Cycling advocates are calling for the transformation of urban transport, as New Zealand races to cut carbon. The Climate Change Commission will release its initial advice on Sunday 31 January.
“Bikes and e-bikes are perfect for many local trips, but cities must build networks of protected bike lanes to make that possible,” said Patrick Morgan from the Cycling Action Network.
“New Zealand can deliver on a 1.5ºC future.”
“The best bang for buck in transport is to decarbonise short urban trips, which make up the bulk of our travel.”
Two-thirds of urban trips are less than 6 km, according to the Ministry of Transport.
“People love biking, but they don’t want to mix with busy or fast motor traffic. The solutions are simple: create safe road space for people on bikes, tame traffic speeds, and invest in zero-carbon public transport,” said Mr Morgan.
Cycling has boomed where quality bike paths have been built, such as the North-west cycleway in Auckland, and the major cycling routes in Christchurch.
Transport is a leading source of climate-damaging emissions. Road transport in New Zealand makes up 39 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, according to the OECD.
New Zealand’s transport system needs to be transformed fast, even if this will be difficult, said Mr Morgan.
“To achieve a stable climate, transport must be largely decarbonised by 2030. Our current transport system doesn’t meets our needs.”
He said getting more people on bikes also has compelling benefits for better health, cleaner air, nicer streets, and saving money.
“Investing in cycling is a miracle pill for our cities.”