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Johannesburg - Eldorado Park Secondary School pupils walking long distances to get to school received bicycles on Friday from Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi.

“We are distributing bicycles for those learners who have a long distance to walk to school, so it is convenient that we provide them.”

One of the 50 beneficiaries, a Grade Nine pupil from Freedom Park, said she usually took a taxi to school but walked from school to her home, which took about an hour.

“I feel excited that I will be riding a bike to school and I will not have to spend most of my time walking.”

She said she would manage to cycle to school because she had had a bicycle before.

Vadi said his department wanted cycling to become an optional mode of transport as roads were getting more congested.

“In the next 10 years we will have more congestion. Therefore, we have to begin to shift from motorised to non-motorised transport.”

Vadi also encouraged pupils to dedicate themselves to education.

“Education is a key to a different future. You can come from the most impoverished background or informal settlement, but education can change your life.”

He also urged the youngsters to play a part in fighting against drugs and alcohol abuse in Eldorado Park.

“We need to make this a passion in our lives so that we make our communities no-go areas for drug dealers.”

One of the parents who witnessed the handover of the bicycles was Muriel Lucas, the mother of a Grade Nine pupil.

She said she spent R450 a month on transport for her daughter who commutes from Klipspruit West.

“I am excited that my child was one of the chosen.”

However, she was worried about her daughter as she believed the route would be dangerous for her to cycle all the way.

“We will look into her safety before we can allow her to cycle to school. I am scared that the thugs will take the bike from her.”