Bicycle Network: National Ride2School Day
National Ride2School Day
Australia's largest celebration of active travel to school.
More join the elite
29 April 2013. More schools have joined the Ride2School Day 100 per cent club with seven more schools reporting a perfect score for riding and walking to school, bringing the total so far to twelve. Read how Buxton Primary pulled it off.
Simon Prior, Principal of Buxton Primary describes how their success on National Ride2School Day is about more than just the day, it is about the culture that the school has built over time and resulted in 100 per cent active travel:
'This years' Ride to School day was a fantastic success, to have every child turn up was an amazing result for the school and the program.
The success of this program in getting everyone to participate had some luck but was also as a result of things that we had put in place over a few years.
Over Term 1 I have noticed an increase in children riding to school in general from previous years. Local council have improved the bike / walking paths in the area but we are lucky to have fairly safe paths for the children to travel on. We also had several bike racks donated by Bicycle Network Victoria which have made a huge difference to our bike parking system. We do have limited parking space for parents so many parents see this as an added bonus to relieve the congestion around the school at pick up and drop off times.
We establish a local meeting point for all the students to meet at. The students that live locally ride to the meeting point while those students living further out of town have their parents drop them off at the meeting point with their bikes so they can be included in the ride. Having this central meeting point allows us to come together as a group to share the experience. It also encourages everyone to become involved.
It also gives parents who live out of town ideas about how they can continue to be involved and keep their children active. Some parents, who live out of town, have continued to drop their child off at the local park so they can follow the same path to school. Often we also see parents come to school to collect their child's school bag so they don't have to carry it home on their ride.
As part of the incentive in the program we also run a serious of different activities throughout the day. These activities based loosely on the Bike Ed program aim to build the confidence and improve the skills of our students. Finally we also allow the students to ride their bikes around the yard at recess and lunch time. This is the only time of the year that they are allowed to do this so it is a massive incentive for the students to participate in the day."
Nothing comes instantly, despite what modern culture would have us believe. Still, it's good to know that commitment can yield positive outcomes, as long as we stick with it.
The other schools joining the original group on 100 per cent are: Rangeview Primary, Whitfield District Primary, Keiraville Primary, Rye Park Primary, Ladysmith Public School, Dromana Primary and Garden Suburb Public School.
Salute the 100 percenters
4 April 2013. Five schools have so far reported a 100 per cent active travel on this year's National Ride2School Day, putting paid to the myth that getting every school student into active travel is an impossibility.
And there might be more super-achievers: more schools are expected to report in once they return from Easter break in a couple of weeks, which suggests that these first five might soon be joined by more top schools.
It's been assumed that there will always be some parents who insist on shepherding their precious cargo to class in the protected cocoon of the family car, rendering a goal of 100 per cent active travel to school unachievable. But it is amazing what a committed school community can do.
"The notion that a fully active school environment is a fantasy is proven to be nonsense," said Tess Allaway, Bicycle Network's General Manager of Behaviour Change.
"And it is amazing when you consider where these five schools are located, with only one of them located in a stereotypical bike-friendly inner urban environment where you might expect this kind of active travel score."
Of the five schools that have reported perfect active travel scores only Montagu Bay Primary, located across the Derwent River from inner Hobart and abutting the Tasman Highway Bridge can be considered 'inner'.
The other four include Lyndhurst Primary in Melbourne's outer South-East, and three regional schools: Buxton Primary and Cowwarr Primary in Victoria and Coopernook Public in New South Wales.
Another 27 schools have already reported active travel rates for National Ride2School Day of over 80 per cent, and the average for all reporting schools so far is a healthy 63 per cent.
"What this says to us is that these schools understand that getting students to travel actively and arrive at school alert and ready to learn, with a big chunk of their daily activity requirement already in the bag, is for everyone regardless of where you live," Ms Allaway said.
Many people assume that high rates of active travel are only possible in highly bike or foot-friendly suburbs, usually in the inner city where the travel distances tend to be shorter, bike and pedestrian infrastructure is better, and a more 'progressive' mindset might prevail in the populace.
The Ride2School day results show otherwise.
Record numbers of students ditch the car for two wheels
Over 280,000 students across Australia were excited to ride, scoot, skate or walk to school today for Bicycle Network’s National Ride2School Day.
Thousands of schools across the country encouraged parents and staff to leave the car at home and join in the fun by actively travelling to school on National Ride2School Day.
Bicycle Network’s Behaviour Change General Manager, Miss Tess Allaway says that encouraging students to ride to school makes them more self-sufficient and is a crucial part of education and the development of social skills.
“Students who ride to school arrive energised and alert, resulting in higher concentration times than those who don’t,” said Miss Allaway.
National Ride2School Day is part of Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program which has been running nationally since 2006.
The success of the Ride2School program and its positive impact on students’ health is evident in the numbers. With the rising rate of obesity and inactivity levels in children, Miss Allaway hopes all schools commit to supporting a healthier lifestyle.
“Schools that are registered in the Ride2School program more than double the national average riding rate. These students increase the time they devote to physical activity which helps reduce the risk of obesity and associated health problems.
“National Ride2School Day allows the school community to embrace riding as a viable and sustainable transport alternative and we’re thrilled to have a record number of schools participating this year.
“By not only celebrating National Ride2School Day, but making riding a normal part of the school day through the support of our Ride2School program, schools are making their community a healthier one.”
An active school is a healthy school
Friday 22 March 2013 marks the seventh National Ride2School Day, 140,000 Australian students are expected to ride, walk, scoot or skate to school, many for the first time.
Ride2School Day is about making active travel a normal part of the school day. There are many benefits to participating, here are just a few:
- Riding to school will reduce traffic around the school, making the school trip faster
- Students will arrive at school alert and are more attentive in class
- Riding helps develop important life skills, in addition to increasing confidence
It’s easy to participate and make a bold statement within your local school community.
1. Simply register your school here for official participation.
Registering shows your community that you are taking the lead in combating increasing levels of inactivity that have real consequences for students well-being. Registering also enables the Ride2School Program to assist you in encouraging your community to be active all year round.
2. Download and display the poster around your school to promote your school's commitment to healthy lifestyles. Take this a step further and place it on the school website and newsletter.
With over seven years’ experience working with schools just like yours to create an active travel culture, we're here to help you. Feel free to get in touch with us and keep us updated on your Ride2School celebration through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email or phone 1800 639 634.
We look forward to your school joining in the fun and helping us to encourage the school community to become healthier in the process.