Bike Waikato May 2024 Newsletter

In this newsletter from Bike Waikato:

  • The Road to Nowhere – Our Long Term Plan Submission and the Struggle to Connect our Network
  • Bike Valet Opportunities in June
  • Other Going-on in June – Bike Maintenance Workshops in Thames/Coromandel, the Good Union Autumn Roll, Big Bike Film Night ENCORE in Hamilton

The Road to Nowhere – Our Long Term Plan Submission and the Struggle to Connect our Network

The Road to Nowhere is a concrete arch bridge set in lush native bush in Whanganui National Park. Built in 1935/36, the hope was that vehicle access would connect new settlers to the Mangapurua area with the Whanganui river highway and beyond. Due to the unsuitability of the land for farming, construction of roads to the bridge were halted as people left the area. The bridge now stands alone, a symbol of broken dreams for returned servicemen, but a popular cycling and walking destination.

Bridge to Nowhere. Photo from the Department of Conservation.

The bridge remains absent of cars, not because the bridge isn’t functional, but because it leads to nowhere – much like many city cycle lanes.

Retrofitting a city that has built streets for cars for more than a century is difficult. We are desperately playing catch up, reprioritising space to connect communities but only at the rate that political will and funds allow. It is not uncommon to be happily biking along then find that the lane ends suddenly. Gaps in the network are common at major intersections, outside shopping centres, around bus stops, not to mention busy urban streets where lanes can be completely absent. The bridge does not work if the roads do not lead there. Our cycle lanes will not work if they do not connect together. Despite advocates like you, I and passionate council staff, we still have a disconnected system where many of us do not feel safe. When surveyed, approximately 60% of the community say they would get out on a bike if they felt safe doing so.

Bike Waikato is committed to advocacy for safer streets for everyone – and that includes being a voice for everyone who wants the option of using a bike to get to school, work, or play. That is why 2024 has been a busy year for our committee, representing members in submissions to central and local governments. As well as a change in policy direction at a national level, some local elected members are looking for an excuse not to invest in cycling infrastructure. At our verbal submission for the Hamilton City Council Long Term Plan, we were asked why we should invest in cycle lanes when there has been a 0% increase in people biking. This claim (by Cr Wilson) is completely unsubstantiated. He went on to question the claim that the majority of the community support cycling and would get out on a bike if they felt safe doing so, despite this data and more coming from Hamilton City Council’s own strategic documents.

We all know more people are biking, especially with the uptake in e-bikes. However, we do know that perception of safety is key to getting people on bikes – and when the network is incomplete – when the bridge has no roads – the risk is perceived as too high.

If we stop work on the Biking plan and shelve projects like the long anticipated School Link, we will be left with under-utlised pieces of infrastructure instead of a well connected network that people feel confident will get them where they need to go. Councils are deliberating their Long Term Plans in June, and later this year we’ll receive news from Waka Kotahi about other funding for cycling programmes. We will continue to advocate when we can and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made a submission either to the Government Policy Statement on Transport earlier this year or to their local council Long Term Plan. 

If you have identified any gaps where you like to ride we would love to know about it and help work with the Council to get it improved under our Ungapthemap program. If you’ve done the Bridge to Nowhere cycle trail, we would love to hear about your experience. 

The network is on its way, but there is still a long way to go. Map from Hamilton City Council.

Bike Valet Opportunities in June

Warm up before the game!

We’re proudly supporting ‘Bike to Sport’, a new Hamilton City Council initiative to encourage more kids and their parents to bike to their local sports games. Their cycling education team will be at Jansen Park and Discovery Park on the dates below to give out free bike checks, and safety gear such as bells, high-vis vests, backpack covers and puncture repair kits. Those who bike in will get a free hot drink – remember your keep cup!

  • Saturday 8 June 2024, 8:30am-1pm, Jansen Park, Hillcrest
  • Saturday 15 June 2024, 8:30am-1pm, Discovery Park, Rototuna

Read more here: Bike to Sport.

Maanawatia a Matariki

Hamilton City is celebrating Matariki for another year in 2024 ✨

Bike Waikato will be there to support people arriving by bicycle with our free Bike Valet secure bicycle parking. Join us at Hamilton Lake Domain on Friday 28 June from 2pm until late, and beat by traffic by traveling by bicycle! More details to be confirmed.

Photo from the Matariki ki Waikato Festival Mānawatia a Matariki 2023 event held at Hamilton Lake in Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand on Saturday, 15 July, 2023. Photo by Mike Walen / KeyImagery Photography. Copyright: © Te Ohu Whakaita Charitable Trust / Hamilton City Council.

Other Going-on in June

Bike Maintenance Workshops in Thames/Coromandel

Our friends in the East Waikato (Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, and Matamata-Piako) are running some free basic bike maintenance workshops throughout June and July. See details below, and make sure to bring your own bike and helmet!

The Good Union Autumn Roll

Join Bicycle Revolution Cambridge and Good Union for another Good Union roll on Sunday 9th June!

It’s a lovely jaunt around the Cambridge Cycle Trails, then back to the Good Union for some Hot Chips 🍟 (kindly provided by our friends at the GU!!) and a couple of spot prizes! 😉This is a nice little afternoon out for an easy roll, great for the family… old and young!

Meet at 3pm, at Cambridge Lake Te Ko Utu. Find more information here.

Big Bike Film Night ENCORE in Hamilton

Did you miss the first Big Bike Film Night of the year in February? No need to worry, because Big Bike Film Night is hosting another film night at Lido Cinema on 10 June. Find more details and buy your tickets here.

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