Children in the City of Sydney are bucking the trend and riding at double the amount of their greater Sydney peers. A 2017 national survey found 40 per cent of 10 to 17 year olds regularly ride in the city.
To celebrate, hundreds of pupils at Newtown Public School got on their bikes today, Friday 23 March 2018, for national ride2school day.
The inner city school hosted a morning of bike-based fun with the City of Sydney providing free bike bells, tune ups and fruit.
Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Jess Miller arrived on an electric cargo bike, carrying prizes for the best young rider and best decorated bike.
The City taught more than 800 school children to ride last year, and nearly 4000 children took free balance bike classes at Sydney Park Cycling Centre.
Across Australia the number of children who are physically active has dropped significantly since the 1970s when 80 per cent of children walked or cycled to school. Today, around 24 per cent of Australian children under the age of 18 are classified as overweight and two thirds of kids travel to and from school by car.
Newtown Public School principal Abbey Proud said ride2School day was a great opportunity for her pupils.
“The students at Newtown Public School are so enthusiastic and it’s great to see their excited smiles when they arrive at the school gates on their bikes, scooters, skateboards or on foot,” Ms Proud said.
“Riding with your children is a great way to model safe riding behaviour and to teach them to be more independent.”
The City of Sydney is planning a new cycleway along Wilson and Burren Streets to connect Newtown and Redfern, with construction due to start later this year. 40km/h speed limits were introduced to Newtown streets last year in a bid to limit the impact of traffic in the area.
Ride2School day is organised by the national bicycle charity, Bicycle Network.