At the moment there is a very vocal push for cycling friendly policies from Auckland Council and for some astonishing new projects that will pour millions into cycleways and the bizarre proposal to clip a cycleway onto the Harbour bridge.
As you will see, the bike spotting freaks as Cycle Action Auckland and Transportblog are talking out of their arse when they try and say cycling is an important commuter mode in Auckland.
Actually cycling has barely the sort of numbers that warrant $15m on the duplication of a cycle path to Westhaven or the $6m on the unwanted cycle path through Northcote Point (already labelled a ‘safe for cycling’ route by CAA) and certainly not the massive financial risk underwriting Skypath will be to the rate payer – based on Skypath’s untested and rather fanciful patronage figures.
Below is an excerpt from the AT board papers (Mar-14). It maybe an interesting exercise to calculate the CAGR of ‘Bicycle’ against other active modes like ‘Walked or Jogged’.
The statistics show that cycling is actually in decline. It represents less than 1% of the travel to work journeys in Auckland in 2013. This has dropped since 1996 when it was 1.3%, the only transport mode to do so. In nearly two decades when there has been a massive increase in funding for cycling, exclusive cycle only road lanes, exclusive cycle only paths, priority position boxes at traffic lights etc etc… the net effect has been a drop in the percentage of people using bikes to get to work.
Contrast this with the increases in all other transport modes.
Train +314% (but still only 1.5% of all journeys to work)
I have attempted to answer Slater's question 'why are we spending millions on cycling?'. Here are some reasons.
United Nations Agenda 21 Activism
In a global sense cyclists are part of the world wide ‘global warming’ scam. This requires us to believe that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, it is evil humans that are endangering the world through pollution of the environment. Once you believe this whopper the rest follows. You must hate cars (polluters from the global oil conspiracy) so you must be seen to ride a bike, you must be an ‘alarmist’, you must ‘do something’ to stop the impending global disaster. You see yourself as a warrior, a saint, a crusader for the cause. In a nutshell, or should I say nutcase, you are ‘Green’.
Cycle groups are effective lobbyists. Through organisations such as Cycle Action and Generation Zero they have positioned their activists within Council, notably Auckland Transport. This gives them access to big budgets and huge spending power.
Local Board ‘Green’ members
Results from the general election show that ‘Greens’ are only numerous in the Auckland and Wellington Central electorates. Here they congregate in their youngish, high paying cliques of urban lawyers, local government workers and those employed in higher learning establishments. In Auckland Council terms this translates into Waitemata whose local board abounds with cyclists, lawyers, and members of the Labour/Green alliance.
Waiheke Local Board, although falling within the Auckland Central and Waitemata sphere of influence, could be said to represent the smellier, unwashed end of the Green spectrum. The 100% ‘Green if Not Clean’ local board all have their expensive e-bikes as well as their gas guzzling, old polluting cars.
It is regarded in some circles as 'chic' to be seen in figure hugging costumes rather like gentlemen of the Elizabethan Court in their tights and codpieces. It says ‘look at me’ I’m young, I’m trendy and I’ve got a lot to offer the world.
Because they see themselves as warriors for the ‘cause’ they behave like all cults in their self delusion that they are morally superior. This allows them to flout the law. Thus, in their eyes they have a right to ride in the centre of the road; they can ride four abreast if they want to, it is their duty to slow the traffic when it suits or bully pedestrians off the footpaths - all illegal but all justified in their warped morality .
Council culture is rank with fear. You can literally smell it on the officers. As such they are, with a few noteworthy exceptions, prey to any politically correct claptrap that comes along. The prevalent culture in the organisation is one of bullying. Activists like Cycle Action, almost by definition, are bullies. They do well in local government.
There is certainly a place for cyclists and cycling in the transport mix, but not one that justifies spending millions on projects to satisfy a vocal minority. You can never satisfy them. Their appetite for more is voracious. The ratepayer has every justification in being appalled at the lack of basic economic and common sense in Council. After all it is our money they are wasting.