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Eastern Bay schools join BikeReady initiative
14 September 2018
Eastern Bay schools join BikeReady initiative
Eastern Bay Road Safety Programme partners, ACC and NZTA, have invested in a national cycling education system through a programme called BikeReady. The BikeReady programme was established to assist people to develop skills suited to their stage of cycling, from learning bike-handling skills in primary school, through to learning to ride safely on the road. 
The BikeReady programme will commence with schools that are already participating in the Bikes in Schools Programme, including James Street School, Allandale School, Apanui School, Te Kura o Paroa, Ashbrook School (Ōpōtiki), Ōhope Beach Primary School and Matatā Public School, with other primary and intermediate schools to follow. Whakatāne Bluelight, which has extensive experience with cycle skills education in schools, has been contracted to deliver this programme, on behalf of the Eastern Bay Road Safety Programme and Whakatāne District Council.
Whakatāne District Council Community Development Advisor, Lorreen Hartley says the programme aligns with the aspirations of the community, which were shared through the Whakatāne Ki Mua community vision feedback process. 
“Our community told us that they want people to be and feel safe when they cycle to school,” says Ms Hartley.  “The priorities for BikeReady will support this vision, with the inclusion of cycle skills training for 800 children, an inter-school cycle challenge and workforce development for teachers.”
The BikeReady Programme will complement a wider project the Whakatāne District Council has underway, in collaboration with Whakatāne Ki Mua and NZTA, to encourage different modes of transport and understand the barriers preventing people from leaving their cars at home. 
A Walking and Cycling Steering Group has also been created in response to the high number of walking and cycling-related submissions received through the Council’s long-term planning process.   The Group is undertaking a number of projects, including a review of the Council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy, the Western Extension Cycleway Business Case and exploration of the mountain-bike park initiative.  Community and key stakeholder engagement will be an important part of these initiatives.
Photo: from left, Cashy Ball - WDC, Whakatane Bluelight’s Richard Hamer, Constable Helen Hay, and Lorreen Hartley.