The urban cycling infrastructure projects announced today are not enough to prevent costly injuries to cyclists and encourage commuters and school children to cycle, the Green Party said today.
Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said “The projects announced today are small steps in the right direction but the government’s own advice is that much more must be done to make cycling safer.”
Documents released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act show that while the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment both recommended that the government spend at least $260 million over five years to make cycling safer in urban areas, the government decided that it would spend only $100 million on urban cycleways.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges’ announcements today represent less than $10 million of that, with the remainder of funding for today’s $37 million announcements drawn from local councils and the National Land Transport Fund.
In comparison, cycling injuries have cost New Zealand $870 million over the past five years, according to the Ministry of Transport.
“As the school year begins, commuters will suffer from increased peak time traffic on the roads because the government is underfunding safe walking and cycling in our communities.
“Our kids are healthier when they walk or cycle to school and roads are less congested when there is less school traffic,” says Ms Genter. “But the government is ignoring advice from its own officials about how to make cycling and walking to school safer and more attractive for students and their parents.”
“The Green Party has a plan to work with schools and communities to find better ways to encourage kids to walk and cycle to school safely, and to fund their plans properly.
“The government is spending over $33 billion on roads over the next ten years. National is stuck in the 20th century and is holding up investment in smart transport options when we need them most. The government must commit to funding more low-carbon transport options to help address climate change and make it safer to walk and cycle in our communities.”