Cycling is about "Safe exercise" and "Safe low-emission travel" The Health and Fitness objective is UNDERMINED if the means of exercise is UNSAFE! This blog STRONGLY OPPOSES certain reforms VicRoads is currently considering: “cyclists could be allowed to treat red lights as Give Way signs. And the same could also APPLY at pedestrian lights."
Also "PERMITTING cyclists, riding cautiously, to proceed past a stationary tram;" "allowing teenagers to ride on footpaths"(Herald Sun)PDowe
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Pedestrian Safety Kids Walk to School Parents fears for kids with Traffic & 'stranger danger' Herald Sun Community Safety
CHAUFFEUR parents are stopping many
children from walking because they fear they will injured in traffic or be
exposed to strangers, new research has found.
But in trying to
protect their kids, experts say parents are putting them at risk of obesity and
associated health risks.
Research carried out
by Deakin University School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences explored the
reasons many parents choose to drive their children to school and to local
destinations, despite most being aware of the benefits of "active
transport" such as riding and cycling.
The survey, of almost
700 Victorian children in rural and regional areas, found 46 per cent of
primary school children were driven home from school by their parents.
The reasons given by
parents for collecting their child from school by car included the school being
too far away to walk (47 per cent), concerns about traffic danger (45 per
cent), the school pick-up being on the way to another activity or destination
(33 per cent), the child being too young or unreliable (22 per cent) and
concerns about "stranger danger" or dangers from other adults (20 per
October is Walk To
School Month, a VicHealth initiative encouraging families to walk to and from
Mother of two Ali
Pain is an exception to the survey, saying her sons, Patrick, 10, and Luke, 7,
would rather travel independently than be driven everywhere.
"They walk, ride
or scoot to and from school every day, rain or shine," Ms Pain said.
"They would much prefer to be with their mates. Once I was sure they were
mature enough not to chase a ball on to the road, I let them walk
Both boys walk around
1km to school with friends, but Luke is usually also accompanied by a parent -
even if he insists mum or dad walk behind.
Ms Pain praised the
boys' inner-west primary school for encouraging children to use active
"I would say
around 85 per cent of the children walk or ride to school, so there are always
a lot of people for the boys to talk to along the way."
research fellow Allison Carver, who co-authored the report, said most parents
acknowledged the benefits of active transport but many struggled to put it into
parents should walk with their children, but work on building their skills so
they can eventually walk or cycle themselves. Of course, the age at which a
child is ready travel unaccompanied will depend on the individual child as well
as how far they need to walk and their local infrastructure."
Ms Carver said it was
ironic one of the main parental concerns was traffic, yet they were adding to
it by driving themselves.
we came across was one of convenience. Driving to local destinations seems to
be the default option, because it is considered easier. We have become a very
car-driven society and we really need to encourage a change in parental
attitudes on that one," Ms Carver said.
She said 85 per cent
of parents surveyed said they were allowed to go out alone at a younger age
than they allowed their children to do, but said increased traffic risks and a
perceived increased risk of harm from strangers prevented them from doing the
same with their children.
manager of Physical Activity at VicHealth, said VicHealth research showed
almost half the parents of 5-11 year olds believed there was a high risk their
child would be abducted if they walked around their neighbourhood alone.
Mr McLeod described
these fears as irrational and ultimately unhealthy.
"The world has
changed, yes, and this includes having access to a huge amount of information
through technology, which can make it difficult to distinguish between real and
perceived danger," Mr McLeod said.
opportunities to walk their neighbourhoods alone. Of course exercise is
important for their physical health, but there are also benefits for mental
health as independence helps build resilience," Mr McLeod said.
The Deakin University
research concluded that programs to improve road safety, as well as initiatives
to build social trust and connectedness, would help increase the number of
children walking or cycling to school.