Guernsey Press

Road markings at Saumarez Park will help children cycle

SAUMAREZ PARK will have road markings installed on its tarmac path soon to help children learn to cycle on roads safely.

Cyclists enjoying the trial chalked bike park during the Health Improvement Commission’s family fun day in August. (Picture supplied by Alun Williams)

During the Sports Commission’s Family Fun Day in August, road markings were trialled in chalk.

It proved so successful that Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services gave permission for a similar permanent layout to be designed.

Co-organised by Bikeability and the Health Improvement Commission, HIC Be Active lead Alun Williams said: ‘We had a really positive response from the trial bike park.’

Feedback demonstrated a strong desire for a permanent installation.

‘We were inundated with children who wanted to try out the park and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

‘Likewise, parents spoke about how they were concerned with the transition from learning to cycle to going straight onto the road.’

Evidence from the Guernsey Young People’s survey showed there was a desire to cycle more often. Congested roads with little dedicated cycling infrastructure can be daunting, but during lockdown more people were said to have felt safer cycling on the roads. Worldwide, bike parks have improved knowledge and riding skills in a car-free environment, as a stepping stone to road confidence.

‘This phased approach was a welcome addition which would give young people a safe environment to practise cycling and build their confidence,’ Mr Williams said.

‘We are hoping to install the bike park in the coming months.’

Designs include a roundabout, stop line, pedestrian crossing and filter on an existing stretch of the path.

Alderney’s St Anne’s School had a bike park installed recently sponsored by the HIC, which has been popular.

Cycling is a mentally and physically beneficial form of exercise which is fun, environmentally friendly, cheap and gives youngsters independence.

Bikeability’s programme is fully endorsed by the HIC as essential for preparing younger generations to ride. The commission runs other cycling initiatives including Ready Set Ride for early years settings, and sponsoring balance bikes and helmets.