Drive so others survive! National Road Safety Week is coming up next week, 15 to 22 May 2022. Traffic injury is the biggest killer of Australian children under 15. Amongst vulnerable road users, children are the most vulnerable. We need our children to be safe crossing roads if they are to walk to school. Many schools regard the existing safety to be inadequate. Let TCCS do more and talk less.
The ACT Government has an Active Streets website for the Lyneham Primary School. Active Streets and Ride and Walk to School programs work hand in hand to promote active travel around schools.
Why wait until the driver’s licence? We can teach children safe cycling in school. In the Netherlands, the school children take a traffic exam on their bikes when they are just 11 years old. With a rite of passage on bicycles, are we surprised that the Netherlands is a cycling nation. The nature of a rite of passage is something to celebrate!
Amongst children, boys and girls, the participation rate for cycling is the same, which is known as “parity”. Amongst women in the ACT, and typical for low cycling countries, men are much more likely to cycle than women. The question should be, perhaps, not why women cycle less, but rather why girls in adolescence stop cycling.
If you want to commute to work there are a number of factors that will make it easy to start. Here is an overview of things to consider.
It is not the cold that stops kids from riding to school but the lack of safe infrastructure. All parents are concerned about their children’s safety. In Finland, children will ride to school on snow in subzero all year round. Clearly, the cold does not hold them back. Without a separated bike path and swept bike paths, it would not happen.
In making roads better for cars we have made an environment hostile to people and in particular children.
There is so much that children need to learn about bikes, besides just the skills to ride them. Cycling is a lifestyle and riding to school is about that. Extracts from the Ride and Walk to School program from the Physical Activity Foundation.
Walking to school was common and could be again. The Ride or Walk to School program encourages kids to ride to school by teaching them the skills they need to do it. Active Streets aims to improve the paths around schools to make it safe to do so.
The Physical Activity Foundation runs the ACT ride to school program. Schools are not resourced for this sort of thing. Bikes, for example, are not something schools would own. Clearly, a child can only learn to ride on a bike. Not every family may be able to afford the bike. Schools hire instruments but not bikes. Here is how it is done.