Walk, ride or scoot to school to start the year on the right foot
News for the Department of Transport
The new school year can be an exciting and anxious time for parents and students alike, least of which is navigating school traffic. Parents are advised to avoid traffic stress and pick up and drop off issues by leaving the car at home and encouraging children to actively get to school.
Encouraging children to walk, ride a bike, scoot or catch public transport to school is an easy daily opportunity for movement which ensures they can arrive to school alert and ready to learn.
“With the increase in children’s screen time and sedentariness, choosing an active way to get to school is the perfect antidote,” said Michelle Prior, Director Active Transport and Safety, Department of Transport.
“Most children in WA return to school next week, so now is the time to think about how you can help them arrive fresh and motivated for school by encouraging them to walk, bike or scoot to school.”
It is a good idea to plan ahead by mapping and trialling a safe route to take to school before the first day.
Parents are encouraged to supervise younger children and instil good road safety habits from an early age. These include always wearing a helmet when riding or scooting and practising the stop, look, listen, think procedure when crossing the road.
“It’s easy to get to school in a safe and active way, and the benefits for their health, independence and community connections as well as local congestion are really important,” said Prior.
“To start, try it for one day a week, or joining your children on the journey until it becomes a regular routine.
“If your school isn’t within walking distance from home, you can still share the benefits by parking on a quiet street a few blocks away and walking the rest of the journey.”
For students starting secondary school, the new school year is an opportunity for older children to build independence.
“For most students, their secondary school is further away than their primary school, so encouraging your kids to ride to school or catch public transport can help them develop road skills and create a sense of belonging to their community,” said Prior.
With more active trips to schools, schools also benefit from less motor vehicle traffic resulting in less congestion and safer school roads.
Schools can participate in the Department of Transport’s Your Move Schools program, which offers online tools, resources, professional learning and tailored advice to help create a supportive, safe and active school community with less traffic and more people walking and cycling.
The Your Move website provides schools with an easy to use and interactive platform to share their activities and successes with other schools.
Participating schools receive points that can be redeemed for a range of prizes, including Connecting Schools grants that improve bike paths near schools, bike skills and end of trip facilities at WA schools.
“Over 115 schools, representing over 40,000 students, are now signed up to Your Move Schools in WA and over half of these schools run several activities to promote active travel at their school,” said Prior.
“Our recent feedback shows an increase of 13 per cent in student use of active transport among our participating schools.”
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