- Friday 23 March 2018
An Australian-first active travel program to encourage students to ride to school rolled through the Caloundra State School gates today to celebrate National Ride to School Day 2018 (Friday, March 23).
Introduced by Sunshine Coast Council, TravelSmart’s RideScore is an incentive-based program that sees participants accumulate a reward point each day they cycle to school.
They earn prizes as they reach milestones – the more you ride, the more prizes you receive.
RideScore also helps parents and carers with technology that confirms when their child arrives or leaves the school grounds.
Division 2 Cr Tim Dwyer said council was excited to have partnered with Caloundra State School for the trial to get its students and RideScore moving.
“National Ride to School Day 2018 is the perfect day to launch this trial that aims to encourage kids to actively travel to school,” Cr Dwyer said.
“Thirty-two students have already signed up to the program and I’m looking forward to seeing them put the program and technology through its paces.
“They’ll provide valuable user experience data for the rest of the 2018 school year.”
RideScore uses Bluetooth technology to record student bicycle trips and notifies parents/carers when their child arrives at school and departs for home.
The Bluetooth reader is located at the school’s bicycle storage area and reads a beacon attached to each student’s bike.
It then sends a message to the registered email each time they pass the reader with their bike.
“We’re all juggling work and home commitments and council hopes its RideScore program provides the extra peace of mind our parents need to consider riding to school as a possible option for them and their kids,” Cr Dwyer said.
Caloundra State School Principal Stephen Logan said the school was grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a program and keen to put the concept of “healthy bodies, healthy minds” to the test.
“Research suggests that children who practice active travel to school are more engaged and ready to learn,” Mr Logan said.
“It’s great to join forces with council to have this type of innovation in our school, hopefully every school one day.”
Caloundra mother Kerry Barlow has already put RideScore to the test.
“It’s given me massive peace of mind daily. I’d pay for one,” she said.
Fellow Caloundra State School parent Fiona Thomme said RideScore was a great idea.
“It definitely gave us more confidence letting our kids ride to school knowing I’d be notified when they got there.”
Cr Dwyer said council recognised that incentives alone will not keep kids on their bikes.
“There are a number of barriers to active travel including road safety concerns, personal safety, and hazards or infrastructure that may restrict a safe, clear and direct path,” he said.
“To further support RideScore’s success, I can confirm council will spend $380,000 in the 2018/2019 financial year to deliver projects identified in the Caloundra State School Precinct Pedestrian and Cycling Network Improvement Study.
“The study was undertaken as part of an on-going State School Precinct Program to identify and deliver infrastructure improvements to support active transport (walking and cycling) as the preferred mode of travel to schools.
“I look forward to watching this improved infrastructure take shape from July 2018.
“The work council’s Traffic and Transportation team has done here ticks all the boxes towards council’s vision of being the healthy, smart and creative region.”
Image: Deputy Mayor Cr Tim Dwyer, Caloundra State School Adopt-A-Cop Acting Sergeant Kelly O'Brien and council's TravelSmart representatives celebrate Ride to School Day 2018 with RideScore and Caloundra State School mum Fiona Thomme and her son Owen.
What is active travel? Active travel is when you leave the car at home and instead use physical activity such as riding a bike, a scooter or a skateboard OR walking.
Active travel to school is good for our school community because:
- riding and walking is exercise, and exercise is essential for good health
- riding and walking gets our blood pumping and makes us feel more alert and energised
- riding and walking means there are less cars travelling around our school, which makes our local streets safer.
Active school travel in Australia
- Physical activity is essential to children’s health and wellbeing.
- Over 70% of children and 91.5% of young people are not doing enough physical activity for good health.
- Children and young people should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day. (Australian Government Department of Health. Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. 2017)
- Active travel to school is the easiest way to help children to reach their daily physical activity guidelines.
- There is strong evidence that in young people, as physical activity increases academic performances improves.
- 70% of primary school children are driven to school
- Active school travel has become the exception rather than the norm Forty years ago, about 75% of children walked or cycled to school, and only 25% were driven or used other means of transport.
- Today, more than 70% of primary school children are driven to and from school every day.
Cycling and pedestrian infrastructure enhancements next to Caloundra State School to be delivered in the 2018/2019 financial year include:
1. Pathway improvements at the corner of Queen Street and George Street
2. Refuge island on Edith Street near the Regent Street intersection
3. Refuge island and new footpath on Glenray Avenue
4. New footpath on Ardmore Court
5. Footpath widening on George Street near underpass
6. New footpath linking Glenray Court to Plover Street
7. New footpath on the western side of George Street linking to stairs
8. Kerb outbuilds to assist pedestrians to cross Arthur Street at Edith Street intersection
9. New footpath on Bowman Road south of Mary Street
10. New footpath on Fairlie Crescent linking to Maltman Street
11. New footpath on Authur Street to link Minchinton Street and Mary Street