Pop quiz: When is it okay to carry a passenger on a bicycle?

The answer, soon.

That was one of 20 multi-choice questions faced by Whanganui's top young cyclists when they went peddle to peddle in a battle for the title of Young Cyclist of the Year at Laird Park yesterday.

Glenda Leitao, Horizons Regional Council roadsafe co-ordinator said 16 students from nine schools took part in the bike skills test. Each participant had to sit a theory test worth 40 points and a practical test worth 60 points.

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In previous years the winning boy and girl have gone on to represent Whanganui at the regional finals in Palmerston North.

"Those are not being held this year but we decided to carry on the local event anyway. It's a great way to promote safe cycling," Ms Leitao said.

Several curly questions made for a tough multi-choice test and probed such knowledge as knowing when it is okay to carry a passenger and when it is time to replace a helmet.
The practical skills test included signalling, control, stopping and getting on correctly.

"It's a bit like sitting a driving test - only they're much younger," constable Paul Miller, one of several police officers helping to run the event, said.

Mrs Leitao said students were chosen to represent their school either by their principal or the police education officers, who teach cycle training in Whanganui schools.

Te Kiira Hina-Pauro from Upokongaro won the girls' section and Ricki Wainhouse from St Anne's the boys' section. Georgina Ross from Wanganui Intermediate and Ethan Sutherland from Durie Hill were runners-up.

Those selected to compete yesterday were: Ricki Wainhouse and Maia Kaua (St Anne's), Gabor Markovits and Mya Mahony (St Marcellin), Hunter Gibson and Georgina Ross (Wanganui Intermediate), Ben Mackintosh and Rose Raikes (Fordell), Hunter Rowland and Georgia Abraham (St George's), Te Kiira Hina-Pauro and Darlaney Hina-Pauro (Upokongaro), Ethan Sutherland and Stella Ridgway (Durie Hill), Hunter Browning (Aberfeldy) and Manaua Hakaraia-King (Keith St).

Oh, and the pop quiz answer? When the bicycle is fitted with a special seat and has footpegs so feet can not be caught in the spokes.