As fidget spinners sink further to the bottom of the toybox, parents and Santa Claus are being called on to deliver more traditional wheel-driven devices this Christmas – bicycles.
With physical inactivity among young Australians also at a low point, it’s the perfect time to get back into bike riding.
Bicycle Network spokesperson Anthea Hargreaves said that instead of giving restless children something they can fiddle with on the couch for five minutes, give them something where the memories and health benefits will last forever.
“We all still remember when we were given our first bike. The joy of receiving something that can set you free to go out and explore the world will make every child excited,” Ms Hargreaves.
“They will be so eager they’ll want to go outside and ride all morning, which will also get them out of the house for a moment while you prepare for the rellies to come over.”
Bicycle Network has a wish of their own for Christmas that would also help more children and families get riding – a change of law to allow people of all ages to ride on the footpath anywhere in Australia.
Currently in NSW and Victoria it is illegal to ride on the footpath once you reach the age of 12, forcing students and inexperienced riders on to the road.
“After Christmas and new year many people decide they want to get back into the habit of bike riding, but find the road intimidating and often give up. If footpath riding was allowed more people would ride to work or school and get their daily exercise,” added Ms Hargreaves.
Anomalies in the law also make it difficult for families to ride together. While adults can accompany a child under 12, there is no such exception for a sibling older than 12.
“We need to pull down these barriers and make it easier for people to ride bikes and live healthy, active lives.”
For tips on selecting the right type of bike and teaching children to ride, visit Bicycle Network’s Ride2School parent portal at ride2school.com.au.