Ride to walk to school is a school curriculum program from the ACT Government. The website has material to download for teachers, students, parents and families. The Ride to walk to school program was implemented by the Physical Activity Foundation until December 2021. The future of the program is now unclear pending further information from the Transport Minister.
ACT Health established programs to encourage walking and cycling to school in 2012. A decade later, most schools still do not participate in these programs. The participation rate for secondary schools is much lower than for primary schools. The ACT Government is slow to improve infrastructure around schools for active travel. Roads must be perceived as safe for these programs to succeed. What will it take to change this?
A demonstration of a car centric culture is the preference to duplicate arterials rather than fix the infrastructure around our schools. Good local road infrastructure is what makes our suburbs walkable and rideable. For children to walk or ride to school we need good and safe infrastructure within a kilometre of all schools. First, we need to make the roads safe for kids, and only then will parents think about other alternatives to driving children to school.
Drive so others survive! National Road Safety Week is coming up next week, 15 to 22 May 2022. Traffic injury is the biggest killer of Australian children under 15. Amongst vulnerable road users, children are the most vulnerable. We need our children to be safe crossing roads if they are to walk to school. Many schools regard the existing safety to be inadequate. Let TCCS do more and talk less.
Speeding has become the norm in Canberra. “In a 60 km/h speed limit area, the risk of involvement in a casualty crash doubles with each 5 km/h increase in travelling speed above 60 km/h.” 5 km/h above the speed limit is the equivalent of the blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. We have kicked the drink driving habit, can we now kick the speeding habit? A 25-year-old Australian study warns of the dangers of speeding.
The average wait time for an issue to be resolved was 52.20 days. This is considerably longer than the answer provided before the PTCS Committee. What we should learn from this is we need to request data to monitor the quality of services. Opinions do not count.
Recent studies demonstrate that bad ACT road design is a major factor in why our roads poorly serve pedestrians and cyclists. Kambah is a good example. The roads need to be fixed quickly with affordable solutions. If you would like your children to be able to walk around the suburb safely, Local Area Traffic Management is worth knowing about.
Children do not walk to school because cars make it unsafe to do so. To improve road safety for children around schools, we require traffic calming measures, on all sides, and the implementation of safe zones, where children can move without crossing roads and getting close to motor vehicles. Any approach will require some government expenditure and urban renewal. TCCS have named the process Local Area Traffic Management (LATM). The Lyneham Primary School Petition is a typical attempt to improve safety around the school. At the moment, the chances of any improvement, however, are low. 😦
Making an intersection safe may involve signalisation – in normal language, we would say traffic lights. Traffic lights work but are expensive. The price is justified in the case of high traffic volumes or many accidents (Black Spot Program). For side streets, the simpler and cheaper way is zebra crossing.
Active travel faces many barriers. One is our perceptions of a safety, or fear. As a society, we seem to be getting more fearful. Our perceptions of safety are important. Psychology and neuroscience has come a long way to explaining our nature. The availability cascade is a contributing factor in our perception of risk.