Scooter training for school kids

Kids who scoot to school are being given specialised training.

Greater Wellington regional council has launched a scooter training programme in schools that will reach about 1000 pupils this year. The programme will cost about $4500 a year, with half the tab picked up by the New Zealand Transport Agency and half by the council.

The programme is being run in partnership with Micro Scooters.The training programme was trialled in six schools late last year and was designed to teach children safe practices, such as handling skills, traffic awareness and footpath etiquette, sustainable transport manager Melanie Thornton said.

It was developed after research into travel habits found more than 7 per cent of pupils were riding scooters to school.

It was about instilling safety messages in children, she said. ''[Kids] go quite fast along footpaths, but [not] recognising that cars come out of driveways."

The trial programme last year taught about 400 children at six schools. It taught children aged five to eight.

Lower Hutt's Rata St School was part of the trial, and teacher Essie Russell said the pupils responded ''really positively'' to the training.

The main focus was balance, braking and using feet for balance, which was really helpful for younger children, she said.

''Especially for some of those kids who are just given a scooter and told off you go.''

She would be keen to have further sessions on road safety issue.

Ms Thornton said the council was also running a cycle safety programme, teaching both child and adult riders cycling skills.

The council has received Road Safety Trust funding of $211,000 over 3 years which will fund 750 youths and 810 adults to get on-road skills.

Further Kiwisport funding of $107,000 over 3 years will fund off-road training to 7600 children.

Contact Katie Chapman
Wellington reporter
Twitter: @katiechapman28

The Dominion Post