The City of Greater Geelong receives many requests to address school travel, parking and safety issues outside its 70 primary and 22 secondary schools.
With an estimated 70% of children driven to and from school each day, it was calculated that if the number of children walking or cycling could be increased to 60%, this would reduce the number of cars around schools during ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’ times by around 35-40 cars per school.
At times, parents may have practical reasons for driving to and from school, but if all families who could adopt ‘active transport’ modes were to do so, the environment near and around schools would be safer for all those who choose to walk, ride, ‘scoot’ or skate to school.
Getting There Safely is an approach developed by the City of Greater Geelong, working together with local schools and key partners in several ways, via a formal traffic management procedure that includes the following.
- Reviewing parking arrangements outside schools when requested by a school, to determine if current infrastructure is contributing to a safety issue.
- Assessing any reported physical barriers to walking and cycling to school, such as availability of cycle paths, cycle storage and drinking fountains.
- Providing school crossings and supervisors where criteria are met, plus a Local Laws service to monitor safety at or near crossings.
- Monitoring speeds and liaising with Victoria Police about speeding in school speed zones.
- Promoting existing resources such as the Kids on the Move traffic safety education kit to teachers.
- Offering schools practical help developing school travel plans, such as maps to plot where students live, to highlight if families are within walking distance (up to 1.5km) and a school travel planning CD.
- Offering road safety sessions and information for parents, to help keep children safe.
- Providing resources and support to help parents and carers address fears and reasons behind driving, thus encouraging ‘active travel’ modes
- Promoting and supporting ‘active travel’ annual events in schools.
This approach has achieved many positive outcomes for road safety and promotion of ‘active transport’.
Through the Geelong Road Safety Plan, this documented approach will become core business for The City of Greater Geelong and local schools well into the future.
Another positive outcome is the embedding of ‘active travel’ events into the annual calendar at many schools, such as Ride2School Day, Walk Safely To School Day (national event) and Walk To School Day (Victorian event). According to data collected from Ride2School , during 2009, those Geelong schools that recorded results “had at least an average 50% active travel rate - more than double the State average.
Visit improving safety around our schools for information and resources to help improve safety at school drop off and pick up times.