Despite a lingering intolerance some car drivers have for cyclists, Auckland looks set to become a city with more bike parks than car parks.
While hoverboards are not on the horizon, cycling – whether a conventional push-bike or electric bike – is leading the boom in alternative modes of transport over the car, along with scooters.
Bike Auckland chair and spokesperson Barb Cuthbert has long seen this coming and is now enjoying distance cycling made possible by the growing kilometres of safe cycleway networks across the region.
“Not so long ago, Auckland led the world for public transport use and is getting the hang of it again. Likewise, bikes have been part of Auckland for 150 years. We had overflowing school bike sheds. We can get there again,” she said.
She envisages a future where we’ll “bike, scoot, roll and walk to well-connected public transport, and people young and old will move freely, chatting while they go.”
As a transport planner, Barb says if we bring in safer street design and lower speeds we’ll start to even out the odds between drivers and their wrap-around protection and people walking and biking.
“Recent research showed the cities with protected bike networks have a 44% lower rate of fatalities for everyone on the road, not just those of us on bikes.
“The freedom of being on a bike, getting exercise as you travel to work, school etc, and sharing the fun as a family at the weekend, can be seen across Auckland.
“With the option to mix biking with trains and ferries for longer trips and more connected bike routes, more of us are enjoying biking as a daily convenience.”
What Barb is looking forward to now is the construction of the missing link – the biking and walking pathway across the harbour bridge.
“It’s going to transform this city and how we see it. Now let’s just hurry up and get it built,” she said.