Pedal Power will be supported by Leisure Networks in conjunction with Cycling Victoria and Geelong Cycling Club.

On your bike: VicHealth pedals forward for accessibility

August 15, 2019 BY

CHILDREN with autism will have the opportunity to learn how to safely ride a bike thanks to VicHealth’s new program which aims to make sport accessible for all Victorians.

VicHealth and Leisure Network’s Pedal Power initiative will provide kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families the educational tools to help build confidence while bike riding.

Included as part of VicHealth’s Innovation Challenge, Pedal Power is one of four projects based on building inclusion to share in over $450,000 worth of funding.

The announcement follows a study which found people with a disability are 40 per cent less active than the broader community.

VicHealth chief executive officer Doctor Lyn Roberts said it was important to tailor activities to people with a disability in order to encourage them to be more active.

“Everyone deserves to experience good health and happiness. We know that sport is so good for us yet people with disability don’t have the same opportunities to get involved,” Dr Roberts said.

“These projects are about bringing sport to new audiences. There are some fantastic initiatives that will make such a difference to the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.

“We’ve had families of kids with autism tell us that inclusive sport programs are not only making their kids happier and healthier but also providing parents with a network of new friends who understand what they’re going through.”

Dr Roberts also said the program will give unpaid carers the option to take a break from their responsibilities and engage in both physical and social activities.

A mountain bike program for young girls and teenagers is also included in the line-up for the Innovation Challenge to encourage female participation in a traditionally male-dominated sport.

For more information on the Innovation Challenge, visit VicHealth.