As one of the first individual pieces from the recent Cycling Summit in Auckland, here’s the video of Paul McArdle talking about Bike On’s ‘Bikes in Schools‘ programme, including their recent projects in Auckland.
The project particularly concentrates on low-decile schools, and Paul highlights how one of the greatest shocks to him was how low the level of bicycle access among Maori children and Pacifica children in southern Auckland were compared to the average levels of bike access in other areas. With some other speakers during the summit also highlighting how more projects are needed to encourage those groups to cycle more, this was a timely reminder.
Of course Paul not only had worrying facts. The Bikes in Schools program – of giving primary school kids access to bicycles and bike tracks to ride in school grounds – now has over 10 schools around New Zealand, and another 20 or so are in preparation due Bike On and their sponsor’s non-profit efforts. Every school reports great increases not only in physical health, but also in improving feelings of confidence in general. And while not part of the project itself, more and more kids in these schools are wanting to ride not just in school, but to school, and schools are starting to support this more by calling for cycle facilities.