© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Is our city becoming more cycle-friendly?

Lucinda Henry

According to the Christchurch City Council, the number of women cycling has increased by six percent in the last year.

Councillor Lynette Ellis says the growing number of women cycling in the city highlights the safety of the cycle ways.

"Women tend to be more risk averse than men. When a city provides a safe environment for cycling you start to see more women riding bikes and that's what is happening in Christchurch," Ellis said.

But not all women who bike everyday have said they feel safer. 

Keen biker, Deidre Richardson says she bikes every day to work and she worries that cars on the road just don't see her.

"I'm very wary of people texting and and driving and not looking where they're going properly," says Richardson.

However, despite the overall number of cyclists increasing by 34 percent from a year ago, the number of road accidents involving bicycles remains the same.

According to the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Crash Analysis System, over the past five years there have been 700 reported crashes involving someone cycling in Christchurch. This figure has been very consistent with around 140 crashes per year reported.

Spokes chairperson Don Babe says this information is pleasing.

"Usually when the number of cyclists increases, the number of accidents goes up but the proportion goes down."

Babe says despite this positive feedback, there is still more work to do to make Christchurch a more cycle-friendly city.

"Cycleways don't suit everyone. On one end we've got the fearless and the brave cyclists and on the other end we've got a bigger group that are interested but concerned. So we need to provide more facilities where they feel safe on the road," Babe says.