Studies, research and active travel in the media.
As kids settle back into school, many parents have experienced a rude awakening amongst their list of fee notifications, with the yearly Student Myki cost spiking by 7% to $489.
In the current economy many families are on a tight budget so the convenience of public transport may no longer be a viable option. Unfortunately many will accept the rise and look at what other expenses they can cut, rather than investigate alternative transport methods.
With most families living within walking distance from their child’s school, the increasing government focus on addressing low activity and high obesity levels amongst children, and the rising costs of living, active transport has never looked more attractive.
Whether part way, or the full journey, making active travel part of everyday school life is imperative in addressing key economic and environmental concerns, in addition to encouraging children’s growth and development.
With over seven years’ experience working with schools to create an active travel culture, Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program is available to support schools in creating a healthy community.
Ride2School Program Manager, Miss Kelly Pearson says that National Ride2School Day, provides the perfect opportunity for families to give active travel a go.
“With school now back for the year, over 1,500 schools across Australia have commited to making 2015 a healthier one and are preparing for their National Ride2School Day celebrations,” said Miss Pearson.
“National Ride2School Day provides the perfect opportunity for families to trial actively traveling to school. This year, we expect over 150,000 children to ride or walk to school, many for the first time.
“We recommend parents prepare for their journey by mapping out an active travel route with their kids and school before practicing this on the weekend. So all they need to do on the day is get out and enjoy their journey.”
Just before the end of the school term thirty seven brave grade 4 students from Cockatoo Primary School participated in the first Have a Go! bike camp. Organised to raise funds for a local charity but also gave the students a chance to show off their new skills they had learnt in a recent bike education program.
The bike camp traveled 20kms, riding from Buffalo car park and traveled along the Great Southern Trail to their finished point, Forest Park Primary School. It was a fantastic opportunity for the the students involved, as it gave them a chance to complete a long distance but to also camp for the first time. The Have a Go! bike camp was supported by a number of local business and local community group such as the Men’s Shed and the Christian Church group. Such an event is a testimate to how a community can join together and promote active travel.
If you have a story you would like to share with the Ride2School team please contact us.
A new study from the US reiterated the association between the amount of time spent watching TV watched and obesity levels in children.
The report revealed that having a TV in the bedroom and watching more than two hours of TV a day were associated with increased odds of larger waists and levels of artery-blocking triglyceride in children, despite exercise and limited sugary drinks.
The report highlights the import role parental education has in reducing the time spent watching TV and prevention against the development of obesity and adverse cardio metabolic profile in children.
Read the full story here.
Content taken from ‘Bedroom TV means a bleak picture for kids’ health: study‘ by Tim Barlass, The Age, 28 October 2012.
The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride is done and dusted for another year. Over the 9-day event the Great Victorian Bike Ride travelled a total 591km, from Lakes Entrance to Philip Island. It was a fantastic experience for all involved; there was a warm welcome from each of the local communities we camped in and rode through. This year 1200 students participated in the event; each of them battling the extreme heat, rain and strong winds.
While in each local town the Ride2School Team managed to visit over 30 different rural schools. As always, it was a pleasure to meet face to face with all the students and teachers. We were all greeted with a warm welcome and a sense of curiosity.
The purpose of our school visit was to promote active transport and assist in bike education programs amongst rural communities. It was wonderful to learn that a number of the schools we visited were already very active school communities. Active transport and health promotion was an essential aspect for a number of these schools, events such as National Ride2School Day were not based with the school community but involved a large portion of the local community.
Thank you to all to all the schools that welcomed us, and we hope to do a lot more visits through out 2015 and the next RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride.
If you’d like the Ride2School Team to visit your school please contact us!
An amazing welcome for Rosedale PS!
The benefits of active travel (riding, walking, skating, scooting) are well known within the community, yet new research shows most city and country parents continue to drive their children to school and other close destinations, lowering their activity levels at a time where childhood obesity continues to spike.
The study by Deakin University researchers investigated nearly 700 primary and secondary students in 16 randomly selected government schools in urban and rural areas to find out why parents drive their children to school and local destinations, even though they are within walking distance of home.
Lead author and postdoctoral researcher Dr Alison Carver says half the primary school children in the study were chauffeured to their classrooms and most were also accompanied by a parent on local trips, almost always in a car.
Dr Carver highlighted that the two major reasons for parents driving their children to school were related to traffic and lack of trust within the neighbourhood.
“Fear of their child being hit in traffic and lack of trust in the local neighbourhood were among the main reasons parents gave for preferring to drive their children.” said Dr Carver.
Dr Carver went on to emphasise the irony in that parents who drove their children to school did so because of concerns about traffic. Yet by using their cars they contributed to the increasing congestion on the roads and around the school.
The research highlighted that improved facilities would address the two barriers parents had to allowing their children to actively travel to and from school, building social trust and community connectedness. In addition to these, initiatives to encourage riding and walking on local streets would encourage greater social interaction and increase student activity levels.
In previous research Dr Carver undertook found that walking or riding to school and other places is beneficial not only for children’s physical health, but for their mental health as well.
As children grow older allowing them to travel without adults has further benefits: promoting stronger relationships with peers, the development of spatial and navigational skills, as well as a stronger sense of community.
“In addition to being important for public health, walking and cycling are sustainable forms of transport which are considered vital to reduce carbon emissions and lessen our dependency on fossil fuels and combat climate change.” Dr Carver said.
“By following the steps identified here it may be possible for children once again to experience their neighbourhoods on foot or by bicycle, rather than from the backseat of their parent’s car.” added Dr Carver.
The Ride2School Program works with families, communities, policy-makers and partner organisations to encourage students to ride, walk, skate or scoot to school.
A perfect way to introduce the Ride2School program into your school community is to encourage them to register for National Ride2School Day, Friday 13 March 2015. Victorian schools who register by the end of the month will go into the draw to in $1,000 towards their Ride2School activities.
Content taken from ‘A short ride to obesity‘ by Geoff Maslen, The Age, Tuesday 30 October 2012.
Image from ‘Lethal pick up zone‘ by Nicole Fudge, Sunshine Coast Daily, 19 July 2012.
Associate Professor of Geography at The University of New South Wales and Bike Futures conference presenter, Dr Paul Tranter said the congestion around schools makes streets unsafe for parents and children, urging for a cultural shift.
”In car-dominated cities, the needs of both cyclists and children have been subordinated to the demands of motorists,” said Dr Tranter.
”Unfortunately, our response in Australia is to simply put our children in our own cars, which makes the problem worse. It contributes to traffic dangers.
”There are more cars on the road, so parents are driving their kids to school to protect them from the traffic danger created by other people driving their kids to school.”
The rate of cycling among children has declined in the past decade. Children under 15 are Australia’s most prolific riders, making up 52 per cent of people who ride a bike at least once a fortnight, according to the most recent census data from 2009. In 2000-01, the figure was 60 per cent.
Dr Tranter highlighed that children do not think of cycling as exercise or transport, but as a way to play and explore. Children driven everywhere risk developing health problems in later life, and also miss out on early skills in observing traffic and learning resilience.
The Ride2School program plays an integral part in increasing children’s active travel and reducing traffic congestion around schools.
Rocco and Wilani Smit regularly ride to sports and school with their children, Iliro and Inica, using off-road bike paths. After riding into the Melbourne CBD Breakfast on Ride2Work Day, they talked to The Age about the importance of instilling a riding culture in their children.
Content taken from ‘A biker-logical approach urged for safety‘ by Adam Carey, The Age, 18 October 2012.