Figures released today on children’s bike sales and active travel rates have highlighted the need for a federally funded national Ride2School program.
110,000 fewer children’s bikes have been sold in Australia in the past 10 years (492,000 down to 382,000), while two-thirds of five-year olds and more than half of nine-year olds are said to be driven to school each day.
However, this is despite parents and children saying that they would prefer to ride or walk to school.
At a Bicycle Network Ride2School skills day last month in Devonport, Tasmania, just 8% of students rode a bike to school and 19% walked. When asked however, 39% of students said they would like to ride to school and 22% said they would prefer to walk.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that the demand is there from schools, students and parents to be active and healthy and we need to make it easier to do so.
“Young Australians want to ride to school, but we need to break down the barriers and be able to teach bike skills, create well-signed routes to school and show them that riding a bike is as easy as it has ever been,” said Mr Richards.
“Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program can do this, but we need a national focus to get every school in the country involved.”
Ride2School currently receives funding from the Tasmanian and Victorian governments and the areas it does operate in show great results with more active children.
“Schools that are involved in the Ride2School program report that more than half their students are physically active on their way to school, much more than the average figures reported today,” added Mr Richards.
“Ride2School can turn every school in Australia into an active one and reverse the trend of inactivity.”
3,000 schools are currently registered in Bicycle Network's Ride2School program helping to get students to walk, ride or skate to school.
Hobart Mercury backs Ride2School
Tasmania's most famous masthead, the Hobart Mercury, has taken a stand and called out poor government policy decisions and a lack of investment in bike infrastructure as contributing to low levels of physical activity.
They have also highlighted the importance of Bicycle Network's Ride2School program and urged parents to get behind it. Read more in the below.
More information about Bicycle Network's Ride2School program can be found at ride2school.com.au.