More than 54,000 Kiwis take part in Bike Wise Month 2012   20 Mar 2012

Bike Wise Month 2012 saw more than 54,000 Kiwis jump on their bikes during February to take part in the 555 events held throughout New Zealand.

The Bike Wise programme encourages people to take up cycling and start enjoying the health and fitness benefits, while keeping themselves safe. This year 54,120 people participated in Bike Wise events.

NZTA Network User Behaviour Manager, Jennie Gianotti, said there was a big rise in school participation this year with 179 events attracting 18,901 people.

“This is particularly exciting as it means kids are able to catch the cycling bug early on, which helps them develop healthy and fun habits which can last them a lifetime. It’s also really great to hear children were attending events where they learnt useful skills.”

For the grown-ups, the Bike Wise Challenge – which pitches businesses against each other in a competition to see which can be named the most bike-friendly in the country – recorded entries from 427 organisations of all shapes and sizes.

“The Bike Wise Challenge is one of the most versatile events in the programme, catering to all levels of cycling skill and experience,” Ms Gianotti said.

“It’s a great way for people to log their kilometres in the saddle and maybe find some new workmates to do some riding with. For others, it is a way to try cycling, or cycle commuting, and discover just how easy and accessible an activity it really is.

“For many people, events like the Bike Wise Challenge help them to discover a new passion which continues long after Bike Wise Month wraps up.”

As we say goodbye to the long, bright days of summer, the NZTA is working to keep cyclists safe with its Lights on Bikes campaign which will be piloted in certain towns and cities in New Zealand. With many new cyclists on the roads, the NZTA aims to raise awareness about the importance of being visible on the road, which means utilising bright clothing, reflective patches where possible, and attaching good quality lights to all road-going bikes.

For more information about Bike Wise, visit www.bikewise.co.nz, www.facebook.com/bikewise or www.twitter.com/bikewisenz.

(New Zealand Transport Agency)

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