Walk or wheel to school week
This week is officially ‘Walk or Wheel to School Week‘ for primary school kids in Christchurch, which is a great opportunity to walk or wheel with your kids to school on days that work for you.
With many of us working from home more often, the school commute might be a little less complicated, so ditching the car can be easier. It also gives you a bit of exercise throughout the day as I find it is easy to be sedentary at my desk when working at home.
In our family, we walk, scoot, or bike to school. We bike to work after the school drop off when working in the office.
Our only struggle is the day of my son’s guitar lesson when we have to lug an electric guitar, case and amp to school. We haven’t figured out how to strap them onto a bike safely, so on those days, we take the car and battle for a parking space. That is when a cargo bike would come in handy!
Active travel to school has multiple benefits for you, your children and the environment. Walking or biking with younger children to school not only gives you both a bit of physical exercise built into your day, it also allows you to teach them road rules and courtesy when using the roads and footpaths. If you do this while they are young, you can be confident they have the skills and experience to do so safely when they’re old enough to travel by themselves. Fewer cars around the school gate results in less congestion and safer journeys for everyone!
An added benefit of travelling actively with your children is the chance to talk. When walking my son home from school, we get time to chat. I love that he asks me those deeper ‘meaning of life’ questions or just tells me something interesting about his day like ‘Mum, we went on a bendy bus to the pools today’ (true story!).
Healthy habits started early, last a lifetime!
Recently the local council carried out a travel survey of children attending my son’s school and their parents. Most children live within the school’s enrolment zone, so they live within walking, scooting or cycling distance from school. The survey recorded nearly 60% of the children travel actively to school, which is great! But what was enlightening was that 78% of children said they would prefer to travel to school actively (walk, scooter, bike, bus). So even with an already relatively high active travel proportion, even more kids who want to travel to school actively but aren’t!
The main reason parents gave for driving their children to school was because they drop their child on their way to work. This leads to a wider question around commuting patterns and got me thinking… what changes can happen so that a parent doesn’t have to rely on a car journey? As an example, if a parent switched to travelling by bike, not only would they gain health and environmental benefits, it also unlocks the opportunity for their child/children to be accompanied to school either walking, scooting or by bike. One change, multiple benefits!
As we all know ‘healthy habits started early, last a lifetime!’
Top tips to bike with confidence
Even if you are not in Christchurch or your school is not involved in this walk or wheel to school week, you can still have a go, or simply start planning! If you are new to riding a bike or it’s been a few years, check out these top tips to getting on your bike with confidence.
Need help developing a travel plan for your organisation?
Abley specialises in helping organisations track carbon emissions from business travel and commuting and put in place plans to reduce their environmental impact. If you’d like to talk about a travel plan for your organisation, contact our sustainability and transportation specialists.