Brimbank Bicycle Education Centre
LIONS ON TRACK WITH BICYCLE ED CENTRE
The Lions Club of Taylors Lakes is a proud supporter of the Brimbank Bicycle Education Centre in the development of two new skill tracks – a bicycle riding skill track and a balance bike track – and has committed $11,000 to the project and obtained a dollar for dollar grant from the Australian Lions Foundation, ensuring the project will become a reality.
Our commitment to supporting the Brimbank Bicycle Education Centre (BBEC) is considered a major and ongoing project for the Lions Club of Taylors Lakes as the Centre encourages education, activity and involvement in a sustainable form of transport and for our young people. With the recent dissolution of the Brimbank Central Rotary Club, Taylors Lakes Lions have become the senior supporting partners for the Centre.
The BBEC is totally run by volunteers, with an incorporated Board of Management. A number of Taylors Lakes Lions are on the Management Board, with over half the Board members being Lions, as our Club directly and indirectly supports the work of the centre with management, organisational and maintenance needs, in-kind labour and time to manage and facilitate education opportunities for young people, such as learn to ride programs.
Over recent times, Taylors Lakes Lions has supported the Centre by totally revamping the traffic lights on the current artificial road track, which has a large layout incorporating road signs, road markings and traffic lights including intersection, crossing (both pedestrian and controlled) and rail crossing (a $5000 project). We have also arranged, through one of our members, to revamp the control system allowing greater control of the sequencing and timing of the lights (a $1200 project). Furthermore, we conducted a safety audit which resulted in a number of improvements and enhancements to the safety of the centre. Previously, we fully funded an electrically enhanced dual cab tricycle for use with disabled patrons and their carers (a $7500 project).
The potential of the centre is not fully reached, as there are no facilities to allow school groups and other training groups the capacity to focus on skill development (including the potential for the centre to develop an extensive education program) whilst, at the same time, allowing the road track to be utilised as it is intended. We have also realised the need for young people to learn balance as a first skill for riding, rather than rely on training wheels. Balance bikes are the new “first experience” for young people on bicycles.
Work is now under way, with the skills track already completed and ready to receive its line-markings and construction of the balance bike track is imminent.
These new facilities will make the track unique within Australia, creating a premium road traffic safety and bicycle education centre.
This project proposes to place two skills tracks on vacant land within the BBEC site:
- A flat surface large-area skills track, which would be marked with a number of lines to allow skill practise and riding skill development, including a figure of 8, a straight riding lane, a slow riding lane, a slalom course and U-turn bays, as deemed appropriate according to accepted bicycle education practice.
- A gentle sloped balance bike track, complete with a ramp up to a starting platform, which would enable instructors to assist, coach and supervise small groups of balance bike riders in a controlled environment
The skills track will allow education sessions to incorporate a number of key elements designed to enhance road safety, riding skills and general bicycle safety and awareness. It is envisaged that the track would be both a practise area and a “proving ground” for young people progressing to the road track. Educators will be able to ensure good balance, control, awareness, braking and look-back skills are achieved.
The balance bike track will allow learn to ride sessions to be extended to younger age groups (toddlers and up), with an emphasis on maintaining balance as a first riding skill. Use of brakes will also be a training point, as all balance bikes at the centre are fitted with handle brakes.
Both tracks have been fully designed, both in concept and as drawn plans. Planning permits have been granted by the Brimbank Council. Utilising contacts within the building industry, we hope to achieve some generous discounts, which should serve to ensure the project is on budget.