National Ride2School Day

Kids enjoy some exercise and independence by riding to school.

Kids enjoy some exercise and independence by riding to school. (Photo Eddie Barkla)

Wednesday 25 March was National Ride2School day which is a “Go for your life” initiative with the hope building behaviours and connections to assist our youth to be healthy and active.

‘Medical experts tell us that school students should be aiming for at least 60 minutes of daily activity to beat off obesity-related diseases, including diabetes 2 and cardiovascular disease,’ according to Ms Leigh Snelling, Ride2School’s Director. Leigh said National Ride2School Day was a great way of showing how easy it is to include exercise into daily routine for a healthier, cleaner and greener future.

Schools across the country celebrated the day with such activities as healthy breakfasts, all-day cycling festivals, school parades and bike excursions. There is always the hope that such skills learnt on the day and the enjoyment from cycling makes riding walking or riding a scooter to school becomes a regular event.

Most of us learnt to ride a bike as a young child – it’s one of those rites of passage for parents as well as kids. But there is always room for improvement, whether it’s learning the road rules, learning to ride in a group, doing an emergency stop or maintaining your bike. And this applies whether you are 10, 15 or 50.

According to Vic Roads, Bike Education is a great way to ‘develop safe, independent cyclists’. Bike Ed programs aim to ‘develop and nurture a responsible attitude to road use, practice riding skills for safe bike use intended for children aged 9-13 years.

The aims of the Bike Ed program are to enable children to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the road traffic environment and the road laws.
  • Develop the physical and cognitive skills to manage the road traffic environment safely as a cyclist.
  • Develop responsible behaviours, attitudes and decision-making skills for the safe use of bicycles both on and off the road through participation in enjoyable learning experiences relevant to their ages and abilities.

The ultimate goal of the Bike Ed program should be for children to become competent to ride safely and independently on the road. (See information for primary and secondary schools.)

For some parents and children alike getting motivated and started can be a big step. Learning to ride no longer requires training wheels and there are some very friendly ways for children and adults to get started on the bike with balance and co-ordination.

Struggling with gaining confidence in your children riding alone to school?  The walking bus is a great example of how a few parents can accommodate groups of children and chaperone them safely to school. Similar arrangements could be considered and adopted in sharing the road safely.

Most schools would now have one or two teachers/volunteers/parents that are familiar with basic requirements to get students started.  Take into account the suggestion of driving children part way to a point for a safe pathway to be followed with no major risks of road crossings to be negotiated. Children under the age of 12 are allowed to ride bicycles on the footpath.

Instil basic rules of respect as collision can be quite hurtful for all parties involved even at low speed.  At intersection and school crossings it is best to dismount and walk the bike across giving motorists every possible chance to see you and give way as maybe appropriate.

There is some much assistance on offer from local councils to Bicycle Victoria and other cycling agencies. A quick look on any website will open the mind to many possibilities and support that is on offer.

Wanting bike parking ideas? Bicycle Victoria have special references to space savers and styles of parking to choose from.

Bendigo is such a wonderful place to cycle and as long as we respect the shared road users most times there is plenty of respect given back.  Wearing bright and reflective clothing and riding in a manner that allows you seen will assist a safe passage.

See you on the road soon God willing


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