Tuesday, 19 October 2021

New Zealand allocates $15.6m to get more kids on bikes

(Photo Credit: Operation World)

New Zealand Associate Transport Minister, Julie Genter, on Monday, said that the New Zealand Transport Agency will provide 15.6 million U.S. dollars over the next three years to expand the Bikes in Schools Programme.

Ms Genter said that it will also introduce cycle skills education so as to get more Kiwi kids on their bikes.

“Cycling is a fun, easy way to make exercise part of everyday life. These programmes are about giving our kids space to develop the skills and confidence to safely ride a bike.

“In the 1980s more than half of school kids walked or cycled to school; today it is less than a third,’’ Ms Genter said in a statement.

The Bikes in Schools programme involves installing a riding track within school grounds to allow students to learn and practice riding their bike in a safe area.

Schools projects typically also include a fleet of bikes, helmets and bike storage facilities, according to Genter.

Over the next three years, 6.7 million NZ dollars will be invested in support of the rollout of Bikes in Schools to approximately 120 schools across New Zealand.

This is expected to give an additional 43,000 Kiwi kids access to Bikes in Schools facilities, she said.

“Not every child has a bike at home so this will help ensure kids don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn to ride,’’ she added.

The New Zealand Transport Agency will also double funding for cycle skills training through the new BikeReady national cycling education programme.

The programme aims to deliver best practice cycle skills training, by qualified instructors to approximately 98,000 school students across the country.

“Cycle skills training is often the first experience Kiwi kids have with the road environment. It not only teaches kids how to be safe on a bike but how to be responsible road users,’’ Ms Genter said.

“More people cycling is not only good for our health and the environment, but it means fewer cars on the road and less congestion for everyone,’’ she added.

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