Travelling to and from school provides great opportunities for incorporating physical activity into your child’s day. Many families live close enough to school for children to be able to walk or cycle. Parents who drive their children to school can also get involved in active travel by parking further away from the school and completing the journey on foot or by bike
Active travel provides a number of benefits such as:
- Incorporating more physical activity into your child’s day
- Decreasing traffic congestion, noise and pollution in your local neighborhood due to less cars on the road
- Creating a safer environment around the school. Parents should be aware that children face a greater potential risk from vehicle accidents outside school than they do from stranger danger.
- Providing social interaction for your children
- Increasing a sense community belonging
- Teaching your child essential road safety skills
- Spending some quality time with your child each day
Are there any programs or events that promote active transport?
Walk Safely to School Day
Run each year by the Pedestrian Council of Australia to encourage parents and children to walk to school together
Walking School Bus
A Walking School Bus is a group of children who walk to and from school on a set route, accompanied by a minimum of two parents or volunteer supervisors per bus. One parent leads the group at the front of the bus, while the other supervises at the rear. The walking school bus picks up passengers along the way at designated stops. The service is free and every child is welcome to join the bus even if their parents cannot be drivers.
See the TravelSmart Australia website for more information on the Walking School Bus concept.
National Ride 2 School Day
Ride 2 School Day aims to get students actively travelling to school by bike. Many children love cycling, so riding to school can be a great way to increase physical activity whilst having a lot of fun. Schools need to ensure that plenty of bicycle racks are provided and ideally there is a separate entrance for cyclists away from motor traffic. Children and parents can work together to plan an interesting route to school and cycling together is an excellent opportunity to discuss and practice road safety rules. Young children always need to be supervised on bicycles as they can be impulsive and unpredictable on the road.
For more information about National Ride 2 School Day, or cycling in general, go to Bicycle Victoria.