Cycling to School and Back?

Are you sick of the daily school drop off and pick up? There is an alternative option- the kids get themselves to school and back, you contribute one car less to traffic congestion, end up being fitter and you have more time to yourself. Students who ride or walk to school contribute to their minimum physical activity level of 60 minutes per day. They are also more focused and ready to learn compared to those who are driven.

So if eight out of ten kids rode bicycles or walked to primary school or high school three decades ago, why are there only one or two lonely bicycles parked at schools in 2018?

1) Helicopter parenting? Parents and grandparents are so afraid of ‘Stranger Danger,’ and what other parents think of their parenting that they will not allow their children any freedom to do anything on their own.

2) Obstructive NSW State govt cycle regulations? The $395 fine for not wearing a helmet, the petty $105 fine for not having a bell and many more…but a major systemic fail is that it is illegal for any person over the age of 12 to cycle on a pavement here. Seriously? The ‘experts’ shriek about ‘the childhood obesity epidemic’ but the State mandates that our teenagers- yes, your tender 13 year old- must cycle on the roads in heavy traffic while the pavements languish in pristine loveliness, mostly devoid of pedestrians. Genius !

3) Laziness? If you have primary school children, cycle to school and back with them yourself occasionally, setting a good example and mentoring them on the safest route to ride,. You’ll be active and spend quality time together while educating your kids about their environment, community, health and safety along the route you choose.

4) Mental conditioning: everyone else uses a car- don’t they? By the time you have found your keys, the bag containing your drivers’ license, herded the kids to the car, opened the gate, strapped them all in, reversed out, closed the gate, strapped yourself in, waited to get into the traffic, sat in the drop-off que or looked for a nice parking away from ‘Ranger Danger’ at the school… you probably could have all cycled there faster.

Get back to basics, think about sustainability and your role in it, then look for opportunities to leave the family car (and your fears) at home. The efficiency of cycling as an alternative transport option and the personal freedom it offers can become a lifestyle choice that everyone in your household and local community will benefit from.

SAFE CYCLING FOR KIDS: Smalls Creek Bike Path (10km one way) Wrights Road Kellyville , to Withers’ Road, Rouse Hill. ‘Learn to Ride Track’ at Twickenham Reserve, N. Kellyville. Jubilee mtb park, North Wahroonga.

SAFE CYCLING FOR TEENS: M7 Bike Path: 80km out and back (Glenwood to Prestons) Windsor Road Bike Path: 40km out and back (Rouse Hill Mall to Windsor) OMV mtb trails Hornsby & Fred Catterson Park: MTB and BMX, Castle Hill.

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