Transport Minister Simon Bridges and ACC Minister Michael Woodhouse have welcomed an initiative for the development of a national cycling education system aimed at getting more kids riding bikes safely.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today that the Transport Agency and ACC have approved an initial $2.7 million of funding to establish the system by June 2018. The total investment including delivery of cycling education is expected to be around $24 million over four years.
“Cycling is an important life skill and we want to make sure that all kids in New Zealand have the opportunity to learn to ride a bike safely from an early age,” Mr Bridges says.
“Cycling is a great way to get around, to stay active, or to just have fun with friends and family. Kids love to ride bikes but in recent years there has been a significant drop off in kids cycling. This new system is designed to help reverse that trend and establish a safe system approach to cycling that will see a return of more kids getting around by bike every day.
“The Government’s $333 million Urban Cycleway Programme is creating safer and more connected shared paths and cycleways throughout New Zealand.
“As we improve our environment for people on bikes and more people start to cycle, we need to make sure they have the skills, experience and confidence required to enjoy the ride,” Mr Bridges says.
“Over the last five years, bike related injury claims to ACC have increased by 25 per cent, so ensuring people have the skills to ride safely is paramount,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Many Councils around New Zealand are already delivering some cycling education. This new national approach, designed and delivered jointly by central and local government, and the community, will build on the great work already underway. This is all about making it more effective and reaching more people and being able to assess its impact on improving safety and encouraging more people to ride.”
The system, aligned with the school curriculum, is focused on giving people the skills they need at the right time in their life – from learning bike handling skills in primary school through to learning road rules and how to ride on-road when they are ready. The system will also offer opportunities for adults who haven’t ridden a bike for a while with programmes designed to help them improve their skills on both standard and e-bikes.
“We’re developing this national programme using very best practice, some of it home grown right here in New Zealand. We are leading the world with our Bikes in Schools programme,” Mr Bridges says.
“By 2021 our goal by is to double the number of children currently receiving on-road training and to double the number of schools running the Bikes in Schools programme.”