Why aren’t more kids cycling to school?

A recent article was published on The Conversation by
Jan Garrard, Senior Lecturer, School of Health & Social Development at
Deakin University, posing the question ‘why aren’t more kids cycling to

Ms Garrard published some interesting statistics about
how car use has changed over the past 40 years, claiming that in 1970,  
nearly all young people in Australia walked,
cycled or took public transport to school or university (84%). Few travelled by
car (16%). In 2011, almost every child is driven to school, with Melbourne data
claiming cycling to school comprising only 2.6% of trips increasing to 4.6%
when combined with walking.

Jan claims that whilst many parents would like their
children to walk or cycle to school, there are several real or imagined worries
that prevent them, from trip distance to traffic hazards, ‘stranger danger’ to
the increase inconvenience of cycling compared to being driven. Safety concerns
lead parents to keep children safe from
cars by keeping them in
cars. The
article claims that long distances travelled with children in cars are equally
as risky as short trips by bicycle, yet the two have very different

Schools are trying to encourage active travel
programs, and yet the number of children riding to school is actually
declining. The author claims that urban environments that are appealing for
cycling, and convenient, fast and safe for bicycle riders will lead to
increased usage. When the children’s mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers
and friends are all using bicycles to get around, it will no doubt make the
leap of faith for children to ride to school a little easier.

Read the article in full on The Conversation here

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