Childrens Geographies

22 FEB 2022
A recent study examines something we intuitively know - that safer cycle routes, between more locations, mean that children will cycle more often, and further.

Read - Children's physical activity and active travel - it covers a lot of what we should be focussing on in supporting the health and welfare of our tamariki.

"A higher density of cycling routes was associated with an increase in the overall extents of mobility. Children whose ASs (Activity Spaces) demonstrated a dense cycling network were more likely to have polycentric activity spaces and travel further from home."

There are numerous studies showing that children and adults who lead more active lives have better health outcomes. We need to do more to encourage active tamariki.

It is a failing of CCC and Waka Kotahi that they have emphasised the big budget Major Cycle Routes which better serve adult commuters, and have not completed the neighbourhood links that create safer cycle routes for tamariki to access schools.

Dense Cycle Routes suggest that more cross-links are required for the radial Major Cycle Routes. This can mean simply more "Sharrow" safe road markings. Or painted cycle lanes with flexy bollards along connecting streets. Safer road crossings are needed along these cross-links - ideally signalised. Perhaps formal pedestrian & cycle crossings, or at minimum a central refuge with decent signs with "Attention Drivers - look for cyclists". Also wouldn't it be great if cross hatch road markings would remind drivers to not block cross streets? This is not common in New Zealand but is used widely elsewhere.

If these low-cost interventions (mainly road markings) are focussed around schools we would get safer and better outcomes for student cyclists. And surely a focus on school access is key to encouraging students to continue to cycle when they are adults?

Safe networks within neighbourhoods, across roads, and between Major Cycle Routes enhances the use of cycles for everyone. This is the missing link.
By Hab3