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.
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.
Different to other surveys, it tells us about cycling in Australia and Canberra over the last decade.
If we want to get the job done, how much is really enough? Comparing the active travel pledges from the major parties at the 2020 ACT Election with historic benchmarks.
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.
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.
Businesses are accustomed to calculating the lifetime cost of ownership of a motor vehicle. This is something we rarely do in our private lives. An inexpensive new car with an on-road purchase price below $20,000 will cost easily $4000 per annum when all costs are considered. For that price, a family could have a number of very nice bikes. Bikes have a lifetime cost as well and here is one example.
The Canberra bike stores are fewer, bigger and more competitive. They will usually price match. Bike stores just want the sale. Kids grow fast, and once an enthusiastic cyclist, then always a cyclist. They know you will be back. Pricing for kids bikes starts from $200 and goes up to about $500.
Playgrounds are essential for children. With children, you would be familiar with hours spent at a playground. Living close to a good playground is of greatly valued. If you are out on the bike, why not ride there. For small kids, this will be the local playground, however, if they are older there may be a “play space” close by.