Safety concerns stop young cyclists

Colac South West Primary School pupils and keen cyclists Harley Willis and Brendan Matheson are among children who will hit the streets today for Ride2School Day.

SAFETY concerns are preventing Colac children from riding their bikes to school.

Today is National Ride2School Day but only two Colac and district schools – Colac South West Primary School and Apollo Bay P-12 College – have signed up to participate.

The Apollo Bay college also postponed its Ride2School day until next week due to poor weather.

Colac’s Sacred Heart Primary School principal Jack Lenaghan said about 10 of 370 pupils usually rode to school, which was more than previous years.

“Personally I’d love to see more kids do it but I understand parents’ fear about it – with Trinity next door as well, there’s a lot of traffic in mornings and afternoons,” he said.

Mr Lenaghan said streets south of the school were “inadequate” for cycling because there were no curbs or channels.

“It’s certainly something we’d be really keen on the shire at least having another look at,” he said.

Colac South West Primary School assistant principal Ann Buchanan said it was important to promote active and healthy lifestyles.

“Research shows most kids going to school in Australia live within 10 minutes of the school but are dropped off, and I think it’s really about sending that message that exercise is really important to health,” she said.

Mrs Buchanan said Prep to Grade Three children should not ride bikes without adults.

“But they can join in by walking and we encourage parents to be actively involved too,” she said.

Colac Primary School principal Allan Halliwell said the school didn’t have time to organise an activity for Ride2School Day because the year started with a shorter-than-usual eight-week term.

But Mr Halliwell said he was “a bit nervous” about Ride2School because the school was yet to have its bike education program this year.

“We really don’t want any child under Grade Three riding to school unsupervised,” he said.

“The problem is when you back something like Ride2School Day, you get some children riding in areas they don’t know and charging along footpaths.

“And there are probably drivers who aren’t used to having lots of bikes around the school.”

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