Last year, Chris Allison and I were discussing the number of people who cycle in Nelson. Chris suggested that 1 in 3 people cycle. It seemed like a crazy figure but he'd based this on the Sport and Recreation NZ surveys show that in 2001 15% of adults cycled in NZ (13% women, 17% men) and by 2007 that had increased to 36% in SPARC's Tasman region (Nelson/Tasman and Marlborough - 31.4% women, 41.2% men). This figure is now likely to be conservative, as it's 4 years old and the trend towards cycling growth remains strong.
So this got us thinking; if 1 in 3 people cycle then everybody must be quite closely connected with somebody who cycles even if they don't cycle themselves. Cyclists are not just disconnected strangers from another planet and one of these bright yellow two wheeled aliens may be your neighbour, your child's teacher, your boss or your best friend.
Last Monday (18th March) I attended the first Roas Safe Nelson Bays (RSNB) meeting of the year as the BNB representative. As well as BNB we had Marg Parfitt (NCC), Sarah Downs (NCC/TDC), Andrew James (NZTA), Allan Kneale (AA), Shane Davies (NCC), Stu Wright (Police), Derek Nees (RTA), Krista Hobday (TDC), Kylie Matthewson (Plunket), Mark Preston-Thomas (ACC) and Fraser Magee (Ulysses).
As you can see from those groups that are represented, RSNB is a very important group for BNB to be part of. Below is a quick summary of the cycling related issues that were raised and you will note that Bicycle Nelson Bays isn't the only group raising cycling issues; RSNB as a group is concerned with the safety of all road users.
A very rewarding afternoon was had last Friday with a public talk by David Engwicht. David's a founding member of Creative Communities International and advocate for Liveable Streets. He was invited by Nelson City Council's Active Transport Forum. He gave an inspiring talk to the Forum, plus a large audience of interested parties including Chris and Will from Bike Nelson Bays.
It's an exciting time for Nelson with the building of the cycle trails and the money from the NZTA and NCC for the walking cycling and schools package. I'm sure that there are far more cyclists around than there were even a year ago and I feel there is a bit of a buzz in the air at the moment.
I take my youngest daughter to school on a tandem bike most days. I really enjoy this time we have cycling together; it's very much shared time (although she doesn't share much of the peddling). I know exactly how long it will take to get from A-B (under 10 minutes from The Wood to Hampden St. school for example) regardless of the traffic and I don't have the frustration of finding somewhere to park when I get there. Additionally, although I wouldn't say I am particularly fit, these short trips around town to school, the office, the shops at least allow me to maintain a minimum level of fitness.