Jessica Rose has come on board to help us at events – thanks for your help on Sunday and this story, J! Although off to a damp start on Sunday morning, the weather soon cleared (thanks to Met service for an eerily accurate weather prediction!). I’m sure that as cyclists we can agree that it can be easy to put things off it looks like rain. Thankfully this wasn’t the case on Sunday.
We headed down to the market to man (or woman) the CAA stand for the afternoon at around 2pm and found the place filled with traffic (foot and two wheeled). There was great music on and the bar was open for anyone feeling festive. We shared North Wharf with fantastic stalls from Generation Zero, Blend, Lescykill and AT, to name a few. Also the lovely Rainbow Rascals was there face painting for the kids and we scored a free ice block from Dr. Feelgood , which was delicious!
At the stand we had a questionnaire asking a short survey on how people use their bikes, what stops them from riding (if anything) and what they’d like to see more of in cycling infrastructure. The results were in equal measures heart-warming and anticipated. For a lot of people key reasons for cycling were fun, exercise or for escaping the frustrations of traffic congestion. As for obstacles, the unchangeable geographical features of Auckland, our lovely hills were mentioned as often as the unpredictable weather. But as for things we can do something about, road safety was a theme that was cited on almost every occasion:
‘I’d love my kids to be able to ride to school on their bikes, but I don’t think it’s safe’
‘I’m desperate to ride the bike I purchased a year ago but NZ drivers are aggressive and there are not enough protected cycle lanes to get from A to B’
Finally, in what we’d like to see, there was a loud shout for a skypath – although any path for cyclists was heavily mentioned in the survey. We had a lot of engaged personal conversations with the market goers, most of which also have cars in their transport toolkit. The question was raised time and time again as to how to educate drivers on how to share the road, or where the gap in respect came from. International visitors noted that although Kiwis were a friendly culture, they seemed different people when you put them in front of the wheel.
We’d like to say thank you to all those who participated in the survey, it’s rewarding to know that we are on the right track as the combined voice for Auckland cyclists. Also we recommend you head over to Bike Wise for a full calendar of events both in Auckland and nationwide that you can participate in over bike month (starting yesterday!).