Cycling in Auckland has definitely improved over the last five years, especially where we’ve started to build quality and safe infrastructure – although the roll-out of that appears to have stalled of late. But we’re coming off a low base and have a long way to go and so it was a surprise yesterday to see Auckland ranked as the 7th best city for cycling.
The 2019 Bicycle Cities Index has put Auckland seventh, but people who ride bikes in the city say it still has a long way to go.
Auckland cycling advocates said they were not expecting the result.
The 2019 Bicycle Cities Index was released this morning by Berlin insurance company, Coya.
The report ranks 90 cities on a range of cycling factors including weather, infrastructure, investment, usage, crime and safety.
Utrecht in the Netherlands took out first place with the highest bicycle usage rate overall, at over 50 percent.
Sitting in seventh place is Auckland – beating Melbourne, Berlin and Tokyo.
Here’s RNZ’s Checkpoint piece on it
It would be fantastic for Auckland to be the seventh best in the world but unfortunately when you look at the data it appears they one of the common issues with comparing data from around the world – every place reports data differently. As such, there’s a clear mistake in the rankings for Auckland at least. Below is just the top 10 but the result for all 90 cities are available. The index has a description of what each of those symbols stands for
The issue seems to stem from Auckland getting an unusually high result for bike modeshare, listed as 31%. Auckland also stands out in many of the other metrics for being well below those other top cities. If I had to guess, they’ve probably used a figure from Auckland Transport that looks at how many people cycle at some point rather than what the actual modeshare is – which usually comes in at just over 1%.
My guess is that in reality, we’d more likely be about 70th. Wellington is also on the list and comes in at 57th.
However, we do know that cycling is at least improving and that is once again reinforced in ATs monthly stats which also came out yesterday. Auckland was drier and sunnier than normal in April and that will have helped in seeing cycling numbers rise by 7.4% compared to April-18.
On a 12-month rolling basis, cycling has increased by 8.6%
The Northwest Cycleway continues to be one of the stars which will certainly have been helped by one of the few new cycleways to open in recent times (Ian McKinnon Dr). As we’ve highlighted before, Nelson St numbers are very high in part as both it and Quay St have been tweaked to also count scooters.
Despite the wrong ranking, perhaps AT could put it to good use to help set some goals and remove the molasses various cycling projects are currently stuck in.