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Go by bike day celebrates growing pedal power

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Go by bike day this Wednesday 13 February will celebrate the growing number of Wellingtonians who are choosing to make some trips by bike.

The annual summer event - on at Queens Wharf under the sails from 7am to 9am - will include a free coffee and bagel breakfast for those who arrive by bike, giveaways, spot prizes and competitions. People can also get their bike fixed up or try out new bikes from local retailers.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and the new Ambassador for the Embassy of the Netherlands, Mira Woldberg, will both speak at the event.

The Mayor says Wellington’s summer is always a great time to get on a bike and a lot more people of all ages are choosing to cycle - whether commuting by e-bike or making short trips along the waterfront and Oriental Bay on an Onzo bike.

"The Council is working with the Government and the NZ Transport Agency to make things safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to choose their bicycle as a means of transport, and the outstanding success of the new two-way bike path along Oriental Parade is a great example of where the city is heading."

In the first full month of collecting data from the electronic sensor on the Oriental Parade bike path, there were 33,802 trips by bike during January - about 1,090 per day. On the busiest day, 200 bikes on average per hour were counted during the 5pm to 7pm peak. The daily average weekday count was 1,202 and on weekend days it was 768.

The January count data for the Hutt Road bike path and Thorndon Quay - our busiest cycling commuter routes - show there were 18,430 and 24,242 bike trips respectively.

This year the Council will widen the Kaiwharawhara Stream bridge on Hutt Road to make room for the biking and walking paths and complete the project. On Cobham Drive, now that the new street lighting is up and running, the major path upgrade on the seaward side can get under way.

The Council will be consulting with people in Berhampore, Newtown and Mt Cook on safer routes and connections in the first half of 2019, and construction is expected to start on the two-way separated pathway around Evans Bay in the coming months, which will make the coastal route even more of a drawcard.

Cr Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking and Cycling, says the bike counters going in around the city, combined with Census data and the annual cordon counts over the last 20 years, show the numbers - and proportions - of people walking and biking have been going up.

"With the city’s population set to grow by 50,000 to 80,000 by 2043, we need those trends to continue to help manage congestion and ensure Wellington remains a great place to live and visit," she says.

"As a Council, we are working with the community to gradually develop a connected citywide cycle network, and encouraging more people to bike in a whole range of ways.

"Among other things, we’ve helped fund skills tracks at 12 local schools as part of our Bikes in Schools programme, so more children can safely learn to ride, and more of these are planned."

Go by bike day is just one of the things happening in February to help encourage pedal power. There are great prizes on offer for people and businesses that sign up and take part in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, which runs throughout the month.

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