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Hello Wellington Magic-makers! By magic, I’m talking about sensible urban policy, not the stunning effects of those Weta artists. That’s right, this is directed at those in a position to make those changes that make our lives a bit better.
Last October, a discussion was started on this blog encouraging the implementation of bike racks on Wellington buses. Consider this a check-in. How’s that process going?
We all know that Wellington presents the occasional cycling challenge. Whether it’s a gusting headwind, a long haul home to Brooklyn, or the simple giddiness of a good night out, every Wellington cyclist has likely faced a leg of her journey that just didn’t seem surmountable. Strong-willed pedalers that we are, we keep pushing because, absent a good friend with a van, there’s really no other choice.
After a raucous Sevens, accessed by bike around Evans Bay into a killer northerly, I wasn’t too concerned about riding the wind home. But, let’s say the wind shifted, or I injured myself, or my tire blew out. I’d have had no choice but to leave my bike behind in town, among the cast of Pac-man, a herd of gingerbread men and questionable ballerin(o)as. Not that the crowds aren’t trustworthy, but Wellington is pretty limited when it comes to bike parking and who doesn’t prefer to keep important possessions in their possession and not locked up to street poles in the middle of a drunken revelry?
The simple solution, already implemented by Christchurch, is to install bike racks on buses. Bike racks on the front of buses are a common sight in cities across North America and Europe. They’re easy to use and are used often. Ensuring access to public transportation to cyclists AND their bikes complements the existing public transportation system by encouraging greater use of the transit system, improving access to stops, decreasing journey time, and diminishing safety concerns for late night transit users worried about a dark walk home.
Regular cyclists get a boost to the distance they can travel and some relief if they want to shorten their trip. More importantly, potential new riders discover a world of possibility. Maybe the bus stop is a tramp and a half from home. By bike, that slog is not only manageable, but enjoyable. Maybe you like the sound of a morning ride into work, but by evening, after the weather’s shifted and the boss made you work late, you don’t even know if you can grip your bars. Maybe you just like the idea that there’s a bus out there for you should you need it.
Racks on buses enable public transportation to complement the clean, green efforts of committed cyclists. In the previous post, the issue of price was raised as an obstacle to their use. According to a great resource created by Cycle Action Network, the per rack cost of about $2000 seems like a pretty low cost investment in Wellington’s cycling infrastructure. They come from Sportsworks, the go-to bike-rack maker for many municipalities worldwide. Or, maybe the racks can be sourced locally. After all, if those Weta magicians can make these, they can probably build a better bike rack too.
Get on board, Wellington. It’s time we all get rolling together.