The lockdown has seen locals of all ages and abilities exploring their neighborhoods on foot and bike, perhaps more than ever before.

The Bike Whakatane Trust is calling on the Whakatane District Council to make the town’s streets safer, healthier, and more delightful to use post-lockdown.

“Before lockdown, many felt it was unsafe to use our busy roads in anything other than a car.” Trust spokesperson Richard Hamer said.

The trust has written to the Whakatane District Council and started a petition urging councilors to listen to what the community wants post-lockdown.

“During the lockdown, we have seen many of our vulnerable people – young children, elderly, people with disabilities – out using our streets in enormous numbers because the streets feel safe to use. These times have given us a unique insight into how our town could look and feel if we take action to make it more people-friendly.”

“We want to be able to keep using our streets in this way when the lockdown ends – through pedestrianized areas, reduced speed zones, stream margins, a safe and connected network across the whole of Whakātane.” Mr Hamer said.

“Let’s transform Whakatāne into an accessible and active town, our immediate priority. And let’s make these changes permanent.”

Click here to sign the Bike Whakatāne Trust Safer Streets petition