Cy­cling to School and Back?

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Cycling Series - By Su­sanna Mills

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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