While the answers to this question are largely sell-evident, it’s great that NZTA have recently released a summary of their view: Benefits of Investing in Cycling in New Zealand.
Follow the link for the full PDF, below is a summary of the seven ways NZTA have identified as beneficial. Followed up by a few images that do the same thing.
1. Investing in cycling is giving people what they want
People want cycling infrastructure. Many people say they’d like to cycle more, especially if separated cycling infrastructure was provided.
2. Cycling makes towns and cities really liveable
Cycling improves quality of life in towns and cities. ‘Quality of life’ rankings consistently show bike-friendly cities at the top.
3. Cycling makes travelling around urban areas better for everyone
More people cycling potentially improves traffic flow so travel times are shorter, more predictable and reliable, and the transport network performs better. Bicycles are considered to impose 95 percent less impact on travel flow than an average car.
Getting just a few people onto bikes can15 make a di erence to tra c ows. On the congested 5km Petone to Ngauranga section of State Highway 2, for example, research suggests that only 10-30 vehicles out of the 250-280 vehicles occupying the space at congested times are causing the congestion.16 Evaluation of Hastings’ iWay cycling network indicates there was a 3.6 percent reduction in tra c volumes soon after it was built.17
4. Cycling is great for the local economy
Cycling saves people money to spend in their local communities. With no fuel, registration, warrant of fitness and parking costs, and much lower purchasing, maintenance and insurance costs compared to operating a car, people who cycle have more money to spend on other things.
Cycling potentially also boosts retail spend. Various studies have shown that cycling infrastructure can lead to an increase in retail sales.25 People who cycle have been found to be more likely to stop and visit shops more often, and to spend more money at those shops over time, than people who drive.26 Cycleways that run past shop doors can be a very good thing for retailers.
5. More cycling means reduced costs for the council
An increase in cycling saves councils money. This is especially clear where populations are expected to grow. In Christchurch, for example, where 50,000 additional car trips per day are predicted in the city by 2041 unless there is a mode shift to walking, cycling and public transport31, more cycling would mean reduced costs for additional road capacity, maintenance and operations.
6. Cycling is great for the environment overall
A small reduction in short vehicle trips potentially generates signi cant reduction in carbon emissions. Shifting 5 percent of car trips to bicycle could reduce emission impacts by up to 8 percent.33 Similarly, reducing trips by car can reduce the amount of other air pollutants.
7. Cycling makes people healthier and more productive
Cycling reduces the incidence of a range of serious illnesses.
In New Zealand, physical inactivity contributes to around 8 percent of all deaths37, and one in three adults and one in ve children are overweight38. The Ministry of Health reports that only 50.5 percent of New Zealand adults are regarded as sufficiently active for health benefits and physical inactivity is the second leading risk factor of disability adjusted life years.