Parents and carers are responsible for a student's travel to and from school. Schools take over responsibility and duty of care for the student once they enter the school premises.
Benefits of riding to and from school
Being a safe active traveller can help:
- reduce traffic
- reduce our carbon footprint
- promote physical activity
- provide an opportunity for supervising adults to talk with their child about road safety.
Schools often work together with their community to agree on guidelines for riding to and from school.
Primary aged students are safest when they are supervised by an adult when riding. Children under 16 can now ride on the footpath unless there are signs prohibiting cycling.
Every school's surrounding traffic environment is different. Every school's entry and exit rules for students are different and are therefore managed differently.
The department encourages riding as one way to be physically active. Sometimes the busy roads and conditions around the outside of the school can impact student safety. Riding may not be the safest option for the pedestrians or the rider. Schools can support and encourage safety for everyone with consistent safety on wheels' advice and reminders for students, parents and carers.
What is taught in schools about wheel safety
Schools want their students and community to be safe. Wheel safety can be taught as part of the PDHPE K-10 syllabus, reinforcing safe, legal use of bikes, scooters and skateboards.
Key road safety messages for primary aged students have been developed by Transport for NSW to ensure consistent messages for children across NSW.
Safety Town https://safetytown.com.au/ is an online primary school resource that provides teaching and learning activities which reinforces safe riding practices, as part of the K-6 PDHPE syllabus.
High school students explore the importance of safe decision making when on the road, and following safety advice.
Riding advice for parents and carers
As younger children are developing the skills needed to ride alone, the safest place to ride bikes, scooters and skateboards is within fenced areas away from roads.
Until children are at least 10 years old they should ride away from vehicles and driveways. As they are learning to ride it is important to ride or walk alongside them and talk about how to be a safer bicycle rider.
Children between 10 years old and 12 years old should ride away from busy roads. Accompany your children when they are riding a bike until they are at least 10 years old. Ride or walk alongside them and talk about how to be a safe bicycle rider.
Children between 10 and 12 should ride away from busy roads.
Children under 16 and adult riders accompanying and supervising them may ride on the footpath unless there are signs specifically prohibiting cycling.
Teach your children to be safe bicycle riders by getting them to always:
- follow bicycle road rules including:
- ride to the left on footpaths
- give pedestrians right of way on footpaths
- watch out for cars entering or leaving driveways
- wear a correctly fitted bicycle helmet – it’s the law
- wear bright-coloured clothing such as a vest so other road users can see them.
Help children learn to ride safely away from roads until they are ready to make safe decisions.
For older children, think carefully about the following when judging their ability to ride on their own:
- How safe is the travel route?
- What are their riding skills like?
- How aware are they of their surroundings in the traffic environment?
- How well can they manage unexpected hazards?
Download information sheet for parents and carers - Ride a bicycle safely pdf 1258.46KB)
If your child is old enough and has suitable skills to ride alone, share and discuss information about travelling independently.
Your school will have procedures about students bringing bikes onto school grounds. Ensure your children follow these at all times.
Refer to the department's parent and carer information about safe travel - What if my child wants to skateboard to and from school?
Riding safely to and from school
Schools can refer to the department's legal advice about riding to school – Duty of care and behaviour management – questions about road safety (staff only).
Schools should regularly remind students, parents and carers about the importance of riding safely, wearing a helmet and storing their bikes in the right place at school.
- Scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades (wheeled recreation devices) are subject to NSW Road Rules.
- Cyclists in NSW must also follow the road rules. Children under 16 and older riders who are supervising them may ride on footpaths unless signs specifically prohibit it.
- Children over 16 may not ride on footpaths unless they are shared footpaths. When riding on the road, riders need to keep to the left and where possible use marked bike lanes.
- All riders must keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.
- It is legal to ride on some small roads however Transport for NSW recommends children do not ride scooters, skateboards or rollerblades on roads. We fully support this recommendation.
- It's the law to wear a helmet in public spaces when on a bicycle.
Refer to Information for parents and carers about safety on wheels (385.44KB) pdf (Transport for NSW)
- All bikes must be in good safe working order fitted with working brakes, reflectors, a bell and lights if being used at night.
- A bell and brake are required by law when riding in public
- A guide to bicycle maintenance safety check should be done before any trip on a bike and regular maintenance is recommended.
- A guide to wheeled devices maintenance such as skateboards, rollerblades and scooters
- Cyclists of all ages are required by law to wear a correctly fitted and fastened helmet that meets the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 2063). Parents and carers are asked to support the school and the department by complying with this law.
- Schools may advise parents or carers if a student is not wearing a helmet. The school may request the student not bring their bike onto school grounds.
- Transport for NSW recommends riders of scooters and skateboards wear an approved helmet (meets Australian standard (AS/NZS 2063) and protective gear such as knee pads and elbow pads. The department supports this recommendation.
We like schools to be safe places for everyone. Principals can deny permission for a student bringing a bike, scooter or skateboard into the school if the school deems that the student is displaying unsafe behaviours when travelling to and from school, or if it considers bringing the wheeled device onto school property will affect the safety of others.
If a student does not meet the safety requirements, the school will advise parents or carers and may request the student not bring their bike, scooter or skateboard onto school grounds.
- Not all schools have the facilities to store students' bikes. The decision to install and maintain bike racks is made by the school. Some schools choose not to have bikes brought into the school. This may be due to safety reasons, or the inability to safely secure bikes. Principals have the authority to stop students from bringing bikes, scooters and skateboards onto school property.
- Bikes need to be stored in the area specified by the school. The school accepts no responsibility for loss, damage or theft. We recommend that students lock their bikes with a secure chain.
- The school may assist with safe storage of helmets if space permits.
Cycling School Bus
A cycling school bus is a group of primary school children who ride bicycles (or another wheeled device) to and/or from school along a set route, accompanied by supervising adults. One adult drives at the front of the 'bus' while another adult supervises at the rear of the 'bus'. The cycling school bus picks up passengers at designated cycling bus stops on the way to and/or from school.
The responsibility for a child's travel to and from school remains a parent's responsibility.
Cycling - sport safety guidelines (DoE Schools)
Department's Riding advice for parents and carers (translated information available)
Department's Legal Services advice (Inside the department- questions about road safety)
Information for parents and carers about safety on wheels (385.44KB) pdf (Transport for NSW)
Safety town - safe cycling (Transport for NSW)
Cyclists (Transport for NSW)
Scooters and skateboards (Transport for NSW)
Helmet safety (Transport for NSW)
Safety while riding (Transport for NSW)