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Skilling up in cycle safety

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 one of this year’s new schools was Johnsonville’s Raroa Normal Intermediate, where 670 students partici-pated.

“This year we taught the Raroa students 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.

“We were keen to get schools in the Northern and Western Suburbs signed up this year because there were a number of students in the area who did not have much cycling experience.”

Pedal Ready has now done cycle training at Cashmere Avenue School, Ngaio School, Khandal-lah School and Northland School.

Tessa, along with Pedal Ready’s Programme Lead Matt Shipman, also trains cycle 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 empow-ered.

“We also have a fleet of bikes available which instructors can take to lower decile schools to en-sure everyone is included in the training.”

Tessa says it is important to encourage adults to upskill in cycling which is why Pedal Ready runs free ‘Cycle in the City’ training courses.

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 cre-ate life-long, positive habits.”

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