Let’s all say ‘Yes!……and……”

Swanston St, Melbourne

Arguably the toughest thing about improving conditions for cyclists is…which cyclists? Should we be designing for those that want to get places on-road as quickly as possible or those that would prefer a separated, more comfortable route?

It’s a trick question cause it’s both.

We’ve become so accustomed to having so little resource that we disagree with each other about what’s the best way to spend it – on-road facilities for the fearless commuters or off-road facilities that will encourage more people to ride. The problem is that with such contrary messages floating around, it’s easy to lose opportunities to get anything done at all.

So here’s a new approach we could take. If a cycle project is proposed that would not be suited to your type of riding, but will be greatly appreciated by others, instead of saying ‘Don’t do that – do this!!!’ Let’s say ‘Do that……..and do this!!!’

Imagine if we had everybody who rides, or wants to ride in the future, sending the consistent message that we support all projects that make the city more bike-friendly. And then we celebrate all of them when they’re done.

Personally, I’m  a strong believer in infrastructure that’ll encourage more people to ride for transport, so infrastructure that probably compromises some speed for comfort. That doesn’t mean I’ll use that piece of infrastructure every time and it certainly isn’t the only sort of improvement I’d like to see made. If there’s a project that improves the safety and convenience of a high-speed commuter route, I support that too.

Sure, there’ll be times when we will need to make some either/or decisions but we could do ourselves a favour by not trying to make them prematurely. At this point, something good is WAY better than nothing. But something good in addition to something else good is better still.

Let’s be more ambitious, have higher expectations, support each other, take what we can get but demand more.


5 thoughts on “Let’s all say ‘Yes!……and……”

  1. Simon Kennett

    Nicely put!

    The annual cycling fund available from NZTA (formerly Transit) is so often under-spent, despite the pressing need for better cycling infrastructure. We need to encourage our councils to apply for that funding for any cycling projects that have a positive BCA. The budget needs to be fully utilised (or, better yet, overspent) before somebody decides it’s better spent on motorways. Make a strong case for on-road facilities and shared paths often enough and one day we might see the cycling & walking budget increase again.

    We don’t need to look any further than Hutt Road (south of Ngauranga) to see that adjacent on and off-road facilities can grow cycling numbers significantly – we just need to get the safety sorted and follow that model on any arterial route where there’s room and cycling numbers have the potential to be measured in 4-figures/day.


    1. “The annual cycling fund available from NZTA (formerly Transit) is so often under-spent, despite the pressing need for better cycling infrastructure.”

      Now THAT is a motivating piece of information.


  2. Lesley

    This is bloody brilliant. I have just made a submission. Can we put this as a separate link on the featured column, and ask everyone to submit?


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