Children learn to be ‘Pedal Ready’
By Benedict Vasquez
Children learnt the basics of road safety in summer cycling proficiency course ‘Pedal Ready’ which kicked off its second year at Bayside school.
The course aims to teach youngsters between the ages of 10 and 13 the basics of road safety, empowering them to cycle round Gibraltar and in turn reducing rising vehicle emissions.
Conducted by six trained Pedal Ready instructors, the course consists of four different proficiency levels from zero to three, teaching the children skills, from how to balance on a bicycle to the highway code, even going into the nuance of how to maintain a bicycle.
The course helps instil confidence in youngsters and ensures that they are cycling safely.
The Minister for Transport, Paul Balban, shared his concerns regarding Gibraltar’s capacity to accommodate cyclists, and discussed the potential repercussions of encouraging children to cycle on roads.
“There is no such thing as a dangerous vehicle, only a dangerous user,” Mr Balban said.
“By educating children we aim to ease these concerns.”
The course aims to be as inclusive as possible providing bikes to those who don’t have their own and can even be adapted to support those with different mobility needs.
“Bicycles come in different forms for those with different needs,” Mr Balban said.
“However, Gibraltar is still very far back on its journey in becoming a cycling city.”
“When Redibikes were introduced, Gibraltar was not ready. Take up wasn’t huge because the perception (perhaps correctly so) was that the roads weren’t safe for cyclists; we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to bicycle lanes.”
“They died a natural death and I don’t think Gibraltar is ready for the next bike scheme.”
“The Government will not be reinvesting into such a scheme for the foreseeable future.”
Mr Balban said that the next step for ensuring Gibraltar is as accommodating as possible to cyclists was through the youth and was confident in ‘Pedal Ready’ and its ability to achieve this.
He hopes that the youth would not only pick up cycling as a form of transport but of entertainment as well.
“If we give them the tools they need to cycle, it’ll open their minds to the bicycle,” he said.
Pedal Ready did have less take up this year under the GSLA summer games program, with 30 people signing on compared to last year’s 50.
“Regardless, it’s a project that takes time and should be cherished,” Mr Balban said.
“It’s a project no one can be against.”
Benedict Vasquez is a student on work experience with the Chronicle.