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Kids cycling to school – what you need to know

1 February 2016

Kids cycling to school – what you need to know

With more children on bikes this week, cycling advocates are offering advice to parents and drivers.

“People can expect to see more children on bikes as schools reopen this week,” says Patrick Morgan from Cycling Action Network.

“Drivers need to pay extra attention, and slow down around schools.”

He says some schools have a 20 km/h speed limit in place, to reduce traffic danger.

“The Government and Councils are investing $350 million in cycling, so we will see more bike lanes with children on them.”

Mr Morgan has tips for parents to prepare children for cycling to school.

Do a skills check
Go for a ride with your child and make sure their cycling skills are ready for their ride to school. Practise pedalling, braking, turning, making eye contact, and signaling until you’re confident they are ready.

Plan a low-traffic route together
Cruise your neighbourhood for the best bike route. Do a trial run from home to school together, making sure your child knows how to negotiate intersections. If you have trouble finding a low-traffic route, contact your Council for maps that could steer you toward quieter roads.

Make sure they know the rules of the road
Practise signaling turns, using cycle lanes, giving way where required, riding predictably with traffic, and scanning the road ahead.

Check their bike and equipment
Make sure they fit the bike, and can straddle the bike frame comfotably. Check that the brakes are working, the tyres are hard, and the chain is lubricated. If unsure, check with a bike shop. Make sure their helmet fits and is in good condition.

Find local resources for young cyclists
Ask your council, school and cycling clubs if they offer bike skills courses. Some places organise bike trains, which are like carpools for young cyclists. There are also bike buddy programmes, which match you up with a mentor.

Set an example
Ride your bike to demonstrate that cycling is a convenient, quick and fun way to get around.

Resources
Pedal Ready offers free bike skills instruction in Wellington region http://pedalready.org.nz/

Auckland Transport https://at.govt.nz/cycling-walking/cycle-training-and-events/
Bike Wise https://bikewise.co.nz/
Bike buddies http://www.gw.govt.nz/bike-buddies/


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