NSW Labor has announced that if elected in March, they will commit $7 million to make it easier for more children to ride to school.
On Sunday, Labor announced that their new Ride to School policy will support programs like Bicycle Network’s Active Schools program (Ride2School program) as well as designated bike paths, bike storage and road safety programs.
NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley made the announcement at South Coogee Public School alongside Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay and Labor’s candidate for the seat of Coogee Marjorie O’Neill.
Mr Daley said students who ride or walk to school are more focused and ready to learn compared to those who drive.
“I used to ride my bike to school as a kid, and it would be great to see more kids feel confident to ride today,” Mr Daley said
“Labor is proud to support programs encouraging kids to get back on their bikes, and get themselves to school safely.”
Ms McKay said the initiative will get more cars off the road, which will help everyone.
“This commitment will have a practical benefit for both kids and parents doing the school run,” Ms McKay said.
“Working with communities to design dedicated bike routes to schools is a win for both school kids, commuters, and our communities at large”. Ms O’Neill said
“We live in one of the densest areas of Sydney and anything that we can do to take cars off the roads and make cycling and walking more attractive is a good thing.”
Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program has been actively working with a small number of schools in NSW to help increase active travel rates. State government funding would allow the Ride2School program to reach even more school communities across both metropolitan and regional NSW.
Currently, schools that are actively engaging with Ride2School report active travel rates of 45 per cent on average, nearly more than double the national active travel rate of 25 per cent.
To achieve this, Ride2School works closely with schools, teachers, parents and local councils to identify and breakdown barriers to being active.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that the announcement was welcome news at a time when physical activity rates among young people were at their lowest.
“Currently, more than 70% of children and 91.5% of young people don’t meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity needed each day,” Mr Richards said.
“If we’re going to urgently reverse this trend and create a generation of happy and healthy children, we need governments to commit to programs like Ride2School that empower school communities to get active.”
“If elected, we look forward to working with Labor to run a state-wide Ride2School program that makes it easy and safe for children to ride, walk, scoot or skate to school, every day.”
Bicycle Network now looks forward to a similar commitment to Ride2School from the Liberal party.
It's back to school this week and Labor has a $7 million plan to get you and your kids active by riding to school.
So pull out your bikes and get pedalling! pic.twitter.com/rExgnu8N3Z
— Michael Daley (@michaeldaleyMP) January 27, 2019
Help show our appreciation
Bicycle Network is also encouraging the bike riding community of NSW to send an quick note of thanks to Michael Daley MP and Jodi McKay MP and congratulate them on their announcement.
It's important that we show politicians just how important a commitment like this is to people who ride bikes.
We hope it's not the last announcement for bikes we see in the lead up to the election.
Don't forget to cc. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Daley MP
Jodi McKay MP