Riding

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. 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. Wheels 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 is an online primary school resource that provides teaching and learning activities that reinforces safe riding practices, as part of the K-6 PDHPE syllabus.

High school students explore the importance of safe decision making when riding, and being a safe road user in their local context. Schools are encouraged to use Onthemove, a secondary school online resource developed by TfNSW.

Advice to schools about students riding safely to and from school

Schools can:

  • provide bicycle/wheeled device guidelines to parents/carers and students about bringing bikes onto school grounds. (sample bicycle and wheeled device templates available - staff only)
  • regularly remind students, parents and carers about the importance of riding safely, wearing a helmet and storing their wheeled devices in the right place at school. (sample not wearing a helmet letter templates available - staff only)
  • Scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, (wheeled recreation devices) are subject to NSW Road Rules. TfNSW advice
  • E-bikes must be mostly propelled by riders - a motor can't be the only source of power.
  • E-scooters - personal e-scooters remain illegal in NSW roads, footpaths, shared paths and bicycle lanes. Escooter shared scheme trial information
  • 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.
  • All riders must dismount their bike at a pedestrian crossing and walk their bike across the road.
  • It's the law to wear a helmet in public spaces when on a bicycle.
  • All petrol-powered bicycles are illegal on NSW roads and road-related areas such as footpaths, shared paths, cycle ways and cycle paths
  • All bikes, scooters, skateboard, e-bikes should 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 bikes 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. In NSW, an approved bicycle helmet must comply with TfNSW helmet standards. 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. (sample letter templates available - staff only)
  • Transport for NSW recommends riders of scooters and skateboards wear an approved helmet (meets Australian or overseas standards set by TfNSW) and protective gear such as knee pads and elbow pads. The department supports this recommendation.

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 to bring their bike, e-bike, scooter or skateboard onto school grounds.

How a student travels to and from school is the responsibility of the parent or carer.

A principal cannot enforce how a student should or should not travel to school.

However, a principal can deny/ban the bringing of bikes, scooters, skateboards and other wheeled devices onto school premises if:

  • it is identified that the traffic environment is unsafe for students to ride in
  • the wheeled devices onsite present a hazard and/or safety risk to others
  • the wheeled device is illegally ridden on NSW road and road related areas, such as footpaths
  • persistently displays unsafe behaviours when travelling, or there has been extensive consultation between school staff and the school community to identify, address and resolve the concern.

Schools do have a duty of care to ensure all students are travelling as safely as possible to school by:

  • providing localised teaching and learning activities about safe travel to and from school, including safe riding behaviours, safety gear and helmets
  • informing parents and carers of how students are expected to ride safely and follow the road rules to and from school
  • notifying the student if they are seen riding unsafely in the traffic environment.

If a student is seen arriving or leaving the school without wearing a correctly fitted helmet or the bike is unroadworthy the school should:

  • advise the student to walk with their bike, and not ride their bike until the condition is met
  • notify parents and carers if a student is seen repeatedly riding unsafely, is riding an unroadworthy bike or not correctly wearing their helmet to or from school
  • notify relevant authorities if the school becomes aware of a traffic environment infrastructure issue, or efforts to liaise with parents and carers do not result in improved student riding behaviours.
  • document all the above actions.
  • Not all schools have the facilities to store students' wheeled devices. 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.
  • Wheeled devices need to be stored in the area specified by the school.
  • Ebikes can not be charged on school grounds and should be stored away from buildings due to concerns of lithium-ion batteries.
  • The school accepts no responsibility for loss, damage or theft. We recommend that students lock their wheeled device with a secure chain.
  • The school may assist with safe storage of helmets if space permits.

Advice about e-bikes and e-scooters

E-bikes are growing in popularity. It's important for schools to be aware of the laws, rules and regulations around the use of these devices.

In NSW, personal e-scooters are illegal and can only be used on private property.

Department advice to schools:

Riding e-bikes and petrol powered bikes to and from school.

Riding e-scooters to and from school

Riding advice to share with parents and carers

Schools can support their parents and carers with articles/information shared through their communication channels;

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.

Read this information if your school community is interested in implementing a Cycling School Bus. Contact your Road Safety Education Officer to find out more.

Sharing the road with bicycles

Useful links

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 riding advice for families (Transport for NSW)

Cyclists (Transport for NSW)

Scooters and skateboards (Transport for NSW)

Helmet safety (Transport for NSW)

Safety while riding (Transport for NSW)

Quad bike safety - Safework NSW

Category:

  • Teaching and learning
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