Bicycle Network: Parents
Top tips for parents
Riding a bike is a wonderful milestone in the life of many students, an entrée into a world of healthy fun and freedom with friends and family. Bike riding is a simple, healthy way for parents to help their children become physically active everyday.
There’s an ever-growing network of trails to ride and parks to explore on the weekend. On and off-road bike paths now criss-cross many neighbourhoods and townships. And more than a thousand schools across Australia are now part of the Ride2School program that is making the journey to school an active and positive experience instead of just another short trip in the backseat of a car.
The Ride2School program equips school communities, students and parents with strategies and skills that develop healthy habits and self-confidence and, along the way, goes a long way toward reducing the daily traffic jams that is a feature of so many school gates.
Check out our top tips for getting children riding to school!
• Be prepared… make sure your child's bike is in proper working order and that they’ve got a helmet.
• Then develop a plan… parents should sit down with their kids and map out the safest route from home to school. Remember that children under 12 are allowed to ride on the footpath and can be accompanied by a supervising parent or adult. Additionally students with a physical or intellectual disability who are over the age of 12 can request a medical certificate which allows them to continue to ride on the footpath.
• Practice makes perfect… do a practice ride to school on the weekend and talk through things like where and how to cross roads and where to park your bike.
• First one together… depending on their age, parents should think about riding to school with their child the first time. It’s great together-time!
• Then set some goals… maybe set a goal of riding to school once a week (some schools run weekly Ride2School days to encourage this). Then twice a week…
• Skill up… check if your school offers Bike Ed (contact Ride2School if they don’t) and get your child involved. Bike Ed teaches basic bike skills as well as road rules and how to be a safe rider.
• Part Way is OK... if you live too far from school, think about driving your child part way and letting them ride the rest. This can be more fun if you identify a meeting point with other kids in the neighbourhood and meet and ride together.
• And above all, have fun…bike riding is a great way to get around your neighbourhood (and beyond) and get fit along the way.