Students encounter scooter safety lessons of the Wellington Paranormal kind

  • Published Date 27 Oct 2021
  • Author Ali Kaye

Primary school students are learning to safely glide along Wellington’s spooky streets with practical lessons thanks to Wellington’s premier paranormal police officers and Greater Wellington’s Scooter Ready programme.

Supported by Micro Scooters, New Zealand Police and Waka Kotahi, the practical lessons teach students to safely share the footpath and avoid making any boo-boos on their scooters. The programme also introduces further benefits including supporting student’s health and wellbeing.

“We didn’t think we stood a ghost of a chance of getting them but working with Wellington Paranormal has been a perfect opportunity to capture the attention and deliver important safety lessons to primary school students. The great thing about the videos is they also appeal to adults and caregivers, the people that kids learn habits from,” says Greater Wellington Cycle Skills and Scooter Ready programme lead, Matt Shipman.

The four videos focus on scooter set up, stopping, sharing and safety on the footpath and feed into a wider road safety programme that encourages active and sustainable travel.

While the videos might feature spooky characters they don’t scare students off important safety lessons.

Matt says, “In the past, there has been a lot of stern messaging out there to scare kids into safe active travel. We’ve found it’s more effective to teach kids the positives of scooting and walking safely – and really emphasise, through a bit of laughter, all the good things that come out of taking care on the road and foot paths.”

Wellington Paranormal producer, Paul Yates says “We were delighted that our spirited officers, Karen and Maaka agreed to do these videos to help keep our tamariki and others safe on our footpaths when on a scooter or bike.

“In the role of Officer O’Leary, Karen comes across as a real police officer whilst being funny in a way that kids can both giggle at and learn from.

“Maaka has the same appeal as his ‘Sarge’ character, so we hope that these two loveable characters help get an important message across in a way that’s both entertaining and educational to children and parents alike.”

Similar videos produced on this topic pale in comparison to these, which are being shot in Te Reo Māori as well as English for the first time, exciting Paul Yates.

“This is probably the first time scooter and bike safety videos will be available in both Te Reo and English and that’s not only exciting but logical, as engagement with these messages becomes possible all across Aotearoa says Paul Yates.”

Despite this, students taking to the streets on scooters might still make some parents white as a sheet. Parents can rest easy however as the sessions are part of a wider programme soon to be etched in stone.

Previously, these sessions were only offered on a more ad hoc basis around the region. Now with the introduction of a more developed programme, it shows the growing importance of these initiatives while bringing together active travel and supporting our tamariki’s health and wellbeing on the road.

Scooter Ready supports Greater Wellington’s goals to reduce transport-generated carbon emissions by 35 percent and achieve a 40 percent increase in active and public transport ‘mode share’ by 2030.  

Keen viewers will be available to view the videos on Greater Wellington’s Facebook page this week.

Updated October 27, 2021 at 12:07 PM

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