Cycling in Sydney Australia
We've stopped our now 8 year old from riding to school. He is small and fast (U9 NSW Track Champ).
It just takes a split second decision by him to cross the pedestrian crossing with a parent double parked or pulled up in the no stopping zone to coincide with a motorist driving through unable to see him until last minute...
He walks. Walking is good. He is slower, and the hope is motorists have more time to react when he appears from around an illegally stopped/parked SUV in front of a motorist doing 40 km/h whilst moving at speed.
It is actually safer for him to cross the road well away from the pedestrian crossing, less parked/stopped cars, and he knows it is life/death so he stops and then runs across with the bike in traffic breaks. That said side streets are also an issue, motorists assume right of way and again the parked cars makes it super hard for small people to see if the way is clear.
Long way to go before anyone (not just kids) are safe.
that's the problem, kids can be taught the basic give way rules and how to cross roads, but also they have to know the dangers created by many motorist not adhering to those rules! Received wisdom says kids under twelve don't generally have the mental ability to handle complex situations, but from about eight or nine ( definitely from ten) they can handle getting to school by themselves if the route is well known and they have plenty of practice, depending on the route and the child of course. Only my opinion, and experience with my kids, who managed to catch two buses to school from age ten.
There was some research done in Melbourne that girls actually have better stranger danger and problem solving skills to get around but they rarely get to use these skills as they aren’t allowed out. Yet boys are given more freedom but don’t have the skills. Go figure!
When I was a kid there weren't any mobile phones, no one got driven to school, there wasn't the general traffic congestion that encouraged aggressive driving to get there on time, etc etc
But someone will point out crime and crash rates were higher back in the good Ol days:) and the roads were crap, I learnt to handle gravel sand and mud early on, on my one mile trip from home to highway.
At my kids school, the previous principal had banned cycling to school as "it was too dangerous". In general it is a safe area, but there is a reasonable amount of traffic including being on a rat run. A Dutch family arrived and promptly started riding to school, leaving their bikes against the fence outside the school. Some enterprising parent saw the bikes and thought theyd been left there as unwanted items so took them. (Safely returned after public appeal). Clearly the Dutch have a different expectation to Aussies on cycling to school.
The new principal has allowed cycling, good news, but only a handful now do it. They've also just instituted a daily exercise program in the playground, given the benefits of exercise on learning....but no active promotion of active travel to school.
The number of parents doing the wrong thing when driving is far from trivial. Worst I've seen is reversing out of the banned side street next to the school whilst talking on the mobile, with kids trying to cross the road, double parking next to the crossing etc. Got told to "go f$&@ myself" when I asked a clealy distracted passing motorist to put down his phone during drop off time.
Are principals allowed to actually "ban" cycling to school?
Active discouragement with lots of "safety messages" and morbid pictures of injuries (caused by drivers) and refusing to allocate a safe spot to leave the bikes ; yeah, but outright ban?
I've heard that some P&Cs have passed resolutions banning cycling, so the Principal might be pressured into it, if they weren't already in that camp. I don't suppose a Principal's powers extend beyond the school gate, but they try it on with uniforms and behaviour on buses etc.
I notice a few school kids riding dockless bikes around Leichhardt about 3 pm, and see a few braving Balmain Rd at the City West Link, riding in the traffic.
Added: The official line in Victoria- Principals do have the power
What on earth gives P&C the right to ban a mode of transport before and after school hours?
Can they override <get it?> the laws in the country / state ?
by the way, actually that link says : The principal determines whether to allow students to bicycle to and from a venue during school hours.
I'm thinking they could ban bicycles from school grounds but they can't ban the bicycles being used outside of school property.
Otherwise they could ban kids from being driven to school and that would be the biggest safety initiative they could do
The link you have provided says that it’s the parents responsibility if children cycle to school. Principals only have the power to say no to cycling during school time eg riding a bike as part of an excursion.