Let's give our children safer school trips

With students now back in classrooms around the country, schools have become hives of activity around pick-up and drop-off times. 

That means increased motor traffic at the same time as children crossing roads by foot, pedaling down streets on their bikes, and zipping along paths by scooter and skateboard.  

And the risks for students who actively travel to school are not confined to just designated school zones, but also the surrounding streets and paths. 

We can all play our part in keeping the streets safe by taking extra care around these areas.  

But the best solution? Leave the car at home and get involved in active transport yourself. 

Whether you're doing the drop-off or simply passing through, walking or riding a bike can reduce car congestion and in turn stress levels for students, parents, teachers and the general community.  

In addition, you're contributing to cleaner air and your own improved health. The wins are everywhere you look. 

Open Streets 

With a view to creating happier, safer and healthier environments around schools, Bicycle Network has been working to clear the way for active transport through its Open Streets initiative.

At selected schools, one day a week, over the course of 3 weeks, one school street is opened to active transport only at drop off and pick up times. The street becomes exclusively open for stress-free walking, riding, scooting or skating. 

Non-residential motor traffic is diverted, with carefully planned signage, clear messaging ahead of time, and traffic controllers present on each Open Streets day. 

Drop-off points are also set up nearby so families travelling from afar can park the car and join in the fun. Remember, part way is ok!  

In 2021 and 2022, Bicycle Network partnered with Merri-bek City Council and ran 5 Open Streets trials across the area, as part of Merri-bek's Ride & Stride Program.  

It proved hugely popular and had a lasting impact for those that participated. 

At Brunswick North West Primary School, for example, nearly 75% of students used some form of active transport on day one of Open Streets, almost 25% more than on a regular school day.  

92% of families surveyed said they would like to see Open Streets take place regularly in the future. At Moreland Primary School, that figure sat at 97%. 

Peaceful streets of the future and National Ride2School Day 2023! 

In 2023, Bicycle Network is building on the success of its Merri-bek Open Streets by expanding into new terrain. 

In the month of February, trials will take place at Lloyd Street Primary School in Stonnington, with students and their families to enjoy car-free roads during drop-off and pick-up hours across three separate days.  

You can find more information on our Open Streets here.

If you’re a council and would like to run Open Streets in your area, please get in touch with Manon, our Ride2School Program Manager at .  

And there is opportunity for students around the country to get into the spirit and build healthy habits that last a lifetime, with National Ride2School Day fast approaching on Friday 24 March. 

Australia's biggest day of active travel, National Ride2School day involves more than 350,000 students around the nation who make their way to school by bike riding, walking, scooting and skating. 

If you're a teacher who'd like your school to get involved, be sure to register your school! You can do so on our website. You’ll also find plenty of resources to help you organize a promote the day below.

If you’re a parent or guardian, talk to your school and check they are registered to take part. We’re looking forward to seeing you all riding, scooting, skating or walking on the 24th March! 

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