The New Zealand Government has proposed to have more than half of schoolkids walking, biking, scooting, or skating to school by 2030. They recognise the long-term health benefits of daily physical activity, and many studies show that regular exercise improves children’s physical, social, and emotional abilities, their resilience, and even their creativity.
Of course, all schools, in the interest of student health and wellbeing, must make sure that all walking, biking, scooting, and skating is done smartly and safely.
SchoolDocs has recently introduced a Getting to School Safely section. It includes subsections on Walking and Wheels, as well as Parking, which encourages parents and whānau to practise safe behaviour during pick-up and drop-off times.
John Lieswyn, Senior Transportation Planner at Viastrada, works with schools to develop and implement safe school travel plans. He reiterated the message that active transport to school has benefits for students, schools, and the physical and social environment.
Make these policies work for your school
The new Getting to School Safely topics work best if schools can supply their specific information:
- Walking: Add information about a walking bus if your school has one.
- Wheels: Add details about bikes, scooters, and skateboards on school grounds, and if your school has a bike track. The police recommend that no child under 10 should cycle to school unless accompanied by an adult, but we can accommodate exceptions to this guideline if schools have developed their own policies.
- Parking: Link to a parking plan, map with safety information, and suggested routes to school. Add specific details about:
- pick-up and drop-off points
- designated turning areas
- no parking on footpaths
- no stopping or parking on broken yellow lines.
For our secondary schools, we understand that many students will be driving to school. In our Student Drivers topic, you can specify details about any student driver agreements as well as rules about carrying passengers.
If you’re looking for additional information, the NZTA Education Portal has great resources for schools, including scooter, skateboard, and bike safety tips, how to set up a walking bus, and ways to encourage students to walk to school.
By Grant Pheloung