This morning I was listening to a news program on the TV while eating my breakfast. They were talking about something so simple, but also something that I hadn’t really thought about before… Why don’t children cycle to school anymore?
If you were once like me, you know that every morning you’d get ready, grab your paper lunch bag (consisting of one apple and one sandwich) from the kitchen then jump on your bike and ride to school. It was efficient, it was quick and as long as we didn’t dilly dally at our friends’ house on the way to school, we always go there on time.
So why don’t kids today do it? There are a couple of obvious reasons – firstly, children these days live in bubble wrap and the idea of a young person going on a 3 or 4 kilometre adventure by themselves is enough to scare most parents out of letting it ever happen. Then, there is the fact that choice of school isn’t just dependent on location anymore. Some people I know drive right across to the other side of Brisbane every day to drop their kids off in the middle of peak hour traffic.
But the truth is, that there are so many advantages of kids riding to school so why don’t we, as a society do more to encourage it?
Firstly, for the individual child, it is great exercise. Even the kids who don’t participate in team sport with other kids and are allowed not to attend sporting carnivals can do it and get their body moving. This has become a huge issue as Australia’s embarrassingly high child obesity rates continue to rise. And, it is also fun for kids. It is fun to ride past your friends house and then continue the ride to school together. Children who live near others and can ride most of the way to school together are also safe from the dodgy characters we have in our world, so that makes it easier for parents to let them do it.
Secondly, it is great for the school. Each school wants to have an active, healthy community and student body, and encouraging kids to ride to school does just that. It also helps schools to reduce congestion in surrounding streets in pick up and drop of areas – something that the school staff and neighbours will appreciate I’m sure.
Thirdly, it is better for the environment. That first day back at school every term hits my morning drive to work hard. It always seems like the amount of cars on the road has increased tenfold. So, if kids start riding bikes to school, there will be less cars on the road which means one big thing – less pollution.
Basically, we had it right when we used to cycle to school. And if we look back, even though we didn’t have iPads or computers or anything of the sort, it was a great childhood and riding to school is one of those things that made it great… Even if we didn’t think it at the time!
So today join in our discussion… Did you cycle to school? Should kids today cycle to school? Do you think it could solve some problems that we’re currently faces with?