do things that are essential for my safety – emergency stopping for example. The current regime really needs to be tightened with some form of compulsory professional training IMHO.

    3. As with others I don’t think the licence system is too punitive. Driving requires a lot of responsibility and the consequences of getting it wrong can be catastrophic. That some teens now fail is a good thing.

      As for driving and jobs. This is something we often hear from the business lobby, they want staff with drivers licences and cars as they are perceived to be more reliable than PT. Unfortunately this ignores that cars can be unreliable (especially old cheap ones) and subject to congestion – but those issues seem to be glossed over. Businesses need to get over this and recognise the city and it’s transport system is changing with the improvements in PT and cycling that are happening. I heard a story recently of someone who lives in the CBD who was applying for a retail job in the city and was declined on the basis they didn’t have a car so couldn’t reliably get to work despite being a 5-10 min walk away.

    4. I, as an immigrant from Europe, didn’t have to do any test at all (except for a basic eye test). I guess it’s just common sense to read the road code anyway.

      When looking around it definitely seems they used to be quite lax. For example the next time there’s heavy rain, count the cars without their lights on. If that count is not nearly zero, then we have a problem, especially on motorways because those cars are nearly invisible in mirrors. Another example is not signalling, or doing it in a sloppy way, like exiting roundabouts while still signalling right.

  4. Perhaps the decline in cycling to school is why there are fewer young drivers today. I cycled to school and so getting my license was only a small step of learning how to use a clutch. I already was confident about my ability to navigate traffic and general road sense.

    1. There is still a big difference between riding a bicycle and driving a car. Way bigger than learning how to operate a clutch (and everyone over here drives an automatic anyway). There is a good reason why you have to do a license test before driving a car, and not before riding a bicycle on the street.

      Why would a 16-year old want a drivers license? Often the answer is simple: getting one means he finally gets the freedom to move around on his own, without depending on mummy and daddy to cart him around. But if it’s feasible to get around on a bicycle, that need is not there—that kid got this freedom almost a decade ago when he learned to ride his bicycle on the street.

  5. Newer developments and subdivisions are so much less walking friendly. When I lived in Albany the network of culdesacs made walking to school take so much longer than when I lived in Takapuna which is much more connected. The school wasn’t actually that far directly but if there was a network of paths and walk/cycleways so many more people would have walked to school. I went to school from 1996-2008 and pretty much no one at any of the schools I went to cycled, we didn’t even discuss it or have bike sheds or anything, even though I owned a bike and so did most of my friends.

    1. I think this is a crucial point: Most suburbs that were developed during the 1980s and 1990s had terrible pedestrian and cycle connectivity.

      1. I now live in a 1960s? 70s? suburb and I walk so much more than I did when I lived in Albany. There are walkways and easy routes everywhere, there are some cul de sacs like mine because it ends backing onto a school, but much much more of the roads are connected to each other. There are also little blocks of shops so people walk to the dairy etc, as opposed to Albany where I/we all drove there since there wasn’t a single shop in our subdivision.

    2. Not sure if I agree with you on the point that newer develops are less walking friendly. Some of them might be but Wattle Cove and Hobsonville are not like that….and the plans for the three Kings Development are probably more walker friendly than the surrounding housing areas. I think that newer developments could be more cycle/walking friendly but I do not think they are appreciably worst than the older suburbs.

      My (uninformed ) opinion is that parents are driving there kids to school more and are not buying bikes. At Homai primary school when I was young they have a class for teaching young kids how to ride bikes, bike safety program and bike sheds…now I understand they are all gone. I think bikes have become less fashionable amongst kids and teenagers. I also wonder if the rise of malls may play a part in that…generally you need public transport to get to them or a car (supplied by parent). When I was young I could walk or bike to the swimming pool, Manurewa Cine-Centre or Southmall Shopping Centre. Southmall is still there but it is a shadow of what it once was and public transport has improved a lot (but still needs to be better on the weekends).

      Not sure how much having to wear a helmet factors into things, how much laziness or how much parents being overly protective plays a part. However I get the feeling that kids do not want to cycle, they prefer to be driven.

  6. The fact that travelling to work isn’t the most significant reason for travelling highlights the need to include other questions for forthcoming censuses – e.g. main mode(s) to get to education, social trips, etc. Moreover, with the SuperGold card, I’d have expected more superannuitants taking PT more frequently than is shown on the graphs.

    There is also a need to carry out the survey at a regional level, making distinctions between urban and non-urban areas. The numbers and graphs above, especially vis à vis PT usage and cycling are not necessarily very useful on a coarse and aggregated national scale.

  7. I cycled to school until the age of sixteen, when I was gifted a rubbish french motor vehicle. It taught a valuable lesson, cars are expensive. I have been back on the bus and bike since then. But then I guess some people still melt in the rain…

  8. Assuming the time period in the title of the table on page 6 relates to the text directly below, between 2010 and 2014 ‘Nearly a quarter (22 percent) of cyclists killed or injured in traffic crashes are aged 10-19 years old’ Risk (or perceived risk, depending on the route) probably has something to do with the decline.

    This information is not about dedicated cycle ways though, which would change risk and therefore attitudes….but that takes time.

    1. Which document are you getting that quote from? As is often the case, it’s missing a bit of context, e.g.
      – The cycle crash rate for 10-19 yr-olds is not really much different than for other age groups; 21% of all cycling is undertaken by 10-19 yr-olds in NZ
      – Between 2010-2014, only 4 out of 43 cycling fatalities involving a motor vehicle were 10-19 year olds (9%). Most were over 50 years old, actually.
      – The crash rate (deaths/injuries per hour travelled) for 15-19 yr olds is actually slightly higher when they’re driving rather than cycling.

      More info, see my paper:

      1. Thanks for your reply GlenK.

        I got the quote from the document I linked in my comment, not intended to be taken out of context (hence the link)

        In response to your comments:

        – “The cycle crash rate for 10-19 yr-olds is not really much different than for other age groups; 21% of all cycling is undertaken by 10-19 yr-olds in NZ”
        So everyone is crashing at equal rates?
        – “Between 2010-2014, only 4 out of 43 cycling fatalities involving a motor vehicle were 10-19 year olds (9%). Most were over 50 years old, actually”
        I didn’t specifically reference fatalities data only because I don’t think parents make a decision about letting their children bike to school based on risk of death alone.
        – “The crash rate (deaths/injuries per hour travelled) for 15-19 yr olds is actually slightly higher when they’re driving rather than cycling.”
        We agree then that they should cycle more…….. like most people commenting.

        Out of interest, in your link it states ‘For example, in New Zealand, cycling is assessed as having a crash rate per km travelled nine times greater than driving. On this basis, some research and policy reports have warned against people shifting from “lower risk” modes (like driving) to “higher risk” modes (like cycling).’ Which policy reports have warned against people shifting to cycling?

  9. The Government signed up to Kyoto and the public responded by driving to work and running their kids to school in the car. Shows how out of touch the government was with their people.

    1. John I generally consider you smarter than the average bear, so disappointing to see you falling into line with the stoopid consensus promulgated by this government (especially) that mitigation of Climate Change and all the other disbenefits of our current urban form and infrastructure is simply a matter of waking up one morning and choosing to do things differently in a world where they are investing multiple billions to keep it more like yesterday than ever before.

      You and I know that the required changes are infrastructural before they can be behavioural.

      We can’t simply choose to catch those non-existent electric trains to our non-existent walkable centres from our non-existent proximate and compact leafy housing developments now can we?

      1. Patrick you and I are both old enough to remember how cynical the government was. They signed Kyoto believing there would be a profit because of our forests. Later they admitted they were wrong and we would have to pay as all of those trees would be cut at some point and the carbon released. Meanwhile car use across the nation grew. They saving grace for us all will be the younger people who have been discouraged from getting a license by a stupid testing system who will spend their lives stuck on a bus or bike.

      2. Being smarter than the average bear I just figured out that my carbon footprint is smaller now than in 1991. Back then I was queuing up every morning on Esmonde Road for my drive to work and then we would drive somewhere most days off. Now I work at home and only drive when a client needs me to go into town or see a site. Mrs Mfwic walks along the road to work. We do have choices. Mine are not to reduce emissions but to have more time doing my own things and spend less time working for the man. (hmmm maybe I can get that V8 Commodore after all.)

    2. Kyoto isn’t connected with how people move around every day if they have no useful alternatives. They do what they can do until they can do something else.

      Getting that something else into place has been incredibly difficult….and it should not have been for any government that really intended to meet its commitments.

      1. You’re flat wrong there Steve; changing how we move, and where we live and work, especially in cities, is the single most effective way we can address climate change and all the other disbenefits of auto-dependency, but it has to be actually possible, and that depends on infrastructure investments and urban form decisions made at gov level:

        1. How am I wrong? Perhaps you misunderstood my comment?

          If I can only afford a house in the suburbs and can’t get to work anyway other than a car….then that’s that.

          Sure….we could move the family of 4 to a two-bedroom flat in the city and only pay slightly more…..but most people aren’t like that and they won’t and don’t do it. The evidence of that is all around us.

          “I’ll use public transport when it’s good enough” is almost a mantra.

          Making it good enough has been the BIG problem. National doesn’t help by not caring about anything that matters, from climate change to urban quality of life.

    3. Government policy isnt usually implemented by just hoping the public will behave in a certain way that will meet our commitments. There is nothing stopping the government controlling carbon emissions. They already have an ETS framework in place (although a simple carbon tax would be better IMHO). The fact we did nothing to meet our Kyoto obligations (other than cook the forestry books) was not due to the goevenmetn being out of touch with the public, it was due to the government not even trying!

      1. I agree with you Matthew but you are assuming they intended to meet the commitments. Personally I would be happy for the Government to go to the next round and promise to reduce our emissions by 110%. at least that would be honest and admit they are just claiming something they have no intention of ever doing.

      2. Kyoto was a way to offshore production to developing nations whilst claiming tax credits/subsidies for your multinational and increase global emissions by 50%.

  10. I’m interested by how high the figures are overall in Figure 6 (distance driven per driver per day – average about 30km)). I live in what I would call a quite car-dependent 3-adult, 2-car household in a medium sized provincial city (Canberra), but our average is probably less than half of that (1x daily 5km car commute; 1x less frequent 10km car commute; 1x bike commute, plus a few weekly longer trips to shop etc). It just shows how enormously wasteful the low density, car dependent paradigm is of time and resources.

  11. You can’t get primary school children to walk to school if their parents are driving to work. We have infantilised children so much that it is now considered reckless to allow a child under 14 to make their own way to school.

    At our school athletics day yesterday we had about numerous children injure themselves with sprained ankles and the like because they are so inactive they haven’t learned how to run without falling over.

    1. Talking to Primary School teachers, some parents even insist on escorting their children to the classroom door. This makes the parking outside the school even worse as they now insist on parking, rather than just dropping off the children

  12. The decline in cycling is especially odd. I can’t imagine Auckland being particularly cycle-friendly 20 years ago.

    But it’s not unique to New Zealand. In Belgium newspapers reported a decline from 40% to 25%. My first gut feeling as of why are the parents. They are much more protective now than 20 years ago.

  13. Anyone know the date No biking signs started to appear at the entrance to ever park, ever alleyway and then the police actively enforcing the no biking on foot paths. Simply no were safe for new cyclist to build there confidence.

  14. on a recent holiday in Italy, I would cringe everyday knowing that my 10 year old nephew would ride is bike to school or friends even 10km away, with no helmet or cycling infrastructure, along rural “highways”. Maybe the NZ cycling fear won on me, because I used to be exactly like him.

  15. Our Carbon emission in NZ would be best reduced by two things. Reducing our livestock population and oil powered transport fleet. As NZ can neither afford to ditch our primary exports or replace the road transport fleet with hydrogen powered cars, we need to find another solution.
    Even if NZ and the rest of the developed world ditched the petrol/diesel car it would not be enough to offset the carbon emission growth in Asia. The only solution is a new technology discovery that fixes the problem because people will not stop driving cars, heating homes, industrialisation or eating meat.

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