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Sue Yearbury and son Ben, 9, at the scooter track in Ashburton Do main, which she believes can be expanded to accommodate a new bike track.

Early childhood teacher Sue Yearbury has set up an online petition calling for support for a dedicated bike park in Ashburton, specifically for children to learn road skills and play outdoors safely.

The petition (chng.it/zzr28nTRsN) went up on April 29 and received over 100 supporters in the first few hours.

By yesterday morning there were more than 400 signatures, and climbing.

Those signing have left a number of supportive comments.

One person said it was important for kids to learn about road rules in a safe but realistic environment and another thought the idea would help pass on valuable road, stopping and waiting messages.

Another respondent said Ashburton needed to continue to grow and support activities for children that promoted physical activity, developed motor skills and interaction with other children.

Mrs Yearbury said she wanted the petition to demonstrate support for a learn to cycle space, which had been suggested for the community.

The petition would be presented to Ashburton District Council and she hoped it would continue the momentum of the project.

“I believe this town will really benefit from a bike park where children can learn those useful road skills and play.”

There were excellent examples of bike parks in both Timaru and Christchurch that featured “mini roads”, stop/go signs and road markings, so why not one in Ashburton, she said.

Mrs Yearbury said a possible space for the bike park was alongside the asphalt scooter track in Ashburton Domain.

“If we do it, we need to do it on a bigger scale. Maybe we can get sponsors on board to support it as well.”

In council’s updated walking and cycling strategy there is an action “to investigate a learn-to-ride cycling space on council property”.

Council infrastructure services group manager Neil McCann said the action is listed as a high priority project for council in the short term.

Council’s roading team had been impressed with a bike park they had seen in Timaru and saw real merit in doing something similar here in Ashburton.

-By Mick Jensen