Lock-up gets boys back on their bikes to school

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

By BEV DOOLE and MDC Road Safety co-or­di­na­tor ROBYN BLACK­BURN

When Jack Dal­ton, 14, and Ge­orge Jack­son,15, started at Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege last year there was heaps of room in the bike stands be­cause stu­dents were re­luc­tant to leave their bikes there.

The area was open to the street and bikes were be­ing stolen or van­dalised dur­ing class time.

It didn’t seem to mat­ter whether the bikes were locked or not, they still weren’t se­cure.

Jack and Ge­orge were year 9 rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the school coun­cil and they worked with older stu­dents to in­ves­ti­gate what it would take to build a bike lock-up.

‘‘We knew other schools like Bo­hally [Intermediate] had done sim­i­lar things,’’ Jack says. ‘‘We thought a se­cure area would en­cour­age people to ride to school and scoot to school, if they knew they could lock their bike or scooter in a safe place.’’

Get­ting to school un­der your own steam rather than re­ly­ing on a ride has ben­e­fits for the boys in terms of fit­ness and in­de­pen­dence, and the rest of the com­mu­nity as it cuts down on the num­ber of cars on the road.

In a sur­vey done as part of the col­lege’s travel plan, 56 per cent of stu­dents say they would cy­cle to school if there is se­cure and easy park­ing for their bikes.

Armed with that in­for­ma­tion, the next step was to find the money, Jack says.

‘‘We fo­cused on the school work day, where ev­ery stu­dent in the school goes out for a day and has to earn at least $30,’’ Ge­orge says. ‘‘This raised about $13,000 to go to­wards the bike lock-up. We ap­proached spon­sors as well, and Bike Walk Marl­bor­ough [an ad­vi­sory group to the Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil] came up with an­other $10,000.’’

The stu­dent group did the plan­ning, mea­sured up and got the quotes.

‘‘We went with Clas­sic Gates. They talked to us and then planned how it was go­ing to look, what the best ma­te­ri­als were and how it would be built. We went with a two me­tre high netting fence, with barbed wire across the top and a rolling gate. It was all quite pres­sured get­ting ev­ery­thing or­gan­ised in time for the work to be done over the Christ­mas hol­i­day,’’ Jack says.

Ge­orge, who lives in Wither­lea, is among the grow­ing num­ber of stu­dents us­ing the bike lock-up.

‘‘Bik­ing to school is good for my fit­ness and now I don’t need to worry about my bike be­ing tam­pered with. I’ve got friends bik­ing in from Fairhall – they could catch the school bus, but want to bike in to keep fit.

‘‘Since the lock-up got built it can be hard to find a spot in the bike stands,’’ he says. And the school coun­cil isn’t leav­ing it there. This year they are fo­cus­ing on get­ting a scooter lock-up and a skate­board lock-up to en­cour­age even more stu­dents to make their own way to school. Lock-up: Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege stu­dents Jack Dal­ton, 14, left, and Ge­orge Jack­son, 15, were part of the stu­dent project team that cre­ated the bike lock-up at the col­lege to en­cour­age cy­cling to school.

Photo: BEV DOOLE

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