Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today announced that the NZ Transport Agency will provide $23 million over the next three years to expand the Bikes in Schools and cycle skills education 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,” said Julie Anne Genter.
“In the 1980s more than half of school kids walked or cycled to school; today it’s less than a third. We want to turn that around.”
The Bikes in Schools programme involves installing a riding track within school grounds to allow the student to learn and practise riding their bike in a safe area. Schools projects typically also include a fleet of bikes, helmets and bike storage facilities. Over the next three years, $6.7 million will be invested in support the rollout of Bikes in School to approximately 120 schools across New Zealand. This is expected to give an additional 43,000 Kiwi kids access to Bikes in Schools facilities.
“New funding for Bikes in Schools will be increasingly targeted towards low-decile primary schools. 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,” said Julie Anne Genter.
The NZ Transport Agency will also double funding for cycle skills training through the new BikeReady national cycling education programme. BikeReady 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.
“The Government is also investing to make our roads safer for kids walking and cycling to school. A total of $390 million is earmarked for walking and cycling paths and safety initiatives out to 2021.
“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,” said Julie Anne Genter.
(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)