The ‘Go by bike’ event took place across Tasman this, encouraging people to ditch their car in favour of their bike to promote a different way of getting around Richmond.
Tasman District Councillor Dana Wensley says that the day is a great opportunity to talk about other modes of transport from cars.
“We really need to change the picture of our transport system,” she says.
“We can’t expect to get in cars and drive 200m down the road anymore,”
Dana says that as Richmond is growing, and congestion is becoming more of an issue, we need to start thinking more seriously about other ways to get around.
A survey undertaken in 2019 as part of the council’s active transport strategy, found that most people drive their own cars but would prefer to cycle, and that time, distance and safety were three of the reasons that prevented people from using active transport.
Along with this, the majority of those surveyed said that they wanted more investment in dedicated walkways and cycleways.
Dana, who has made it her goal to walk into council meetings, says that the benefits of having more active transport infrastructure, like dedicated cycleways, outweigh the negatives.
“It’s great for your health, and community well-being. There’s no real downside.”
Another advocate for active transport is Councillor Kit Maling, who’s been riding his e-bike every day since October last year.
“The bike is great. It takes me 15 minutes to get into work.”
“With our cycleways we’re very lucky. It’s going to take a while before the government will give us some funding to fix our congestion, we’ve got to plan.”
Kit says that anyone thinking about pulling the bike out of the garage should just go for it.
“It’s just so easy. We’ve only really got three months here where the weather can be bad, but if you can take your car off the road it makes a big difference. It helps the environment, and it helps out congestion.
“And it’s great exercise.”