Alan Preston's Submission to Draft Regional Land Transport Strategy 
20th of December 2007

 Kia ora to those of you reading this at Environment Canterbury. 

Alan Preston here in Christchurch.  

I've put my submission together on this web-page to make it more easily accessible and so that I could add a few pictures and links to information to help contextualise and provide references to some of the points I'm making. The main part of my submission pertains to strategies for achieving an increase in the uptake of 'utility' cycling in New Zealand's urban areas.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Formalities first... 

07.12.13 To Environment Canterbury:To Environment Canterbury: Draft of Submission to Draft Regional Land Transport Strategy
Subject: Submission on The draft Canterbury Regional Land Transport Strategy 2008-2011
by Alan William Preston Middleton, Christchurch. New Zealand.
Tel. 03 3382730  or 027 212  8095

Links through to further information relating to my submission can be viewed from links in this online version and I'd recommend watching this short video showing bicycle rush hour in Copenhagen will show  you what I’m aiming at:

 I do wish to be heard at the hearing.

(P.S. I have no involvement in any commercial esp. bicycle related business and am making this submission as an individual and not as a representative of any group ) .


Cycling within major urban areas

My submission relates to 4.3 ‘Alternative Modes’> Cycling and 4.5 Demand Management, Promotion and education,- specifically to the promotion and facilitation of utility cycling in urban areas with my main goals being to convince Environment Canterbury and the LTAs within the region:



(A) to take leadership by purchasing fleets of utility style bicycles and folding bicycles for use by their staff to raise awareness of the existence of urban appropriate utility bicycle styles and their associated technologies.

 1.2.12 Actively encourage cycling through travel behaviour change programmes, promotional and education activities. [Responsibilities: territorial authorities, ECan, health  boards, SPARC.]


(B) to pursue the rescinding of the law compelling all cyclists to wear helmets to make it discretionary on the rider.


  ( Watch this short video from Kyoto to see how easily cyclists co-exist with pedestrians )

(C) 1.2.8 to pursue the rescinding of the law and by-law which prohibits cyclists from using pavements and to prioritise making provision for those who would take up ‘slow’ cycling if they could ride on pavements

(D)1.2.12 carriage of bicycles on public transport (and private vehicles)

further discussion of these and other points follows:
Promotion/education methods
2.2.10   Encourage the development and use of pollution-free and low-polluting technologies, including leadership by example by public bodies [Responsibilities: all Government agencies.]

6.1 Leadership ( Page 28 of Draft Canterbury Regional Travel Demand Strategy 2007

(A)    The bicycles themselves and Regional and Local Government’s role in promoting technologies appropriate to utility cycling:

 According to the Bicycle Industry Association of New Zealand, (
The number of bicycles imported into New Zealand is continuing its increase with 234,581 having been brought in during the 2006 period,-almost all being of styles designed for ‘recreational’ uses such as mountain biking and road racing. BIANZ statistics also show that between 1997 and 2007,1,821,975 bicycles were imported into New Zealand, but despite this, Land Transport studies tell us that only 2% of us use bicycles to get around our cities.

It must be concluded that one of the factors contributing to New Zealanders’ not taking up utility cycling is simply the virtual unavailability (and lack of awareness) of the styles of bicycles and technologies appropriate to urban utility cycling. 


 “It is important to recognise that different types of cycling environments will suit different people and also that different types of cyclist have different infrastructure needs.”

The prevalent existing urban utility cycling culture in Christchurch is made up of a fairly narrow demographic, mainly young(ish) men riding either mountain bikes and road racers 


  - with a smaller though broader demographic using remnant relic bicycles from the 1970s (or even earlier).

Addington, Christchurch,2007  

 There are very few children, teenagers, ‘unathletic’ people, middle aged women or elderly people riding bikes in Christchurch (or other urban areas within the Canterbury Region).

While there has been much focus by Cycling Advocates and Territorial Authorities on the provision of facilities for cyclists,

 -little attention has been paid to the promotion of the urban appropriate utility cycling technologies that would enable the uptake of cycling by a much broader demographic than that to which it is currently limited. 

In cites like Copenhagen and Amsterdam where the numbers of utility cyclists are great enough to deserve real consideration by democratically elected Local Government officials it can, and must be observed that the availability of the styles bicycles and of a wide range of technologies specifically appropriate to urban utility cycling have helped to facilitate the uptake of cycling by a much broader demographic than that to which it is limited in New Zealand.

The styles of bicycles which are favoured by middle aged women and senior citizens in countries where utility cycling is well established, lend themselves to a slower style of riding (sorry for generalising here) that would not be appropriate in Christchurch’s cycle lanes riding alongside fast moving motor-vehicles.

 A typical Japanese 'mama-chari' shopping bike

 The absence of a ‘shopping by bicycle’ culture in New Zealand is largely due to the unavailability of the styles of bicycles which can easily be fitted with baskets for  carrying shopping,-and also to the prohibition of riding on pavements.

 Bikes parked in a Japanese Mall

The absence of such a ‘ shopping by bicycle’ culture translates into opposition by retailers to attempts to remove curb-side parking to make way for cycle lanes for ‘vehicular’ cyclists who they don’t regard as potential customers (e.g. Papanui, November 2007) 

(I spent 10 years in Japan where you hardly ever mountain bikes and road racers and where shopping centres are crowded with bicycles with everyone carrying their shopping in baskets fitted to the bikes.)

 If the types of bicycles that they ride in Denmark etc were available here (fitted with baskets etc) it is possible that we would see a much more general uptake of cycling, especially among the types of people ( i.e. middle aged women, the elderly etc) whom the likes of the Papanui Shopkeepers would be much more likely to see the economic sense in making provision for.    

“It is important to recognise that different types of cycling environments will suit different people and also that different types of cyclist have different infrastructure needs.”

As long as bicycle importers and bicycle retailers can see that less-than-ideal conditions and overly restrictive legislation controlling the movement of utility cyclists are preventing the general population from taking up utility cycling, they will continue to avoid taking the risk of providing the technologies specifically appropriate to their needs.
And as long as cycle retailers continue to limit our choice to mountain bikes and road racers (which are neither designed nor appropriate for utility cycling), we are never going to get the broad demographic, who will take cycling from being a pesky sideshow at the mercy of hamstrung local government politicians, to being a group with REAL political credibility. 

i.e. If we can get middle aged women and the elderly to take up cycling, we can get their families to join them.

  To do this, we need bikes like these:

2.2.10  Promotion/education methods
Encourage the development and use of pollution-free and low-polluting technologies, including leadership by example by public bodies [Responsibilities: all Government agencies.]
6.1 Leadership

 ( Page 28 of Draft Canterbury Regional Travel Demand Strategy 2007 ) 

"TDM is a transport planning approach that by its nature is reliant upon involvement and co-operation between the community and the implementing organisation. 

This places community leaders in a prominent position that is essential to the success of demand management programmes. Their understanding, support and leadership is fundamental to the successful implementation, as well as during the early planning stages of a TDM implementation plan, where priorities and funding levels are set in LTCCP's."


Regional and Local government's role in promoting cycling.

To help cycling become established as an integral, rather than to remain as an incidental part of New Zealand's transport infrastructure, Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council have a natural responsibility as the Regional and Local Territorial Authorities governing what has historically been New Zealand's most cycle-friendly city to take a leading role in setting precedents which can be followed by other Regional Councils and L.T.A.s.

Regional and Local Territorial Authorities can help raise awareness and provide credibility of the styles of urban utility bicycles (including folding bicycles) and their associated technologies by directing funding from either their existing operational transport budgets or from discretionary Transport Strategy development budgets to procure (i.e. purchase or lease) fleets of specifically these styles of bicycles for use by their staff and visitors. (i.e. not mountain bikes! )

By acquiring small fleets of (running, maintenance and parking low cost) utility-style bicycles and folding bicycles and parking them at various locations around your area or keeping them in the boot of Council cars for use by Councillors, staff, visitors and guests, your Council will:

-be able to enjoy the exhilarating sense of freedom, comfort and mobility of getting around on a bicycle (while wearing work clothes and also being able to carry stuff)

and in the case of folding bicycles, be able to carry them in cars.

-be making physical exercise an intrinsic part of your working day.

-be making considerable savings on the costs of unnecessary use of cars for short trips,

-be satisfying 'green' ratepayers, residents and voters that your Council is working to achieve ' Sustainability' and to reduce Greenhouse and particulate emissions,- while also  reducing costs.
(very good for Public Relations!) 

 -be drawing attention to the existence of (otherwise rarely seen) utility-style bicycle technologies thereby helping to create awareness and interest and to stimulate consumer driven demand.

-by leading by example, be showing that utility style bicycles make utility cycling practicable, practical and enjoyable for a much wider range of people than for the narrow demographic range to whom it is currently limited.


-be experiencing first hand, the risks, dangers and limitations that are dissuading so many New Zealanders from taking up utility cycling where it should otherwise be the mode of choice.

-become more intrinsically interested in providing for cyclists' needs.

-be taking a leading role in initiating a consumer-driven accumulation of a fleet of urban-appropriate utility-style bicycles which, as a component of a truly sustainable transport infrastructure, will help to ensure social and economic security in the event that our currently vulnerable, imported fossil-fuel dependent transport infrastructure becomes subject to unbearably high oil prices.


( strategic importance ! )
See Goal 8 : “A land transport system that encourages innovation and is responsive to change”



 N.B. I am not advocating for the abolition of helmets.
I am advocating that the law which compels all cyclists to wear helmets at all times, be rescinded to make it discretionary on the rider.
It can (and must) be observed that wherever utility cycling is widely practiced, the wearing of helmets is neither compulsory nor observed by the vast majority of cyclists. E.g. Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Kyoto
Extrapolating from observable attitudes and behaviours to helmet wearing by cyclists in other countries, it must be concluded that the compulsion for cyclists to wear them is dissuading many in New Zealand from taking up cycling.
Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council need to address this issue if they are serious about achieving the goal of increasing the numbers cycling in our urban areas.
A compromise could be to maintain the compulsion to wear helmets up to say 16 years to ensure the development of a culture that accepts them,-while not dissuading those adults who do not from taking up cycling.
“It is important to recognise that different types of cycling environments will suit different people and also that different types of cyclist have different infrastructure needs.”

(C) Re 1.2.8.  THE RIGHT TO RIDE ON PAVEMENTS: To provide some understanding of why I see this as an important issue, I’ve just copied in the following that I recently sent to Tokyo Cycling, a group whose founder is an advocate of ‘vehicular cycling’ (i.e. all bicycles should behave as cars) They are worried that a planned law change (2007) that will legalise what has evolved as the widely practiced preference for virtually all cyclists in Japan to ride on pavements, will be the first step in forcing cyclists off the roads altogether… 

( see article : )
“ The fact that so many people choose to cycle in Japan has a lot to do with their not being forced onto the road with motorised traffic.
Young children, teenagers, women with kids, middle aged women, the elderly, the unfit and unsporty,- are all well represented in the utility cycling demographic in Japan.
- I know,- I cycled on pavements (and on roads)  there every day for 10 years (in and around Nagoya, Yokkaichi and Kyoto) . ( watch this short video from Kyoto ) .

Where I'm living now, in Christchurch, New Zealand's (mythically) 'most cycle-friendly' city, less than 2% (and falling) of traffic is cyclists. Cycling on sidewalks is illegal (and enforced) and the above-mentioned demographic groups are extremely poorly represented among cyclists. 

They WON'T ride on the road with traffic,-even where there are cycle lanes.

The vast majority of cyclists in New Zealand are young(ish) men, assertive advocates of 'vehicular cyclism', riding mountain bikes and road racers as fast as they can, who for the main part seem to think that anyone on a bicycle should behave as they do.

The cycling advocacy movement is strongly influenced by their perspective, perceptions and assertions,-all backed up with statistics of course...

-which plays into the hands of the auto-lobby because keeping middle-aged women, children and the elderly off the pavements keeps them from taking up cycling AT ALL,-which, by keeping the numbers down and the cycling demographic narrow, emasculates the cycle advocate lobby's technocratic approach to 'encouraging' cycling by compelling everyone to ride on the roads or where possible, in cycle lanes, because local government councillors, who have the last word, are hamstrung without having the political credibility that the numbers which a universally inclusive cycling demographic would give them,-to secure funding for the establishment of cycling infrastructure which has actual ( not just ‘asserted’) separation from motor vehicles. 

 Cycling advocates need to realise that we cyclists are not all the same and that we all have different styles of riding, preferences and needs.

 If the Japanese Police were to force all cyclists onto the road, I have little doubt that you'd see a similar death of cycling to that which we have experienced here in New Zealand.

If I'm in a big hurry, I want to be have the right to ride on the road, but if I'm not, as one who is choosing the preferable (emission free) 'way forward', I also want the right to choose to ride on pavements where I see it is preferable and safe.    

  Alan Preston in Christchurch, New Zealand


“It is important to recognise that different types of cycling environments will suit different people and also that different types of cyclist have different infrastructure needs.”

1.2.8 Where barriers exist that make on-road cycling unsafe or illegal, seek to overcome such barriers with safe and direct solutions. [Responsibilities: territorial authorities, Transit NZ,  Land Transport NZ, ECan.]

Lobby Central Government to rescind the law which prohibits the use of footpaths by cyclists.
This law may have been appropriate in the era in which it was passed when people used to walk to get around and when traffic was much lighter and slower- moving than it is in today's world.
This by-law is obsolete and needs to be reviewed and rescinded.
The use of bicycle bells and the installation of convex mirrors and other devices should be encouraged. 


See also :

A precedent exists for those who want to ride on what are currently designated in New Zealand as ‘footpaths’ with Queensland allowing cyclists to enjoy the right to choose to use them with the following guide lines:
Riding on a footpath or shared path (s250)

You must:

* keep left and give way to pedestrians on footpaths and shared-use paths.

Riding to the left of oncoming bicycle riders on a path (s251)

You must:

* always ride your bike to the left of other riders coming towards you on a bikepath, footpath, separated path or shared path.

Riding on the footpath (s288)

In Queensland, cyclists of any age are allowed to:

* ride on a footpath unless prohibited by a ‘NO BICYCLES’ sign—you must give way to pedestrians and ride in a manner that does not inconvenience or endanger other footpath users.

Obeying no bicycle signs and markings (s252)

You cannot:

* ride on a road or footpath where bicycle signs or road markings specifically ban bikes.

- Well that all seems a lot more reasonable and certainly removes the angst that those less assertive and risk averse of us who choose to remove ourselves from the combat zone feel.


In Singapore:
The Cycling on Footways Study in Tampines Town From 27 May 2007 To 30 May 2008
Land Transport Authority (LTA), Traffic Police (TP) and the Tampines Grassroots Organisations (GROs) will be conducting a study in the Tampines Town to assess the feasibility of allowing cycling on footways with effect from 27 May 2007.

For more on the riding bicycles on 'footpaths' issue, see:

( D ) 1.2.12 Actively encourage cycling through travel behaviour change programmes, promotional and education activities. [Responsibilities: territorial authorities, ECan, health  boards, SPARC

Promote folding bikes in a ‘park and ride’ campaign.

Folding bikes are an important technology in the inter-modal mix as they enable commuters coming into town from the outer suburbs by car to take advantage of free parking outside the city which helps to alleviate congestion and the loss of valuable space to parking.
Folding bikes can also be carried on public transport vehicles which makes travelling by bus a lot more attractive.

 Promotion/education methods

Ideas for a billboard Utility Cycling Promotion.

To promote utility cycling a series of billboards could be (temporarily) erected at major entry points to Christchurch
Funding could be sought from Central Government, Local Territorial Authority or coordinated through cycle retail groups or levied from parking fees collected from motorists parking in the city. (see: London’s congestion levy)

1st billboard divided into 2 photographic images:
 to be placed where people who are stuck in traffic will have time to look at it.
1st picture: looking down from behind along rows of cars stuck at traffic lights with a cyclist down at the front.
(Text) “Comfort?” “Speed?”   2nd picture of a cyclist: (Text) “Freedom!”

2nd billboard placed further along the same route near the next set of traffic lights.
Large map of the area along which the traffic is moving back which extends back into the areas from which it is likely to have originated and continues on to the various destinations to which it may be going. (i.e. from out in the suburbs into the city ) Coloured routes from A to B with distances and times that could give would-be cyclists some idea of the actualities of making the change to cycling.

3rd billboard.
Technologies: Presentation of generic standard (mountain and 'road' bikes) and 'alternative' technologies:
European style commuter bikes with internal hub gearing, internal hub dynamo lighting, baskets,
Folding bikes, Electric 'power assisted' bicycles.  Benefits of cycling :health , freedom, convenience, traffic reduction, noise reduction, easy parking, Kyoto protocol.
1.2.10 Provide safe cycling training and education for all ages.
Run cycling education programs for senior citizens in conjunction with Grey Power and Age Concern.
It's unfortunate that the general unavailability of appropriate cycling technologies in New Zealand is depriving our senior citizens of the means by which they could extend their range of mobility while also keeping themselves fit while enjoying the general feeling of well-being  one gets from  riding a bicycle.

Physical methods
 1.2.6 Consider and adopt innovative designs in development of cycle facilities.
[Responsibilities: territorial authorities, Transit NZ]

Seek low cost technologies and solutions to enable all public transport vehicles to provide for the carriage of bicycles.
Investigate vertical bicycle parking hangers rather than traditional racks. 

Page 38  ( or 47 on .pdf index)
Promotion/education methods

2.2.12 Support travel demand management initiatives undertaken by individuals, business, institutions and Government. [Responsibilities: Ecan, territorial authorities, Land Transport NZ, Transit NZ.]
(Refer to section 4.3 Demand management)

Support initiatives by entrepreneurs to set up bicycle related (eg Bicycle Hire ) businesses.
Monitor, emulate and encourage initiatives being taken by Local Governments and businesses in places where utility cycling is well-established.  ( e.g. Copenhagen and Odense in Denmark. 

1.2.1 Development of networks of attractive cycling routes in urban areas, particularly in, between and around town centres,local neighbourhoods, schools and transport  interchanges to desired destinations, and to public passenger transport stops. [Responsibilities: territorial authorities, Transit NZ.]

Include routes for tourists to explore the city to encourage Bicycle hire



To read letters from the Christchurch (New Zealand's most 'cycle-friendly' city)City Council and Environment Canterbury, rejecting all of the above suggestions, click here: