The reason children do not walk and ride to school is that the cars scare them away. Primary school children do not have the cognitive ability to judge the speed and distance of cars. The selfishness of drivers and disregard for other children’s safety makes this problem far worse. What can be done?
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.
Children do not walk to school because cars make it unsafe to do so. To improve road safety for children around schools, we require traffic calming measures, on all sides, and the implementation of safe zones, where children can move without crossing roads and getting close to motor vehicles. Any approach will require some government expenditure and urban renewal. TCCS have named the process Local Area Traffic Management (LATM). The Lyneham Primary School Petition is a typical attempt to improve safety around the school. At the moment, the chances of any improvement, however, are low. 😦
Lyneham and O’Connor could be thought of as two suburbs but are better thought of as one suburb centred around Lyneham Local Shops. A few big roads surround the area but between them, the roads and footpaths are generally well suited for children cycling. The CBR Cycle Routes ice the cake. The second article on Lyneham and O’Connor.
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.
On the 32nd anniversary of the first day of sitting of the Legislative Assembly, Active travel was discussed during question time. This time the topic was Gungahlin town centre. Below active travel in the hansard from 11 May 2021.
Molonglo 3 East is in an early stage of planning and the significance easily missed driving by. In the Planning Design Framework the ACT Government outlines what it does and does not want, however, the intention is to leave plenty of space for good urban planning.
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.