It is becoming increasingly recognised in New Zealand and abroad that cycling benefits society in a number of ways including lower traffic congestion (due to fewer motor vehicles on the road network), improved health (including mortality and morbidity), reduced vehicle operating costs and improved travel times (related to efficiency in conditions of lower congestion) and reduced pollution (since active transport modes involve no emissions).
To increase the proportion of trips made by cycle it will be necessary to attract a large proportion of the general population to cycle. Studies show that a large proportion of the population who do not currently cycle for transport are willing but wary of doing so without physical protection from high-speed or high-volume motor traffic.
Therefore, it is necessary to provide connected routes with provisions that are suitable to the surrounding traffic environment.
It is necessary that these provisions be not only perceived as safe (to attract new users) but also that they provide a high level of actual safety (i.e. with low crash rates). The NZ Cycling Safety Panel (2014) concluded “the number one priority that will do the most towards achieving the ultimate vision and in the shorter term reduce the incidence of cycling crashes, is providing improved cycling infrastructure, particularly in urban areas where the great majority of crashes occur.”