This is a guest post from Robert McLachlan a Cycling Action Network board member and a professor at Massey University. It originally appeared here.

What role can cycling play in Aotearoa’s climate action? This question tends to prompt two extreme responses that are so far apart as to seem contradictory. On one hand, a bicycle is so obviously a simple, durable, and ultra-low emission technology, that to compare it with a car is almost ridiculous. The bicycle is a role model for what sustainable technology can be. On the other hand, our cities and transport systems are built around cars, and the mode share for cycling is very low. Even a rapid increase in cycling would only displace shorter trips, which is not where the bulk of emissions lie.

Both of these pictures are true. Putting them in context means facing up to the fact that transport emissions form a massive part of our climate problem. Transport contributes 40% of our gross domestic CO2 emissions, and it needs to come down sharply – but we’re also locked into the present system by our habits and our infrastructure, while still essentially travelling in the wrong direction. It’s not an easy problem to solve.

We shouldn’t really be starting from here

Our car-based system and high travel demand gives New Zealand high transport emissions, at 3.3 tonnes of CO2 per person per year. In 2012 we cycled on average about 80 km per year each. But even the Netherlands, where cycling mode share is 27% and each person bikes 900 km per year, still has transport emissions of 1.9 tCO2/person. This is far in excess of what is compatible with a safe climate. Dutch cycling only contributes 8% of total distance travelled, while car ownership and driving has steadily increased through the decades. The distance cycled is still only half what it was in the 1950s, and has not increased for many years. (These figures come from a 2019 article from David Hembrow’s cycling blog A View From the Cycle Path. David is originally from Hamilton and writes from the small town of Assen, Netherlands. He bikes 6000 km a year which, as he says, is the minimum level of activity recommended for health.)

A safe future requires massive system change

Where should we be headed? The study 1.5ºC Lifestyles from the Hot or Cool institute shows the way, comparing emissions from six different countries. I’ll give the example of Finland which is similar in many ways to New Zealand. Personal consumption emissions in Finland are 10.4tCO2e, while the limit for a 1.5ºC future – compatible with the Paris Agreement and signed into law in New Zealand – is 2.5t by 2030, 1.4t by 2040, and 0.7t by 2050. Of this, transport is currently 2.8t and should reduce to 0.4t by 2030 and 0.1t by 2050.

Of course, these are massive reductions, and the way to achieve them is via the Avoid/Shift/Improve framework, which is also now the planning framework in New Zealand. Avoid trips, shift them to less polluting modes, and improve the remainder. All three changes need to operate at once and support each other.

The 1.5ºC Lifestyles study found that cycle commuting, car pooling, public transport commuting, and living 20% closer to work could each contribute a reduction of about 0.4tCO2. Going car-free contributes 1.6tCO2. That is, to get the needed reductions, very high adoption of very sweeping changes is needed.

The picture in Aotearoa New Zealand

As you probably know, our current emissions goals are much less ambitious than this. But they still involve reducing transport emissions 41% by 2035. Focussing on ‘Improve’ alone (e.g. by electrifying the fleet) cannot do that.

Furthermore, we are quite likely to have to ramp up our climate ambition in the future, as expected under the Paris Agreement. It is sometimes thought that climate action has been ‘solved’ by the Zero Carbon Act, but that is certainly not true. What we have is a goal, and a framework in which to work towards the goal. But every step on that journey will be contested and will likely throw up unexpected difficulties. Just at the moment there are major questions surrounding the carbon price and number of units in the Emissions Trading Scheme; the free allocation to industry; trees; agricultural emissions; and how to meet our separate target under the Paris Agreement, the Nationally Determined Contribution.

One argument in particular I want to smack right down as hard as I can. That’s the one where people say, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the ETS”. For example, it’s been argued that someone switching from a car to a bike doesn’t lower emissions, because (under the system of carbon budgets), it just frees up some carbon that can be emitted by someone else.

This argument is absurd, but it seems to have some staying power. I wrote a whole article with David Hall rebutting it from the (voluminous) international literature. But you can see its absurdity easily by turning it around: it would mean that leaving your diesel SUV running in the driveway 24/7 wouldn’t raise emissions either (since someone else would have to cut theirs to make room for your folly).

The point is that one tonne of actual emissions is a different thing from one unit in the ETS. The latter is an abstract economic instrument intended to guide our overall pathway. The ‘cap’ on emissions is not a firm cap, and we don’t know yet if the carbon budgets will even be achieved, let alone the NDC (our Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement – a pledge to halve emissions by 2030). The ETS is a hybrid price/quantity system of, unfortunately, quite overwhelming complexity that is subject to continuous lobbying, negotiation, and tinkering. (But it’s still better than nothing.)

We can do better, and we will

We know that change is possible. Six countries in Europe (Germany, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, and the Netherlands) have cycling mode shares over 10%. Germans cycled 440 km each in 2017, and the German cycling plan is aiming for 1080 km by 2030. (Thanks to Covid, an astonishing 51% of Germans had a cycling holiday as their main holiday in 2020.)

An influential study of urban travel in Europe involved 10,000 people in six cities keeping a travel diary over a period of two years. Regular cyclists (one or more cycling trips per day) had 84% lower emissions (1 tCO2) than non-cyclists. Shifting just one trip per day from car to bike lowered emissions by 67%. As personal urban travel makes up nearly half of all transport emissions (the rest is freight, intercity travel, and aviation), these are significant reductions. The authors also say:

Mean total CO2 emissions of 3.18 kgCO2/day were much higher than the median (0.81 kgCO2/day)… confirming a positively skewed distribution of emissions. In other words, a relatively small share of individuals was responsible for the vast majority of carbon emissions, a finding that is very much in line with the evidence on unequal carbon emissions distributions.

On the other hand, I find the counterargument, that short trips are not where the bulk of emissions lie and that lower emissions are not the only or even the main benefit of cycling, also quite compelling. A study from the University of Auckland modelled the effect of shifting 5% of all short (<7 km) car trips in New Zealand to cycling. The vast majority of the benefits (valued at $200m in total) came from improved health due to cycling – 116 lives saved per year. The fuel saving was $37m, while the CO2 reduction of 50,000 tonnes would be “worth” only $4m at current prices.

There is, however, one further climate benefit of cycling, which should also be considered. At present we import around 300,000 cars a year, with embodied emissions of around 3 million tonnes of CO2. Lower rates of car ownership would save emissions even before the cars are turned on, in addition to the monetary and foreign exchange savings. For this to come about will likely require more and better cycling and public transport and public intercity transport, as well as tackling car dominance directly – the stick, not just the carrot.

So there is no getting away from the big picture, or from the complexity of transport. Wrapping it all up, I want to close with the hopeful, holistic words of Kirsty Wild and Alistair Woodward, from their article “The bicycle as constructive hope: Children, climate and active transport”:

Children are experiencing an increase in so-called ‘eco-anxiety’. Along with others, we argue that children need more concrete, meaningful opportunities to feel they can make a difference in climate. In this article, we contend that bringing back the bicycle, and the opportunities for independent and active mobility that it affords children, is an important form of climate action for young people. We assert that as well as providing sustainability and wellbeing co-benefits for children, cycling can help bolster the neighbourhood resilience and social cohesion that will be key resources for communities adapting to new climate risks.

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  1. Couldn’t agree more. If going car free is one of the most effective ways of reducing emissions then you’ll want a bike, and bike infrastructure (and to live close to things).

  2. Bicycles are a symbol of climate hope. Such a simple cost-effective solution, yet so difficult to get support in most communities to make the changes we need to make to support safe cycling.

  3. This adds academic information to what the vast majority of New Zealanders already know. To me ,it seems illogical,to stay on our current transport path,until “nature” dictates change. It is also patently “unfair” on today’s children,who have to live with the decisions/non decisions made today.
    It can sometimes feel “virtuous” to ride a bike instead of using a vehicle,but you know,if it achieved scale,there would be many benefits for society.
    The bicycle waits patiently,as it always has, as a low cost, easily adopted ,solution to many of the world’s problems, it will eventually be embraced into our culture.
    Old habits die hard,flying around the world to view tourist hotspots, in debilitating heat,has a certain irony to it.
    We,society,have long viewed that everything must be efficient,and rapid flow is good. The humble bicycle is an antithesis of this,but ultimately will prevail.

    1. I feel that we are witnessing the death of many parts of our past society, right at the moment. Temperatures of 40º + in Rome at the moment, and nearing 50º in Athens over the weekend, meant that they had to close the Acropolis. Greece is currently experiencing something like 3 x the amount of highest levels of tourists pre-Covid, in other words an explosion of tourism as perhaps people understand this is the end of days. Profligate flying around for no valid reason other than vapid tourism, has surely got to end.

      1. Agree. And we’ve got two days to get submissions in on the draft Tourism Strategy.,global%20leader%20in%20regenerative%20tourism.

        International Tourism is entirely incompatible with our climate goals and must stop. The obnoxious idea that we need it for international revenue is simply climate crime – shifting to a low-carbon economy requires shifting away from high-carbon industries.

        Luckily, sustainable domestic tourism can be improved through the same measures needed to make our country more liveable – a national public transport network, walkable and cycleable safe towns.

        We know what we need to do to provide a safe future – we just need to do it.

        1. While I mostly agree with you about international tourism, I do worry about what kind of place NZ will be without outside perspective. I remember what it used to be like, when eating pasta was unusual.

  4. I find it depressing that we are constantly talking about the carrot (encouraging people to change modes by building stuff) without mentioning the stick (taxing people for their emissions). The stick will be much more effective and instant, and the tax could be given back in another form (e.g. tax cuts or just handed out evenly to each individual). If you are a below average emitter then you would be better off with a revenue neutral emissions tax, so it shouldn’t be a vote loser for a left wing party. The demand for modes that are not getting taxed will naturally increase and it will be much easier to justify infrastructure and taking away road space.

    It’s economics 101, the best way to decrease demand is to increase price. Is there corruption in our left wing parties (world wide), or are they so socialist that they don’t understand basic supply and demand and instead have to come up with all sorts of weird alternatives like ETS etc.

  5. NZ has such a long way to go. We don’t have a Safe environment for cyclists yet:

    a) There is good evidence that on-street parking causes deaths and serious injuries to cyclists and is thus inconsistent with Road to Zero. There is no movement in NZ to ban on-street parking on roads with speed limits > 30kmh. In one of the overseas cities where I lived, no on-street parking was allowed on such roads. (this is a lot cheaper than the heavily engineered cycle superhighways)

    b) NZ has not separated vulnerable modes in space and time from motor vehicles at all signalised intersections. This is not consistent with Road to Zero. Again in one of the overseas cities where I lived space and time separation was part of the design standard. We also seldom put speed humps in front of tables at e.g., at roundabout crossings or pedestrian crossings to ensure vulnerable users are Safe.

    c) We dont have complete Safe cycle networks that can get you from all urban origins to all urban destinations. Cyclists still risk their lives riding on infrastructure designed for motor vehicles.

    d) Vehicle users and greenfield development remain heavily subsidised. There is little cost pressure to move people out of vehicles.

    e) Land use densification laws have only just changed. It will take time for the land use to change to allow more local trips by walk/cycle.

    1. Prioritising road space for people to store their private property above emissions free transport modes is very hard to justify, even for a right wing party. The only justification is “its always been that way and we like it”.

  6. It would be informative to speak to some of those cyclists in Christchurch where numbers are rapidly increasing making it NZs best cycling city.
    Have they sold one of their cars?
    What are their weekly transport costs now?
    What were their transport costs before they began regular biking to work?
    Do they feel safe when cycling
    Do they feel more healthy?

    1. I am one of those in CHCH. I bought an ebike 3 years ago for 4500. My partner and I still have two cars, she has a company car and we have a 12 yo Honda which hardly gets used. I bike 10km each way to work. My two colleges drive and lease carparks for 140pm. Assuming paid parking biking saves about $12 per day – maybe 2500 per year. It’s faster too.
      Safety is meh, can see why lots of people wouldn’t be willing to bike. I enjoy it a LOT more. Would never go back.

      1. About 4 years i moved into a city central adjacent suburb. I used to bike 6km to work. The combination of moving closer to town and biking has saved me $60 to $100 a week. In March I had a bike v car accident (car at fault) when out recreatoonally biking north of Christchurch. I broke my leg. Still recovering. I miss cycling to work and intend to get back into it.

        1. Very sorry to hear about that Brendon. All the best for a speedy recovery. Another example of the consequences of one group’s harmful choices, being inflicted on another group who are trying to minimise such harm. And if National get their way, they will favour the harmers.

  7. Thanks Robert. This assumption is not supported by the evidence: “Even a rapid increase in cycling would only displace shorter trips, which is not where the bulk of emissions lie.”

    Cycling will play a far greater part of our decarbonisation process than this suggests.

    E-biking is already replacing medium and long distance trips. Furthermore, focusing on making the first and last legs of public transport trips safe for cycling means all trips can be made low-carbon.

    1. Agree and even short bicycle trips to link to efficient public transport should be considered. ( obviously we actually need safe networks linking to PT and good provision for bike parking too)

    2. This is a good point. There is some evidence that people with e-bikes make longer trips (possibly twice as long) and more of them. So with wide enough uptake this could lead to a greater modeshare by distance than suggested in the article.

    3. 40% of trips in Auckland are less than 5kms. That is the same proprtion as in Amsterdam and other cycle friendly cities. We don’t travel further on average, we just travel less efficiently.

  8. Absolutely. I walk when I want to enjoy my surroundings, ride a bike when I want to arrive somewhere a little faster, and utilise trains or if necessary other forms of public transport, and nowhere in the entire Greater Tāmaki Makaaurau is beyond my reach.

    If we make riding a bike safer, through dedicated infrastructure, division from larger vehicles, and green spaces; then our health, well being and general attitudes on life will all maximise their Ka Pai KPIs!!!

    Without the smelly, stinky fossil fueled vehicles to cause us further damage to our breathing capacity; and further damage to Te Ao Tangata!

  9. Robert, good to discuss this. I don’t agree with your comment that “Even a rapid increase in cycling would only displace shorter trips, which is not where the bulk of emissions lie.”

    80% of trips are under 15km. Which is a very ebike-able range. 50% of trips are under 6km, which is a very bike-able range.

    If we use a vkt vs trip model, then 1st) remove 25% of trips under 9km; and then 2nd) mode shift 75% of these remaining car trips under 9km. We can get a 50% reduction for all trips and 28% reduction of all vkt.

    This is half of the vkt reduction required in the TERP for Auckland to get the 64% emissions reduction goal by 2030.

    Short trips can be very much the bulk of emissions reduction work. And this can be done very cheaply.

  10. They should do away with minimum car parking requirements at shopping centres and replace them with minimum cycle and micro mobility parking. I think that even with a lack of cycle ways simple things like nowhere to securely park your bike or scooter prevents a lot of people using them from shopping etc.

  11. Cycling sure is a key for a change in emissions.

    What was responsible for the drop in that graph for the USA? I’m guessing EV’s?

    1. VKT fell after 2007 in the US because of the impact of the financial crisis, and did not return to 2007 levels until 2014. They also had steadily improving fuel efficiency standards through that whole period (although still not that great). EVs are still too small a part of the fleet to have made much difference, except in Norway which can be seen in the graph.

  12. Robert you say “Dutch cycling only contributes 8% of total distance travelled, while car ownership and driving has steadily increased through the decades”. What is missing here is what proportion of transport in the Netherlands is driving? I think you will find a lot of the distance that people travel in holland is by public transport – most often electric. So even if car driving is increasing there, if its still a tiny proportion of the total distance travelled is it really relevant?

    1. A lot of the reason for that low percent of total distance travelled I’m guessing is due to their compact urban design. The day to day distance travel needed by many would be quite small compared to NZ say.

    2. Peter O – while there are wonderful amounts of electric train and cycling happening in the Netherlands, there are also motorways and massive amounts of car traffic – including all freight coming via huge juggernaut trucks. Had the experience driving from Amsterdam to Frankfurt once – wall to wall truck and trailer units moving at high speed along the motorways. All diesel. All v8 / v10 units. Pumping out a whole lot of smoky pollution.

      1. That’s because Europe uses all of it rail to move people, as opposed to the United States that uses it to move freight. So trucks are actually used more in Europe as a proportion to move freight (especially long distances) than the USA.

        NZ of course does neither.

  13. Motivating freight companies to move to zero emission fleets maybe quite significant. People have been increasingly using delivery options including Uber for their shopping, going car free would likely increase that. This is just my reckons. I would also think that there is an efficiency gain from a courier company delivering goods vrs personal shopping at brick and mortar shops.

    1. There is a zero emissions TR truck operating around Onehunga that I see occasionally. It’s a curtain side truck. Sprawl impacts it’s size as a smaller truck would be better.

      But there are less truck operators to influence and they are commercially focused. I think the harder challenge is the 4.5+ million drivers in NZ.

      1. how does the Jacques Cartier Bridge with its 500k+ cyclists compare with the harbour bridge size wise? (8.39 mins into the video)

  14. Like so many of the steps towards decarbonisation the role of cycling is important but we can’t say how important because decarbonisation is such a wide and easily discombobulated objective.
    Let’s step back a little and talk first about “de-fossilisation”. It a first step, yes, and an easily communicated and enacted first step.
    When achieved all the other ‘many important decarbonisation steps’ will have been achieved by default.
    Try it out on your friends; ask them to explain “what decarbonisation means and how would it best be achieved.” Then ask them “what would defossilisation mean and how would it be achieved”.
    My experience with these questions tells me that those of us who are passionate about decarbonisation are best to drop the term until defossilisation is achieved.

  15. Hmmm – more nonsense from people that don’t have a clue about the economy.
    Firstly, NZ is a group of islands a long way from anyone else. We need to import and export and doing this by sailing ship is woefully inefficient and expensive. I gave up reading the BS where it talked about adopting vegan lifestyles. This is never going to happen.
    Still, looking at the data. If we take NZ’s total CO2 emissions to be about 78M tonnes and 17% of that is transport, we can instantly reduce 1.45M tonnes of carbon emissions overnight with the adoption of a E10 fuel spec.
    As 22% of NZ’s transport emission is from heavy transport, which will not be replaced with cycling, we could mandate a 20% GHG reduction in diesel, which would save a further 300kt of CO2. If you add in the switch to EV’s in the light transport fleet, it is easy to get to a 2-3M tonne GHG reduction without anyone having to turn a peddle.
    Sure, cycling will play its part, but it will have a tiny effect on CO2 reductions, whereas a simple change of the fuel spec (to align with most of the EU), will have immediate and significant impacts – at zero cost to the tax payer.

        1. Hmmm, you are quoting a group that includes an ex Shell employee. As an oil guy, I am not surprised that he doesn’t like biofuel?
          The reality is that NZ was always going to limit the feedstock permitted in the GHG reducing fuels to waste and residues. Most of the mandate was going to be met by imported advanced biofuel and all of it would meet ISCC standards. Some of the mandate would also be met by using ethanol created from waste in the production of milk products. Scare mongering by people of limited expertise and questionable motives is hardly something credible to hold up as an argument against a bio mandate that will reduce significant GHG from NZ transport. To answer another persons point, an E10 or B20 Mandate would not require any modifications to existing fleet, so zero cost to the taxpayer. As for operators, Auckland transport are very keen to have the existing diesel bus fleet switch to 100% biofuel as they know it can give a 90% GHG reduction and available now, while switching to electric will take years or incur the cost of stranded assets.

        2. What is the magical milk waste that we can all be runnign our cars on right now, if only the government were mandating it?

          Is it really waste? How do the milk companies currently dispose of it?

        3. It is mostly exported, which is not the best solution as it needs to compete with Australian, US, Brazilian and Chinese Ethanol exports.

        4. To me it seems biofuels should only be made from food waste if at all. Growing food to make biofuels is nuts.

  16. Re 3 points raised-
    1; “Along with others, we argue that children need more concrete, meaningful opportunities to feel they can make a difference in climate. In this article, we contend that bringing back the bicycle, and the opportunities for independent and active mobility that it affords children, is an important form of climate action for young people.”
    The first round of following this narrative was to make motoring more expensive. All that did was form a status symbol around car ownership, and make it more hazardous and inconvenient for anyone who could not afford car ownership to get around.
    Most of the public infrastructure went into supporting motor vehicle transport. This made transport choices for those who couldn’t afford to own a motor vehicle, walking , PT and Cycling unpleasant to use as modes of transport, and also created a social stigma around people seen using these modes to meet their main transport needs.
    Into the 1990s, despite that it was becoming difficult both socially and practically to get around without owning a motor vehicle, people who used to cycle or walk as their main form of transport, were increasingly students, children, and less frequently adults who struggled financially with car ownership. But they were still much more enabled and respected when using PT than they are in this ‘new’ business model. This changed in NZ over a very short time-frame.
    Once the environment became untenable for parents to allow children to cycle to school, using a bike for anything other than entertainment or sport became stigmatized.
    The NZ cycle industry also bears some responsibility for this matter. Most used their influence to narrow the use of cycling by restricting their stock. To be fair, this was mostly in line with customer demands. Mainstream retail outlets restricted their inventory to providing machines suitable for recreation and sport. Machines designed for these purposes are a very different design to that of a machine designed to cater for use as a mode of ordinary transport.
    See link-
    Alongside this, it became too unsafe for children to cycle to school – and that leads us up to today with new issues like the school pickup rush hour and the loading of PT at this time so that it becomes unattractive for others, like adults and parents with small children to use. I’ve experienced some uncomfortable situations when I have been trapped in physically when using PT and even walking near bus stops and transport terminals or in buses and rail carriages when they are suddenly filled en masse with high school and intermediate sized students. Like being hit with a back pack or experience a near miss of being elbowed in the face when they used to rush for the exits, or board the rail service.
    This took me by surprise because when I was at school all students had to use designated rail carriages, and buses. I did not notice this initiative had been stopped because I was living in a rural setting for a time. In the initial period that PT services were being promoted AT did not see the need for designated school transport as a health and safety issue.
    Schools removed the bike parking areas but didn’t provide adequate areas for parents to collect their children from school grounds, which created a hazardous situation for everyone. Schools administrations often chose to resolve the issue by calling in Police and security instead of providing safe collection areas sufficiently large enough for parking. That would have been the better solution, but the authorities in that situation were unwilling to spend the money needed to make that happen. This failure to provide space for parents to drive in and collect their children was often promoted as a way of discouraging parents from collecting their children by car instead of leaving them to walk home. When it became obvious that this was a failed solution, administrative innovations like “school walking buses” etc for younger students were instigated which presented other issues, especially when the new shared pathways were used -eg between Newton Gully and Kingsland. Overconfident cyclists behaving badly, particularly the small number of cyclists who used to move at high speed when using that particular walking track presented a real safety hazard.
    Likewise when young people started using scooters and escooters came into use, people were not encouraged by authorities to see their use in a positive way. Many tried to ban people from even using push scooters. Some people behaved badly when using these vehicles and tarnished all users as irresponsible.
    City planners and regulators made matters worse by refusing to change the infrastructure uses and made poor regulations which placed and unfair burden of responsibility on personal ev users, and created animosity towards ev Hire business entrepreneurs. This is still happening.
    It is an example of what happens when the “climate change” narrative is either misunderstood or misused. A few more examples exist as well.
    * * * * * *
    2; ” Lower rates of car ownership would save emissions even before the cars are turned on”, in addition to the monetary and foreign exchange savings. For this to come about will likely require more and better cycling and public transport and public intercity transport, as well as tackling car dominance directly – the stick, not just the carrot.”
    My past experience about cycling has been definitely about the “stick” and not a “carrot induced” one.
    What is ignored by using the “climate change’ narrative is that it obscures the fact that the reason NZ PT infrastructure is in such a terrible condition is that social and business environmental conditions were created to allow for it to be dismantled and the transport infrastructure resources directed to cater for the business needs of the motor vehicle industry. In order to get support to reverse that process, attention needs to be paid to removing social barriers as well as the physical ones, this situation created; by providing infrastructure that works to make active transport modes attractive to use.
    Using the threat of “climate change” without providing a user friendly infrastructure will create a “climate change” narrative tyranny.
    Gradually [in NZ and elsewhere] getting around using a motor vehicle became less of a ‘choice’, and more about a health and safety issue. The profiteering opportunities were so great that, in a relatively short time, the private motor vehicle industry obtained a stranglehold on our transport infrastructure delivery; and this meant that the “stakeholders” have had to be, in some instances, dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table. The “climate change” narrative is the vehicle being used to do this.
    The downside of this is that much of the socio/economic pressure the motor industry applied to achieve their industry global dominance over the way humans get around, and do their daily business, led to this situation.
    * * * * * *
    3; “A study from the University of Auckland modeled the effect of shifting 5% of all short (<7 km) car trips in New Zealand to cycling. The vast majority of the benefits (valued at $200m in total) came from improved health due to cycling – 116 lives saved per year. The fuel saving was $37m, while the CO2 reduction of 50,000 tonnes would be “worth” only $4m at current prices."'
    As a rule mainstream transport business stakeholders care less about the personal benefits of cycling than about how much profit goes down the gurgler if motorists stop buying the current models of motor vehicles machines they have produced before they can figure out how to profit from using as much of the current motoring product that has already been produced; Even if the motor vehicle models are converted into EVs, they are still used in exactly the same way as a petrol driven motor vehicles are used.
    The invention of other vehicles is not something the motor vehicle industry would entirely welcome. So its going to be a battle around how the infrastructure to allow a wider variety of vehicles use, some of which use cycle infrastructure, and that can be used in combination with mass transit for both passenger and freight services, will be built. Conventional motor vehicles, however they are powered, use the incumbent form of transport infrastructure. Infrastructure and rolling stock for mass rail transport comes out of the same "pot" of resources as does roads and motor ways, but since the domination of the motor industry has resulted in damaging, and in some areas destroying the rail infrastructure in NZ, it needs much more extensive work to rebuild.
    Owning a private motor vehicle, even if the manufacturers convert them to run on other fuels such as batteries, are going to be beyond the reach of many more people than was in the recent past. Considering these modes of transport have been placed in competition with each other its still going to be a battle over the use and allocation of resources around infrastructure. The more car ownership becomes out of reach for more people the stronger the case for establishing better mass passenger and freight transit networks could become. This would not be guaranteed though even if car ownership becomes more difficult to achieve. In the recent past, the majority of people met this situation by struggling to own a motor vehicle. For people in that situation, most did not choose not to own a vehicle, they just couldn't afford one, and were fewer, poorer, with less influence over the situation, than those who owned a motor vehicle, and ended up having a miserable time getting around, as investment in mass transit gave way to private motorized transport.
    Currently it is a reality that in NZ, traveling between major urban centers using mass transit has been made unnecessarily arduous, except maybe for that which is designed for the tourist industry. The people who need and use the mass transit passenger services the most, are NZers who need to use it for ordinary travel needs, and as individuals, not generally as wealthy as those who do not need it to exist. Getting the approvals for this infrastructure to be reconstructed, over the demands of the those who use the roads and motorways may become an issue.
    * * * * * *

  17. Sorry, bikes are awesome, but too dangerous where I live, and now more so since recent armco barriers have been installed. squeezing bikes and trucks into the same space.

    Cancellation of the Drury to Pukekohe active mode corridor just makes cars a much easier purchase to justify.

    1. But you realise it is dangerous because people keep voting and submitting against cycle infrastructure. So I hope to keep your conscience clear that you are not one of those people.

  18. I always found it best to use bikes to eliminate the last mile in a trip, rather than covering the entire journey. Where I live in Switzerland, all public transportation hubs, train stations, and similar locations have masses of bike storage.

    A simple approach to getting people out of cars is to improve cycle facilities at the park and rides, as well as incorporating small bike stands into bus shelters. eBikes can, of course, increase the catchment area of a public transportation hub, whether it’s a hub of a feeder bus network or the park and ride, but they cannot replace the PT network, bus lanes, harbor crossings, and the like – these still need to be in place.

    Many people here have a second, cheaper bike at their destination train station, which they use to cover the last mile on the other end of their commute

  19. Yes Sounds good in practice but the system of “park and ride” works more for the transport facilitators than this does for people who use bikes as active transport.
    There is a large group of people whose needs are ignored for one reason or another here; that is the people who actually use a bike and the more recent personal EV technology as a personal mobility device. There are a lot more in this group than is acknowledged. The advent of developing this technology means that this group of people, whose needs are hidden, have experienced much more choice and enhanced access to mobility choices to get around.
    I found out the hard way that often, passenger transport service providers are, by the way they organize their service delivery protocols and rhetoric, are not unable to, but are mostly refusing to deliver a user-friendly service, which would accommodate passengers who belong to this social group, by hiding behind – ‘can’t do’ attitudes, and giving reasons which often do not add up. Inexplicably, I have come across some really irrational hostile reactions when asking questions about this matter. These incidents lead me to believe that this reluctance on the part of service providers contains an element of “we won’t provide these services because we do not want our products and services to be associated with disability and illness.
    Often the irrationality of this perspective is reflected upon the law abiding members of this social group who will be enabled the most to use PT and public spaces. Instead people who would use these devices this way have been associated by service providers, and publicaly inspired “ginger groups’ with “hooligans” who misuse these services and equipment in public spaces. This is “ableism” at its most raw end. Its not the message but the way this message is delivered by product marketers and service providers, and their lobbiests.
    I will not go into more detail here now except to ask a question. How do you think someone using a personalized, mobility device as a means to get around would be disadvantaged using this so called ‘convenient’ transport system which removes the option of access to what is an essential piece of equipment for them to get around at their destination.
    The transport system that you describe provides services on service provider terms only. Parking a “old bike” at their destination is an adaptation cyclists are forced to use to fall into line with the inconvenience imposed by services provider business models.
    It is NOT that inconvenient to a service provider to make SOME passenger vehicles which are capable of carrying cyclists and their machines available to passengers who need them, and this has been achieved by passenger transport services in the past. Often PT service providers put “costs’ as a reason not to provide a service. Why do they assume that this service HAS to be provided free of charge? Or if they do provide it decide to “price gouge” users, or use other ‘hostile service delivery’ techniques which discourage people from using that particular service?
    I gave a retailer what I thought was a positive feedback when I bought a particular machine from him and went back to get some brake components. I was finding it a much better machine to get around on than the previous one. I also mentioned that I’d recommended his business to another friend was also cycling for transport because he was unable to walk distances due to a mild mobility impairment sustained from a car accident and now found driving difficult, so was using a bicycle to move around. He’d proved that he could use a bicycle in the near ‘normal’ way and did not need a wheelchair, which was all the medical profession offered, to get around. When this matter was brought to the retailer’s attention, his response was that neither he, nor the manufacturers wanted the use of these products to be associated with people who were living with “disability”, and he then cut the conversation. I felt so uncomfortable I did not do business with the store again. Go figure.

      1. Hi Heidi, I could go further into the narrative about human rights and the issues of the way NZ transport activities and the right to choose active modalities are being affected by regulations which increase the divisiveness around the ability for everyone to make a choice about how they get around but I do not think it will help bring us forward to a consensus. It is a conversation we all have to have, en masse with regulators, human rights specialists at the NZ HRC, and local MPs when it affects us as individuals, to make them aware of the impact on human rights when regulators become pressured into creating poor quality regulation, which comes from a space of ignorance, as it happens. If someone has a negative experience while out and about using their cycle and personal ev transport device it is important to talk about it to community leaders.
        Instead I have shared a link to this video about designing transport infrastructure which integrate multi-modal vehicle use. Link

  20. Whether you’re planning a road trip, navigating a new city, or simply looking for the quickest route to your destination, Mapquest directions is your dependable companion for smooth and stress-free travels.

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