I joined children and parents at Bourke Street School on Wednesday morning to celebrate Ride to School Day. Students use the new Bourke Street separated cycleway as part of route of an informal bike bus to get to school each day.
This was the fifth annual National Ride2School Day. Last year, 140,000 children from 1090 schools around Australia participated in the event and it's a great opportunity for children riding to school for the first time. The Ride2School organisation reports that more than 80 per cent of kids walked or rode to school in the 1970s, but that number has fallen to only 20 per cent today.
The YWCA in Sydney has donated 50 bikes to Bourke Street School students to encourage those who live nearby to ride each day.
The City offers a bike riding class, designed by Bikewise for children, to teach them to ride safely and know the rules. These rules permits children up to 12 years old and their guardians to ride on the footpath and the class teaches children how to ride responsibly when doing so. More than 150 kids have already completed the program since it was launched last December.
Riding to school means children arrive at school alert and ready to learn. It reduces traffic congestion on our local streets and means less parking problems at the school. Riding to school helps children get the recommended minimum 60 minutes of daily exercise and sets up good habits for life.
Children will particularly benefit from the 200 kilometre network of safe and connected bike paths we are installing throughout the city. The bike paths will enable more people can ride to local schools, jobs, shops or parks. Riding a bike is a fun and convenient way to get around and a great way to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle in children.
As soon as the City completes a bike link, people are using it. Over the past year, the number of bike trips in areas with dedicated bike lanes has doubled and in some areas tripled.
- Ride to School: www.ride2school.com.au
- Cycling in Sydney: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/AboutSydney/ParkingAndTransport/Cycling/