More than two-thirds of Australian school students are driven to school, even though their parents understand the importance of riding and walking shows new research.
The Heart Foundation's LiveLighter program found that parents choose to drive their children to school because they feel there is too much traffic on the roads, time is too tight and distances are too far for them to ride or walk.
This is despite the fact that children need 60 minutes of exercise every day to be healthy, and that getting exercise outside makes children happier and better learners.
While some of the concerns from parents are valid, they are avoidable – riding and walking to school can be easy and it is the simplest way to achieve that daily hour of exercise.
Ride2School is here to help
Luckily, Bicycle Network's Ride2School program works hard to recognise and address many of the barriers that hold parents and schools back from embracing active travel.
Recently, Ride2School launched it's Parent Portal, an online resource for parents who want to teach their children to ride or start riding to school independently.
Throughout the year the program runs a series of initiatives to develop healthy school communities where riding and walking is normal and students want to do it every day.
And the program gets results – schools that are part of Ride2School report that on average, 54 per cent of students ride, walk, skate or scoot to school – much more than the Heart Foundation's number of inactive students.
The problem is that Ride2School is limited by it's funding.
The Victorian Government remains the only state committed to funding the Ride2School. Despite it's success, the program has no backing from the federal government and funding from the Tasmanian government is about to end.
We need a national approach to get our youth physically active and Ride2School is the ticket with a proven track record.
Want to get your children riding?
If your school isn't part of the Ride2School program we can still help – here are four handy helpers to get riding.
- Visit the 'ready to ride' section of our Parent Portal to get you and your child ready to ride
- Practice riding skills using the 'learning to ride' section of the Parent Portal
- Find the best places to ride with the Ride2School 'where to ride' guide
- Use the independent travel checklist to help build confidence in riding to school