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The Soap Box: Cycling craze is getting out of control

Author
Barry Soper ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 27 November 2018, 6:10a.m.
This cycling craze is getting out of control. Photo / Getty Images
This cycling craze is getting out of control. Photo / Getty Images

COMMENT:

While the Beehive's told the country's 48,000 primary and secondary school teachers to get on their bikes when it comes to their pay claims, they're happy enough to fork out millions of dollars to get the kids they teach on their bikes.

The Minister of Bikes (well Associate Transport Minister) Julie Anne Genter is putting our money where her mouth is, $23million to get more kids on bikes.

This woman loves bikes, she rode one to hospital to induce labour and her three-month-old baby boy is already being ferried around by pedal power in a Danish cargo trike.

It was Genter's first day back from pregnancy leave and she used it to visit a school to announce the big spend. The worry is the school principal has certainly drunk the Kool-Aid, saying that knowing how to safely ride a bike is as important as reading, writing and maths!

If that's what teachers think these days then perhaps the Government's right to cap their pay increases.

The aim is to put qualified bike riding instructors in front of 98,000 school kids, to equip schools with fleets of bikes, helmets, to build storage facilities and to create cycling tracks which will preferably include pump and skills tracks, making the riding experience more bumpy and challenging.

Whatever happened to taking the initiative yourself and learning to ride a bike by trial and error, getting a few skinned knees on the way, as you crashed on to the school's asphalt netball and tennis courts? And what happened to taking the initiative and saving the money you earned from after-school jobs to pay off your own bike and then maintain it yourself?

Genter tells us that more than half of school kids walked or biked to school in the 1980s - today it's less than a third and she wants to turn that around. It would seem these days that burden falls on the taxpayer and unfortunately the parents and the kids themselves are no longer expected to take the responsibility for what the minister says is the joy of experiencing the ancient mode of transport.

This cycling craze is getting out of control, with city councils around the country now building cycle tracks, ignoring the complaints from ratepayers who see their money being squandered on what is a minority of commuters. And the Government itself will over the next three years spend close to $400m on walking and cycling paths.

Blame John Key, he started the cycling craze, which was about the only policy of his Government's that Julie Anne Genter would have agreed with.

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