Safety Village free open bike

Chelsea Powrie

The Penticton Safety Village is looking to expand its availability to kids around town by offering free open bike hours after school, during which the gates are open for kids to explore the village and learn the rules of the road in a safe environment. 

Visiting the village is usually a structured field trip for kids during school hours, but the new manager of the facility wants to see that expand. 

"It's really just to have kids in the facility as much as possible," said manager Tina Lee. "So we're doing it every Tuesday and Thursday after school from 3 to 5 p.m. in May and June."

Kids learn the basic rules of the road in a safe, fun environment. One child biking around Tuesday told Castanet he learned how to stop at stop signs and wait for green lights at intersections. 

Lee said children as young as three come pedal around and start to pick up on the basics. 

"And they're certainly understanding, maybe not staying on the right, but the stop signs," she said. "And probably better than a lot of Penticton drivers!"

Lee hopes to add even more free bike hours starting after June, but that will depend on staffing. She said the public demand is there, having heard from parents about kids disappointed when they pass by the village only to see it locked up. 

She hopes the expansion of open hours will help keep kids active and safe while they do it. 

"Really just having kids having an awareness of biking and enjoy biking, I know Penticton is a really big biking town, so the younger we can instil the love of biking, that would be the major goal," Lee said. 

Open bike hours are free to attend, but kids must bring their own bike and helmet. The village is located at 490 Edmonton Avenue.

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