The new bicycle features a trishaw design that allows one or two people to sit on a seat at the front while a volunteer “pilot” takes them for a ride.
Matt Pryde, Sackville’s manager of recreation programs and special events, said the town has partnered with the Drew Nursing Home on this initiative, and the bicycle is available for anyone with a physical or cognitive limitation that can’t operate a bike on their own.
“We’re very excited to be able to provide this opportunity in town,” said Pryde. “It fits in very nicely with the ‘mayor’s age-friendly communities’ initiatives and we hope that residents of Sackville take advantage of this free and unique program.”
A number of volunteers have already signed up to pilot the bike, said Pryde, and took part in a training session last week to learn how to properly ride the trishaw. Heavier than a regular bike, and also featuring three wheels instead of two and a seat at the front to carry passengers, there is an adjustment with turning and stopping. The bike is also equipped with a small electric motor, making it easier to ride up hills when taking passengers out.
Pryde said more volunteers are still needed and anyone who wants to drive the bicycle must be trained. Contact Pryde at email@example.com for the next training times.
Purchased from a company based in the Netherlands, the accessible bicycle came with a pricetag of about $9,000 and was funded in partnership with the town, the Drew, the Sackville Rotary Club, the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation, and the province of New Brunswick.
The bike is available seven days a week during daytime hours and can be booked through the town at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer pilots will then be contacted to ask their availability before confirming the booking.
Pryde said it’s important for motorists to also be aware that the trishaw will be out on the roads soon and are reminded to give a minimum one-metre space to the bicycle when passing it on the street, “and make sure you wave a friendly hello to whomever is out enjoying the ride.”