Cycle skills instructor Rob King providing safety tips to student Jayde Dougan. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

ELISA VORSTER

elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

If you have driven down Ngaumutawa Rd in the past two weeks, you might have wondered who that bike gang in fluorescent jackets riding around is.

The answer is students from Solway Primary School have been practicing their bike skills with help from instructors under the Pedal Ready programme funded by Greater Wellington Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Donned in high visibility vests and helmets, the pupils build their bike skills and learn how to ride with confidence on the roads, creating awareness, and respecting other road users.

Local cycle skill instructors Clive Peters and Rob King go around the region’s primary schools to deliver what they believe to be a valuable programme for students.

Mr King and Mr Peters were out yesterday teaching the students grade two of the programme, which saw the kids progress from basic skills on school grounds, to learning how to ride safely on the roads by themselves.

The pupils took it in turns to ride one by one from the bottom of Edwin Feist Pl to the intersection where they would indicate and give way before turning onto Ngaumutawa Rd, under the watchful eyes of the two instructors.

They would then give the kids feedback, before sending them back out again to keep practicing until the instructors were satisfied they could perform the manoeuvre safely and confidently.

Mr King said the programme helped build confidence and basic skills, as well as teaching the fundamentals of the road code which will help the kids ride safely to school, as well as set them up for driving a car.

“This is the next generation who are going to get their drivers’ licences,” Mr King said.

“Hopefully, this will foster better driving and teach them to be more courteous to other users.”

Mr Peters heard about the programme at a road safety seminar after a close call with a bus driver and agreed to become an instructor.

Mr King said he became involved after a friend mentioned it to him, and as a fellow cyclist, he saw the merits of it.

“As a stay at home dad, I also felt I had a vested interest.”

Solway School principal Mark Bridges said the school was fortunate to receive great advice around road safety from community education constable Julie Orr, and the Pedal Ready programme helped build on what the kids were already learning.

“It’s really beneficial because the roads are getting busier.

“It teaches them the correct road rules and safety, and lots of practical cycling skills.”

The school’s participation in the Pedal Ready programme aligned with Movin’ March, which celebrates students who walk, cycle and scoot to school to teach the benefits they can gain from active travel.