This morning I greeted a terrific 'bike bus' of almost 200 children, parents and teachers as they arrived at Crown Street Public School.
They rode to school in groups of 10 along the Bourke Street cycleway as part of Ride2School day, joining thousands of children around Australia riding on two wheels to show how active transport can make for healthy, alert and happy kids.
Thirty years ago, more than 80 per cent of children rode bikes to school or walked, but that has fallen to only 20 per cent today. Incredibly, most students still live within two kilometres of the school gate.
They just need safe, well connected bike lanes and our experience shows that if you build the infrastructure people will ride.
Children who ride or walk to school arrive clear-headed and ready to learn. It also reduces traffic congestion during peak drop-off and pick-up times, and means fewer parking problems on local streets.
So over the past two years, the City has installed 26 bike racks at local schools for up to 113 bikes.
The City of Sydney also supports local schools with free courses at the Sydney Park Cycling Centre. Designed for 8-10 year olds, the junior program focuses on the skills young riders need to use a bike safely on shared paths and footpaths. Since late 2011, about 90 courses have been held involving dozens of local schools and about 1,200 students each year.