Safe space opens for young cyclists learning to ride

Michael (left) and Conall Fenton try out the new learn to ride track in Burwood. Photo: Supplied
Michael (left) and Conall Fenton try out the new learn to ride track in Burwood. Photo: Supplied
Learning how to ride a bike and navigating road rules just got a whole lot easier for children in Christchurch.

The Longview Pl cul-de-sac in Burwood has been transformed into a learn to ride track complete with road markings, stop and give way signs, pedestrian crossings and mini obstacles.

Found at the red zone’s East x East space, the circular track enables children to learn road rules on their bikes and scooters without the pressure of other cars in a fun environment.

The project was organised by Life in Vacant Spaces, which works with community groups by bringing their ideas to life for events and activities at underutilised spaces.

Said LiVS director Rachael Shiels: “The project has been so rewarding in terms of community involvement and getting this off the ground. It’s a really fantastic thing for the east, and for these communities who have been through so much.”

Including the track, a fix-it station will be available to repair bikes, and children can attend workshops to learn road rules.

(From left) – East x East co-ordinator Hannah Watkinson, Burwood councillor Phil Mauger, Coastal...
(From left) – East x East co-ordinator Hannah Watkinson, Burwood councillor Phil Mauger, Coastal Ward Community Board member Jo Zervos and Citycare Group’s Thomas Parackal at the new learn to ride track.
Activities within the 9ha area was a collaboration between Land Information NZ and Life in Vacant Spaces, with funding grants from the George Sevicke Jones Trust.

As the landowner of the Crown-owned red zone area, LINZ has approved LiVS’ short-term use of the space.

Volunteers from the Student Volunteer Army, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, Cashmere High School, Christchurch Girls’ High School, Papanui High School and assistance from the City Care group helped install signs, patch potholes, painting and planting.

The track was first proposed in 2018 after the community wanted more safe spaces suitable for families, bikes, and were dog-friendly.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Said Shiels: “Kids are small and easy to miss by cars, so they’ll be able to learn with family and friends out in the open without doing it in ‘real life’.”

The learn to ride track will be in place for two years, with options to remain longer if successful.

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