Riding to and from school helps:
- reduce traffic
- reduce our carbon footprint
- promote physical activity
- provide an opportunity for supervising adults to talk with their child about road safety.
As part of their overall care for students, 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.
Key road safety messages for primary aged students have been developed to ensure consistent messages for children across NSW.
High school students need to be aware of the road rules and safety advice when riding to and from school.
Schools teach students about safety on wheels as part of the PDHPE K-6 and 7-10 syllabuses. Parents and carers assist to reinforce what is taught and the safe, legal use of bikes, scooters and skateboards by encouraging their child to:
- wear a helmet and protective gear
- understand and follow the road rules
- give way to pedestrians
- understand their responsibility for safe storage at school.
Schools want their students and community to be safe.
Every school's surrounding traffic environment is different. Every school's entry and exit rules for students are different and are therefore managed differently.
We encourage riding as one way to be physically active. Sometimes the busy roads and conditions around the outside of the school can impact on 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.
Safety obligations for schools, parents and carers
There are a number of safety and legal obligations for schools, parents and carers to consider when students are riding to and from school. Schools regularly remind students, parents and carers about the importance of riding safely, wearing a helmet and storing their bike in the right place at school.
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 responsibility.
- 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.
- Safety on wheels has been developed by Transport for NSW to provide safety advice for parents and carers. Teaching and learning reinforces these safe practices as part of the PDHPE curriculum for K-10.
- It is legal to ride on some small roads however the Centre for Road Safety recommends children do not ride scooters, skateboards or rollerblades on roads. We fully support this recommendation.
- 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.
- A safety check should be done before any trip on a bike and regular maintenance is recommended.
Helmets and safety gear
- 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.
Unsafe riding behaviour
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 your child does not meet safety requirements, the school will advise parents or carers and may request the student not bring their bike, scooter or skateboard onto school grounds.
Storing bikes and helmets at school
- 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 - 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)
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)