Riverlands rail trail

Last updated 18:09 02/02/2013

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Come and celebrate the completion of the Riverlands Rail Trail at the official opening tomorrow morning.

The day begins at 10am at Horton Park, Blenheim, with the ride, starting at 10.30am, heading out along the trail and back to Riverlands School for a free barbecue. Marlborough District Council mayor, Alistair Sowman, will lead the ride along the trail that connects the town with Riverlands, through to Sheffield St at the Riverland industrial site.

The trail opening will also launch this year's Bike Wise, which in the past has seen the mayor lead a Taylor River ride.

The sealed trail, in the works for two years, runs for 4km and while a final cost has not yet been finalised it is estimated to be about $200,000.

More FM and Avantiplus Blenheim have joined the Marlborough District Council to make the day happen, and there is an Avanti bike on offer.

The day is aimed at the whole family, so bring along the little ones and their bikes.

The Ride On Marlborough skills trailer and instructors will also be present, giving kids the chance to try their activities.

Council Bike Walk Marlborough co-ordinator, Robin Dunn, said that apart from giving cyclists a quick route the trails are also a good way of keeping awareness up among motorists to be on the look out for cyclists. "Blenheim's short cycle lanes are good reminders to motorists that cyclists can be on the road and they need to look out for them," said Robin.

The trail, like the Taylor River path, can be used by pedestrians, mobility scooters, skateboarders and scooters - keeping them off the road.

Riverlands School pupils also use the trail.

"The number of kids who can cycle to school has increased significantly," said Riverlands School principal, Dave Parsons.

"That's exactly what we want to achieve.

"It helps children travel safely around town and have the independence of biking by themselves as well as putting exercise in their daily routines."

Cycling routes within towns and cities are becoming an increasingly prominent feature of government town planning with Europe leading the way, said Marlborough District Council road safety co-ordinator, Robyn Blackburn. New Zealand, she said, is also moving forward with the idea.

"Safe and sustainable are two aims of the New Zealand Road Transport Association.

"It aims to encourage sustainable transport and road safety around New Zealand. There are transport planners whose job it is to look at some of vulnerable areas for users such as pedestrians and cyclists," said Robyn.

Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that by improving cycle routes, councils have increased the number of people cycling to work and school.

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- The Marlborough Express

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