Lock-up gets boys back on their bikes to school
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.