Why ride to school?

Did you know school aged students require a minimum of 60 minutes per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Encouraging your children to ride, walk or scoot to and from school can help them reach their daily requirement of physical activity.

Over the past 40 years, the number of children who are physically active every day has significantly declined. In the 1970s, 8 out of 10 students rode or walked to school – today the national average is only 2 out of 10.

An active journey to school also allows children to learn about their local area, develop their social networks and gain independence.

Tips for riding to school

  • Do some practice rides on the weekends so you and your child are comfortable with the ride and you know how long it will take.
  • You can ride on the footpath in Queensland.
  • Choose the safest route, even if it’s a bit longer.
  • Take a wet washer for a quick cool down and freshen up in summer.
  • Part way is OK … Even parking 500–750m away from the school gate and walking the last five minutes still gives your children the opportunity to get a bit of fresh air and activity before they start their school day.
  • Team up with neighbours or school mates.
  • If you don’t have a bike – ride a scooter or just walk.
  • Find a safe spot to lock the bike.
  • Always wear a helmet.

Benefits of riding to school

  • The more children who ride, scoot or walk to school, the less cars there will be on the roads and the less traffic congestion there will be around schools.
  • Getting children out of cars and into active transport is believed to be the most effect way to improve levels of physical activity.
  • Students who actively travel arrive awake and alert, improving their concentration in call and ability to understand the curriculum.
  • Physically active students are healthier, happier and more socially connected. Physical activity is ranked second to tobacco control as the most important factor in disease prevention in Australia.
  • Bike riding is a pollution-free mode of transport.
  • Riding, walking or scootering with your child gives you an opportunity to teach them road safety skills.
  • Schools who regularly submit HandsUp! data going in the running for some great incentive prizes including sports vouchers, healthy breakfasts and more.

For more about how to register your school for HandsUp! data, click here.

References

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • American Society of Landscape Architects, 2011: News – Interview with Jan Gehl
  • British Medical Association, 1992: Cycling towards health and safety
  • Hendriksen, Ingrid (1996): The Effect of Commuter Cycling on Physical Performance and on Coronary Heart Disease Factors
  • Luoto, R., et al., 2000: The effect of physical activity on breast cancer risk: A cohort study of 30,548 women
  • Victoria Transport Policy Institute: Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis II – Congestion Costs; Sharp I, 1994: The National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Prevention
  • Baumann, A., & Rissel, C.,2009: Cycling and health: an opportunity for positive change?
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