Kenakena School kids learn about cycle safety. PHOTO CREDIT: NZTA
This year 73 schools across the Wellington Region jumped on board with Pedal Ready, providing children with the skills to cycle safely.
Greater Wellington Regional Council Pedal Ready Coordinator Tessa Coppard says cycle skills are spreading up to the Kapiti Coast with Pedal Ready having run sessions at Paekakariki School and soon to be working in Otaki schools for the first time.
"We will start students off with Grade 1 which introduces many skills including helmet and bike checks, steering and manoeuvring safely, looking all around, signalling and stopping quickly with control," Tessa says.
Pedal Ready is a free programme with 35 instructors region-wide who encourage children and adults to either up-skill on their current cycle knowledge or to hop on a bike for the first time.
Tessa, along with Pedal Ready's Programme Lead Matt Shipman, also trains instructors nationally to the BikeReady standard.
"We like to make the sessions 20 percent talking and 80 percent riding so there is a lot of action for the kids. When they get to the Grade 2 stage they get to experience what it is like to bike on the road, while learning in a safe environment, and by the end of the sessions they feel empowered.
"We also have a fleet of bikes available which instructors can take to lower decile schools to ensure everyone is included in the training."
Greater Wellington Sustainable Transport Committee Chair Barbara Donaldson says teaching children about sustainable travel is now more important than ever.
"It is great to see children becoming more confident on bikes. With climate change and the need to reduce emissions, active transport like cycling will become a priority. These courses could create life-long, positive habits."