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Walking and cycling to school in the ACT

By BicycleCanberra - 29 September 2011 35

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Unfortunately the number of children and young people getting to school via an active travel mode has been in decline in the ACT; however the ACT government is looking at ways to encourage families with children and young people to once again choose to walk or ride to school, rather than using the car.

Your feedback will help inform the development of a strategy for active travel to ACT schools.

Interestingly in the Netherlands they have managed to maintain their levels of children and young people cycling to school. This has been achieved by investing in infrastructure and road safety polices that promote active travel.

[Photo Woden Valley High School 1969]

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
Walking and cycling to school in the ACT
BicycleCanberra 3:07 pm 29 Sep 11

Onceler said :

Too many cars driving fast and carelessly, makes suburban roads a death trap for cyclists – especially kids. If there were more kiddies riding bikes about the place, car drivers might start to be more careful. But for now, car is king – Catch 22.

We live in a cul de sac, and when my daughter is old enough to ride I’d like her to be able to ride on the street (there is no footpath – thank you, Belco town planners!), but you should see the way cars tear up and down here. Beggars belief.

Maybe you could ask ACT roads to look at a shared zone (Home zone-Speed limit 10-20km max.) for your cul-de-sac. The long list for footpath installation means you would have to wait some fifty years under current funding.
This option is certainly cheaper.

Watson 3:05 pm 29 Sep 11

Watson said :

One comment on that website was pretty good, I thought. Amongst other things, they are calling for no 60kph roads near schools, which I would fully support. I have asked twice for a pedestrian crossing on the 60kph road past the school, but even though the roads people went out there and admitted that it was a very busy crossing and very tricky to negotiate, they said they could not justify a crossing when it was only busy during pick-up and drop-off time as it would slow drivers down unecessarily the rest of the day.

The fact that they hardly ever police the school zone speed limits does not help either. I see plenty or parents speed through ours! Makes me want to chuck rotten tomatoes at their shiny SUVs.

Pfft. I meant a ‘zebra crossing’ was what I asked for.

Watson 3:03 pm 29 Sep 11

One comment on that website was pretty good, I thought. Amongst other things, they are calling for no 60kph roads near schools, which I would fully support. I have asked twice for a pedestrian crossing on the 60kph road past the school, but even though the roads people went out there and admitted that it was a very busy crossing and very tricky to negotiate, they said they could not justify a crossing when it was only busy during pick-up and drop-off time as it would slow drivers down unecessarily the rest of the day.

The fact that they hardly ever police the school zone speed limits does not help either. I see plenty or parents speed through ours! Makes me want to chuck rotten tomatoes at their shiny SUVs.

troll-sniffer 2:56 pm 29 Sep 11

I cannot believe the irresponsibility shown by this site in allowing the video above to be linked. Every single one of those poor naked cyclists was in mortal danger as not one was wearing a helmet. Every second of that footage was agony for me, I expected to see carnage at every turn with those poor deluded cyclists’ heads being ripped open at every turn. Perhaps the gory stuff was carefully edited out eh Johnboy?

What’s next for RiotACT, links to snuff films?

gourmetmumma 2:51 pm 29 Sep 11

Jim Jones said :

poetix said :

There is no way that a child younger than his/her teens should be allowed to ride a bike on her own, or even walk to school without an adult, ironically because of too much traffic. I see really young kids doing this, and I simply can’t believe it.

Bollocks.

Plenty of kids do it. Damn near the entire generation previous to this one did it.

Everyone in my primary school used to walk or ride to school, and I’m not that old.

Reminds me of the recent article in the news about ‘marshmallow parenting’ πŸ˜‰

My 6 & 8 year olds ride their bikes or scooters, or walk to school each day. They mainly go along the bike path but a number of over-zealous magpies along that route has forced them to go an alternative way until magpie breeding season is over. They now have to cross 2 fairly quiet roads and I have taken the route with them and made sure they are abiding by the rules. If more kids walked/rode to school the amount of parents being forced to take risks with regards to unsafe parking practices around schools would be significantly reduced.

Watson 2:38 pm 29 Sep 11

AG Canberra said :

“There is no way that a child younger than his/her teens should be allowed to ride a bike on her own, or even walk to school without an adult, ironically because of too much traffic”

What crap. Canberra has the best network of bike paths and over and underpasses in the country. I am more than happy for my 8 and 10 year olds to ride to school – safe in the knowledge that they don’t have to cross a single road. Yes they have to ride an extra 500m to do it but that’s fine – they are full of energy anyway!

It’s very nice for you and your kids that you live on the right side of the school. We however live on the other side of the 60kph road that goes past our school and where I see drivers speed through the school zone every single day. We either have to cross right after a bend. Or cross an additional two side streets to get to the school crossing. Roadworks further North have meant that there is now lots of traffic on that road in peak hour. There is no way that I could let my child cross that road on her own until she’s at least 10.

We used to ride or walk to school together every morning. But recent changes have meant I often drop her off by car on the way to work. I usually find a park about 20 metres from the school crossing. Yet, other parents park dangerously there every morning! Pet hate of mine too.

I intend to stop bringing her to school by the time she goes to high school though. We used to laugh at kids being dropped off by her folks when I was that age! How things have changed…

Jack Kirby 2:25 pm 29 Sep 11

poetix said :

This makes it too dangerous to allow children to make their own way to or from school. There is no way that a child younger than his/her teens should be allowed to ride a bike on her own, or even walk to school without an adult, ironically because of too much traffic. I see really young kids doing this, and I simply can’t believe it.

Reading the report it is attitudes like this which directly reduce walking and riding to school and also reduce the willingness of others to walk and ride. The report provides statistics on the safety of active transport to school in similar countries (US and NZ) – one fatality per 10,000,000 kms – or walking or riding to school for 15,625 years (or 198 of his lifetimes). In countries where active transport to school is the norm, with associated attitudes and infrastructure this increases to 156,250 years (or nearly 200 lifetimes).

Obviously there are risks in letting your children ride or walk to school – however there are also risks in driving your kids everywhere (both for them and for the pedestrians). As someone who was independently riding to school aged 8 (with responsibility for my younger sister aged 6 who was also riding) I sincerely hope I can provide this experience to my kids in the future. For the moment he’s riding beside me the 6km to and from playgroups – learning that riding is a normal (and fun!) form of transportation and learning how to safely navigate intersections as a pedestrian.

Jim Jones 2:21 pm 29 Sep 11

poetix said :

Although children may be old enough to know the road rules by 10 or so, a lot of drivers go through pedestrian crossings, or double park and cause chaos, even in front of schools. This makes it too dangerous to allow children to make their own way to or from school. There is no way that a child younger than his/her teens should be allowed to ride a bike on her own, or even walk to school without an adult, ironically because of too much traffic. I see really young kids doing this, and I simply can’t believe it.

Bollocks.

Plenty of kids do it. Damn near the entire generation previous to this one did it.

Everyone in my primary school used to walk or ride to school, and I’m not that old.

Onceler 1:56 pm 29 Sep 11

Too many cars driving fast and carelessly, makes suburban roads a death trap for cyclists – especially kids. If there were more kiddies riding bikes about the place, car drivers might start to be more careful. But for now, car is king – Catch 22.

We live in a cul de sac, and when my daughter is old enough to ride I’d like her to be able to ride on the street (there is no footpath – thank you, Belco town planners!), but you should see the way cars tear up and down here. Beggars belief.

AG Canberra 1:54 pm 29 Sep 11

“There is no way that a child younger than his/her teens should be allowed to ride a bike on her own, or even walk to school without an adult, ironically because of too much traffic”

What crap. Canberra has the best network of bike paths and over and underpasses in the country. I am more than happy for my 8 and 10 year olds to ride to school – safe in the knowledge that they don’t have to cross a single road. Yes they have to ride an extra 500m to do it but that’s fine – they are full of energy anyway!

Die Lefty Scum 1:23 pm 29 Sep 11

Cool picture. Got any more?

poetix 1:08 pm 29 Sep 11

Although children may be old enough to know the road rules by 10 or so, a lot of drivers go through pedestrian crossings, or double park and cause chaos, even in front of schools. This makes it too dangerous to allow children to make their own way to or from school. There is no way that a child younger than his/her teens should be allowed to ride a bike on her own, or even walk to school without an adult, ironically because of too much traffic. I see really young kids doing this, and I simply can’t believe it. Of course, if a parent can accompany the child on foot or bike, that’s the ideal, but many people just can’t, due to work commitments. I am totally sick of parents parking dangerously near schools, and blocking a clear view of the road, for those who do want to walk.

I love the total lack of trees in the photo! And locks and helmets, of course.

Lazy I 12:59 pm 29 Sep 11

Surely the walking school bus initiative deserves a mention:
http://www.ywca-canberra.org.au/children_community_services/walking_school_bus

Although strangely it says it wrapped up in June 2011.. anyone got any info on why?

It had plenty of involvement in the surrounding suburbs here.

Grail 12:59 pm 29 Sep 11

There were a number of contributing factors, amongst which were the increasing level of car ownership in Canberra families. There aren’t that many families left with one car for two parents and two children. These days you’re more likely to find one car per 18+ member of the household.

Along with that is the insistence on trying to squeeze 26 hours into every day. Noone wants to make the time to ride anywhere, when driving is so easy.

Then there’s compulsory helmets. Sensible people will wear helmets. Forcing people to wear helmets just makes it more tedious to ride a bike (because putting on a helmet is such an imposition on personal freedom y’know), so people opt for the comfort of the car (because putting on a seat belt isn’t such a hassle, it doesn’t interfere with the hair).

buzz819 12:45 pm 29 Sep 11

Wasn’t this mainly cause by closing schools closer to the children and opening super schools further away?

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