Cowes Primary School won this year’s annual Bass Coast Bike Ed Challenge. The event was open to all Primary Schools in Bass Coast. This year, six schools and twelve teams competed, on a course at Newhaven Primary School.
The Bike Ed Challenge is an extension competition, based on the schools’ Bike Ed programs. Bike Ed programs typically include classroom activities based around how the road system works, including basic road regulations about who has right-of-way and how to negotiate intersections, as well as how to successfully share the road and pathway networks.
This is followed by skill activities in the playground based on balance and control, as well as practice at riding in a straight line, turning at intersections, scanning and looking out for other “traffic”. If and when they show they are ready, riders then demonstrate these skills by riding on quiet roads close to the school.
The Bike Ed Challenge team consists of eight riders, who ride around a set course where they are assessed on their balance and control skills, including a slalom course, scanning, riding straight, riding slowly, turning at a roundabout and at traffic lights, and tight U-turns. They also are assessed on the roadworthiness of their bike and helmet.
The Cowes Bike Ed program has been headed up for many years by Ron Hateley, a retired policeman. Cowes has dominated the competition for more than a decade under his leadership.
Along with Cowes, the second-placed school – Bass Valley Primary will advance to the Regional Final in October, where the top 12 schools from across Gippsland will compete. Jonathon McCormick – the teacher who trained the Bass Valley team told The Advertiser, “The Challenge is a great way for students to demonstrate their road safety skills. I’ve also been impressed with the way our riders trained for today. We’re excited to make it to the Regional Final. I also want to thank the volunteers from the Phillip Island Bicycle User Group who have helped with our Bike Ed program. They helped keep our groups small for the Authentic Skills Tasks”
The winning trophy was presented to the Cowes team by Cr. Bruce Kent, who chairs the Bass Coast Community Road Safety Committee, and is also Officer in Charge, San Remo Police Station. Cr. Kent addressed the 96 riders, saying, “Congratulations on the way you have all conducted yourselves today. You are a credit to the teachers, parents and helpers back at your schools. We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and other road users safe.”
Ava Hakin from Bass Valley was the top scorer for girls, while, Ngwati Rueben (Bass Valley) and Jack Huther (Cowes) were top boys and were awarded with a helmet each, supplied by Wheel Heat of Wonthaggi, a major sponsor of the Challenges.
Encouragement awards were also presented to riders who have shown determination in practice or most improvement over the course of their Bike Ed program. These awards were all provided by Wheel Heat.
Other sponsors and supporters include, VicRoads, Gippsland RoadSafe, Victoria Police, Wonthaggi Blue Light, Bass Coast Road Safety Committee, Newhaven College Year 9 students who assisted with assessing the riders, Phillip Island Bicycle User Group and John McCurdy of Wonthaggi Complete Garden Care.
After the competition, riders were treated to a Sausage Sizzle, prepared by Newhaven Primary School parents, sponsored by the Bicycle User Group and supplied by IGA San Remo. Thanks go to all those for feeding us.