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Do more bike lanes equal more cyclists?

Georgie Hanafin
169 w2w
Do bike lanes mean more bikes?  Christchurch City Council

Bike lanes. They’re a hot topic that divides the community. But even staunch cyclists are asking who these lanes are for.

Do more bike lanes equal more cyclists?

Harewood councillor Aaron Keown said expensive bike lanes were not the way to encourage people to stop using cars.

“[The council] believes that if you put in a cycleway suddenly this huge number of people will start biking to school."

He said there were many reasons people chose to drive and believed the council needed to facilitate that.

He suggested a trial e-bike period as one way of showing families they could drop the second car.

“It’s better for our transport system for the council to give away e-bikes on the condition people have to use them at least three times a week. If they don’t use the bike, then we can pass it on to the next household to try.”

Council transport planning and delivery manager Lynette Ellis said research showed safety was the number one barrier to more people cycling.

“That is why our focus is on providing safe cycle routes for people to use. This focus is shared with many cities in New Zealand and around the world,” she said.

Harewood School is one of the communities that will be affected by a planned $19million cycleway from town to the airport.

The proposed plan had Harewood Road widened by turning carparks near the school into a shared lane for bikes and pedestrians.

Kylie Phaup-Stephens is an avid cyclist who would love to bike to school with her daughter but believes the plan is flawed.

"I feel quite passionate about cycling.

"I love the idea of a cycleway...there must be ways that they can do it better," she said.

Harriet Hrynkewycz is another Harewood School mum. She suggested the council upgrade the current path cycleway that leads to the school from before Nunweek Park.

"This would mean parents aren't having to park half a kilometre away when they go to pick up their kids," she said.

Backlash from the public forced city planners to go back to the drawing board and submit a new design.

Ellis said a hearings panel would consider submissions later this year.

"The panel will also consider council staff’s recommendations for design plan changes," she said.

The Wheels to Wings cycleway is designed to provide a safe and easy cycle route for between the airport area and Papanui.

The route connects to schools, shopping areas and the airport business park as well as many other destinations along the way.

The proposed cycleway also links with other cycle paths at both ends.

Most users of cycleways use them as just part of their journey, using quiet streets or connecting to other cycleways to complete their trips.