Fun, safety merge at school

Last updated 13:00 26/02/2014
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MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

SAFETY FIRST: Bike and scooter safety instructor Willem Stein watches Year 4 Birchwood School pupil Hannah Trigg, 8, during the school based education scooter safety programme run by Ride On.

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School is fun when the lessons are scootering.

Stoke's Birchwood School junior school pupils have been learning tips on how to scooter safely.

The primary school is the first school in the region to take part in a formal scooter safety programme, with junior students getting lessons in safe scootering this week.

The school based education programme is organised by Ride On.

Principal Chris Herrick said it was a "no-brainer" for the school to get involved and it was great for the children to learn more about road safety.

Deputy principal Paul Butterworth said many of their older pupils scootered to school. The school had put in special scooter stands near classrooms so pupils could keep their scooters safe. Every Thursday it holds a wheels day, where children could bring skateboards, long boards, rip sticks and scooters. He said the children had loved the scooter safety course, which had given useful information for the pupils and tips on how to ride a scooter safely.

This included how to have the T Bar at the right height and where to put their feet on the scooter.

Ride On is funded by Get Moving. Get Moving is jointly funded by Nelson City and Tasman District Councils. Regional co-ordinator Marty Clark said that parents looked at scooters as an affordable and relatively safe method for kids to use to get to school.

There were not the same restraints with scootering as cycling. Children are not recommended to cycle to school by themselves until they are 10.

"It's perceived as being safe because kids are doing it on the footpath."

However, Mr Clark said there were still quite bad crash statistics in relation to scooters.

The most common injuries children riding scooters suffered were broken wrists and hurt knees after falling forward from the scooter. Facial grazes and damage to mouths were also common.

Head injuries were less of an issue as the children were lower to the ground than on bicycles.

Ride On's scooter programme provided tips on how pupils can safely operate their scooter, with an emphasis on braking, handling skills and control.

The children also get a strong safety message on using the footpath and being aware of cars backing out of driveways and how to cross streets.

"We are keen to see them pick up their scooter and walk across the street at designated crossing points."

Children also got tips on how to use scooters on shared paths, and were reminded about not leaving their scooters haphazardly around entrances to shops.

Mr Clark said he would ideally like to see kids wear cycle helmets when riding a scooter but there was some resistance to that.

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