Pedalling a safety message

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore with students from Bourke Street Public School.

A focus on showing students how to get to school safely on two wheels is helping families embrace pedal power.

At the Ride2School Day in March, Bourke Street Public School made sure students rode on pavements and in the separated cycleway.

Principal Peter Johnston said learning cycling skills not only helped children and parents with their commute, but also taught the students how to share the footpaths with the community.

"We encourage our children to walk and ride to school," Mr Johnston said. "It's good for their health and the health of the environment.

"Riding to school goes some way toward the recommended minimum 60 minutes of daily exercise, sets up good habits for life and can prevent obesity and diabetes."

As well as cycling to school on the day, students took part in a cycling skills class led by instructors.

Darren Neagle, team leader of the department's Road Safety Education Program, agreed with the need for students to learn safe cycling skills.

"We support the RTA recommendations such as the need for parents and carers to actively guide and supervise children riding bicycles who are under 10 years old," Mr Neagle said.

"Children under 12 and older riders who are supervising them, are allowed by law to ride on footpaths.

"Children aged between 10 and 12 should avoid busy roads. Younger riders should cycle in a safe place off the road, away from vehicles and driveways.

"Schools are responsible for a student once they have entered the school premises. It is important that we promote safe riding practices to both students and their families. These messages include always wear a helmet, be a responsible cyclist and take care when sharing paths with pedestrians and ride away from busy roads.

"Nearly 40 per cent of bicycle-related casualties that involve children occur because the rider was not wearing a helmet. It is important we continue to promote helmet use when we teach road safety as part of our PDHPE programs," Mr Neagle said.

Find out more about road safety education.

Photo: Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore joins in with the students from Bourke Street Public School. Photo by Vivienne Roditis.

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