Senior Lecturer Jan Garrard of Deakin University strikes again with her article “Why aren’t more kids cycling to school”. The proportion of young people who walked, cycled or used public transport to school plummeted from about 84% in 1970 to about 4.6% now. The benefits of physical activity in children includes the obvious health benefits as well as higher academic performance.
I think Jan Garrard is saying that kids would like to walk or cycle to schools, but their parents don’t let them. She then points to other affluent countries such as Netherlands, Denmark and Japan where cycling is prioritised over car travel in built up areas, making it safer and more convenient than in Australia.
Ms. Garrard explains “Australian parents risk being blamed (and feeling personal guilt) if their child is injured cycling or walking to school. This is because in car-oriented countries, such as Australia, it is considered the responsibility of parents to keep their children safe from cars by keeping them in cars”