BikeReady programme a success for Whanganui schools

Asia's Tech News Daily

BikeReady programme a success for Whanganui schools

A further $600,000 will be put into bike education in Whanganui.

Almost 7000 Whanganui students have been through the BikeReady programme delivered by Mā Ake Let’s Go, part of Whanganui District Council’s active transport programme, and the $618,850 from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will fund it through to 2024.

Mā Ake Let’s Go is in its fifth year of delivering the BikeReady programme to all Whanganui schools.

Let’s Go active transport facilitator Norman Gruebsch said 31 Whanganui schools had participated, involving 6814 students.

Of those, 1454 students had gone on to complete grade two – using quiet streets and shared pathways to get around town.

“The Whanganui Multisport Club Ltd has done a great job of delivering the BikeReady programme to the community. As a key partner, they deserve much credit for BikeReady’s success in Whanganui during the past five years.”

Gruebsch said one of the highlights had been the organisation’s input into moving students from basic skills in grade one, to gaining confidence and knowledge at grade two, to regularly using cycling as a transport option.

Grade two learning has involved group rides along Te Tuaiwi shared pathway, with students demonstrating good cycling etiquette, becoming familiar with the shared pathway and learning how to cross safely at intersections.

Let’s Go coach Greg Fromont said watching the students’ skills and road abilities grow had been rewarding.

“The bonus is watching their confidence and self-esteem grow with it.”

Fellow Let’s Go coach Elaine Baker agrees.

“It is such a great buzz to watch a kid light up when they put everything together and can ride all by themselves.”

Te Tuaiwi is a three-metre-wide sealed concrete pathway that provides a safe route across Whanganui City Bridge, through town and past some central schools.

It links with other city pathways, including the London St shared pathway and is part of a growing urban cycleway network.

Cyclist movements along Te Tuaiwi peak around school hours, with statistics showing more than 100 cyclist counts per day on average using Te Tuaiwi.

Whanganui Intermediate School principal Katherine Ellery said the programme’s focus on using shared pathways had led to more students cycling to and from the intermediate school.

“We regularly have over 100 bikes and almost as many scooters at the school,” Ellery said.

Whanganui Multisport Club Ltd’s current three-year contract finishes at the end of this school year.

The Mā Ake Let’s Go programme contract will go out for tender soon with interested organisations encouraged to submit.

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