Children need at least one hour of physical activity each and every day for good health.
However, currently 71% of children are insufficiently active to achieve this. With most children living within 2 kilometres of their school gate, walking or bike riding is an easy way for children to increase their activity levels and achieve better health. Australia is currently ranked 97 out of 168 countries in terms of not enough activity.
Forty years ago 75% of children walked or rode their bikes to school but today it’s only 30%. Walking and cycling to school helps children reach the hour of physical activity they need every day, so it’s time we did more.
Bicycle NSW would like to see children continuing to cycle to school into their teenage years. But how do we get them riding in the first place?
Firstly, if your children have never ridden to school, we encourage you to walk the route a few times to help them, and you, get used to it. If they haven’t ridden a bike in a while, help them brush up on their bike skills too - it will make them, and you, feel more comfortable and confident.
If you are worried about them riding, there are a few different options. You can ride with them or reach out to the school and see who else is riding. Most parents feel more comfortable with their children riding with a group of other children, and children enjoy riding with friends.
At Bourke Street Public Street in Surry Hills, approximately 80% of the children walk, ride or scoot to school. Even the Brisbane School Travel Program resulted in a 24.8%
decrease in car trips and a 22% increase in active transport. Making a commitment to active travel works, and it pays off for child health.
More children riding to school reduces car trips, pollution and is a congestion-buster. London aims to save 57kg of carbon emissions every year from children walking or riding to school. NSW can make this change too - help support active transport in your area.