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Auckland Transport

Auckland cycling account

This cycling account, the first of its kind in Auckland, provides a snapshot of #AKLBIKELIFE in 2015, presenting interesting facts and case studies.

It emulates similar reports produced in Copenhagen, Melbourne and other cities around the world.

Print the Auckland Cycling Account (PDF 5.14MB)

$200 Million for cycling in Auckland

 2015 has been a watershed year for cycling in Auckland, with the announcement of over $200 million to be invested over the three years between 2015 and 2018. This is a bold new era as we, Auckland Transport, work with Auckland Council and the Government through the NZ Transport Agency to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city.

The aim is to create an environment where Aucklanders have more transport choices available to them.

Included in the $200 million is a substantial investment in new infrastructure and importantly, a behaviour change programme to maximise the benefits of that capital investment. While the Auckland cycle network is still largely in development, we’re already seeing increasing growth in cycle numbers. This is just the beginning.

Reasons to invest in cycling

  • To create more liveable neighbourhoods.
  • To make it easier and safer for people to get around.
  • For a healthier, more active population.
  • To boost local economies.
  • To reduce our impact on the environment.

During consultation undertaken by Auckland Council, cycling was the second most mentioned area in need of more transport focus.

Graph showing the consultation results on cycling

Graph showing the consultation results on cycling

Fun fact - the right idea
An Auckland study estimated that creating cycle-friendly streets yields benefits 10 to 25 times greater than the initial cost.

Research shows that in 2015, 11% of Aucklanders rode a bike at least once a week, while a further 16% rode occasionally. That's up on 2014 and most of this growth is due to an increase in recreational cycling.

Fun fact - playing it safe
ACC figures from 2014/15 show that cycling results in fewer injuries than rugby, soccer or netball.

Why Aucklanders cycle

  • 65% Exercise.
  • 54% Recreation.
  • 21% Shopping.
  • 14% Friends and family.
  • 12% Commuting.

Why Aucklanders don't cycle

  • 43% said that current lack of separation between cars and bikes puts them off riding.
  • 50% of the research group said that safety was the reason they wouldn't swap their car for a bike.
  • Our research shows that the typical Auckland cyclist is young, male and European.

Ladies and gentlemen

The percentage of people on bikes who are female is an important indicator of how safe cycling is in any city.

  • 24% of Auckland’s riders are female.
  • The split between people who cycle occasionally is closer to 50/50.

Graph showing how Auckland compares globally when it comes to cycling

Graph showing how Auckland compares globally when it comes to cycling

Cycling participation in Auckland

Census figures show that over 6300 Aucklanders cycled to work in 2013 (1.2%), almost a third of whom were cycling into the city centre.

Destination areaNumberPercentage
Waitemata 2010 1.9%
Albert-Eden 456 1.7%
Maungakiekie-Tamaki 444 0.9%
Devonport-Takapuna 405 2.0%
Upper Harbour 288 1.0%

Cycling to school

Just 2% of Auckland’s schoolchildren cycle to school.

  • 4.4% Intermediate.
  • 1.8% Primary.
  • 1.9% Secondary.

Bike to soccer

Bike to Soccer has transformed one North Shore soccer club from having a congested car park every Saturday morning, to a half-empty car park with over 140 families riding bikes to get to their soccer games. Working in partnership with North Shore United Football Club and Bike Devonport with support from Bike Barn and The Onsite Café, the initiative has inspired a complete change at the club with approximately 60 fewer cars arriving at the ground each week.

Auckland Transport created a local map showing the recommended routes for riding to the grounds and supplied temporary bike parking and mechanics to tune people’s bikes. Free coffee was offered to those who rode to soccer and the club promoted it to all their members. Each week, the number of people riding bikes grew, improving safety for everybody accessing the grounds whilst providing the perfect warm-up for the players.

Fun fact - Back to the future
If cycling to school was at 1990 levels, there would be up to 39,000 fewer car trips per day in Auckland during the morning peak.

Opportunity for growth

Map comparing moderate and highest current cycle use

Map comparing moderate and highest current cycle use

We estimate that there are over 258,000 Aucklanders who could realistically cycle for everyday trips if the conditions were right. We see that as a massive opportunity for the city. The potential for growth in cycling numbers lies in the proximity to infrastructure and the city centre, as well as population demographics.  

Here's a quick look at the growth of cycling in the inner city over the last year: 

 Area Bike trips per day Changes from 2014
 Tamaki Dr  1,135 7.0% increase
 Northwestern Cycleway (Kingsland)  516 16.3% increase
 Grafton Bridge  478 7.6% increase

The popular northwestern

The Northwestern Cycleway is our second busiest commuter route behind Tamaki Drive. In 2011, 308 bikes per day were recorded on the Northwestern at Kingsland and by 2015, this figure had increased by 67% to an average of 516 riders per day.

The route can attract around 1000 trips on a busy weekday.

Build and they will come

 We opened the Grafton Gully and Beach Rd cycleways in 2014 and the results speak for themselves.

We saw a 50% increase in the number of people cycling along the Grafton Gully / Symonds St corridor.

29% of people cycling along the Grafton Gully cycleway described themselves as new to cycling in 2015.

8.7 out of the 10 – the average safety rating people gave for the new cycleway.

Education is the key

We ran 186 events and training courses in 2015.

8539 children participated in our schools programme.

756 adults received cycle training.

I had never been on a bike before my first session. After these three sessions, I can now ride a bike quite comfortably. It was always my dream to ride a bike and thanks to all of you my dream is now a reality.

Seena, adults beginner bike session participant

Crash stats

In 2015, the number of crashes involving people on bikes increased slightly compared to the previous year. As cycling becomes more popular, there may be an increase in accidents involving people on bikes. However, over time we expect that these incidents will decrease when total cycling hours are taken into account.

Graph showing Auckland cycling crash stats

Graph showing Auckland cycling crash stats

Pie graph showing where cycling crashes occur

Pie graph showing where cycling crashes occur

Launching the Lightpath

Our highlight of the year was unveiling Te Ara I Whiti Lightpath and the Nelson St cycleway on 3 December. Affectionately dubbed 'The Pink Lightpath' by the media, the Lightpath has received massive attention worldwide. The NZTA, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport project was bold, involving the recycling of an unused motorway off-ramp, the construction of an architecturally brilliant bridge connecting to Canada St and the removal of a lane of traffic from Nelson St.  

Within a month, it was already proving very popular with almost 30,000 cycle trips recorded in December 2015.

Other cycle paths opened in 2015

  • Upper Harbour Drive (AT).
  • Te Atatu Underpass (NZTA and Well-Connected Alliance).
  • Westhaven Promenade (Panuku Development Auckland).
  • Nelson St Cycleway phase 1 (NZTA and AT).
  • Beach Road pase 2 (Auckland Council and AT).
  • Carlton Gore Road (AT).

Performance against our targets

  From nine permanent count sites across Auckland, we exceeded our morning peak target, indicating that there has been good growth in commuter cycling in particular. We narrowly missed the target for total overall cycle trips in 2014/15.

Graph showing our cycling performance against our actual target

Graph showing our cycling results against our targets

What to expect in 2016

  • Quay Street Cycleway (complete).
  • Nelson St phase 2.

Also ahead in 2016:

  • Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr – phase one.
  • Mt. Roskill Safe Routes.
  • Mangere Future Streets.
  • Waterview shared path largely complete.
  • Minor safety improvements.

We will also be consulting on other projects including improvements to Karangahape Road, Great North Road, Ian Mckinnon Drive, Waitemata safe routes and the New Lynn to Avondale shared path.

Looking to the future

This coming year is going to be a significant one for cycling in Auckland. More Aucklanders than ever are discovering the benefits of getting around by bike and to meet the demand, we’ll be investing in some iconic new cycleways. The Quay Street cycleway will open in July 2016, providing a high quality connection along the waterfront for people on bikes, whilst smoothing traffic flow and giving the many people who walk along the waterfront more space. We will be opening the first part of the cycleway from Glen Innes to the City Centre, and the Waterview cycleway will be largely completed. These will be some of Auckland’s most scenic cycleways and whilst they’ll make fast connections for people to get to work or school, they will be a fantastic resource for all Aucklanders to enjoy. In Mangere, our signature project, Te Ara Mura, will provide safe and healthy access to the town centre for the people of Mangere.

To support the investment in our new network, we’ll be launching a campaign which will bring the network to life and demonstrate the role cycling has to play in making our city a better place to live. Our programme will give more people an opportunity to try cycling through events like Open Streets, and will focus on the schools and communities nearest our planned infrastructure.

Finally, in 2016 we will be releasing our strategy for cycling in Auckland. This Cycling Account will be an annual reflection of how we are progressing with the actions in the strategy, demonstrating how we are providing travel choice to more Aucklanders making our streets safer for everyone, and how we are delivering on our promise to make Auckland a truly world class city.

Map showing Auckland central cycleways

Auckland central cycleways map


For more information

Contact Auckland Transport