Not all that rosy for NZ cyclists

Reading RS Murthi's description of cycling to work in Malaysia, it sounds as if the conditions for cyclists there are very similar to those in New Zealand. Although New Zealand has an international image of being 'environmentally enlightened', the reality, particularly in the cities, is unfortunately not what the tourist brochures would have you believe.

Conditions for cyclists in New Zealand cities have steadily worsened over the last 50 years as our cities were redesigned around the private car. The numbers of cyclists on the roads have dropped drastically in the last few decades, with the result that drivers are less and less skilled in sharing the road with them.

While we now have government policy in place at both national and local levels to encourage cycling and try to reverse these unfortunate trends, the amount of funding committed to cycling projects is pitifully low compared with the huge sums still being spent on road building.

There is much to be done, and at the rate things are progressing at the moment, it will take a very long time. The continuing rise of global oil prices may do something to force New Zealand to live up to its 'clean green' image, but only time will tell.

The writer is secretary of the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN), Auckland.