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22 July 2019

As thousands of students go back to school this week and motorists are reminded to slow down in school zones, it is timely to consider what other road safety improvements can ensure that no student is injured while travelling to and from school.

Six school children, aged between four and 18 years, were injured in crashes in school zones in WA in 2018. Using the safe system principles, how do we achieve zero?

In 2018, WestCycle attended the Active Transport Leaders Forum, led by We Ride Australia and hosted by the Department of Transport and RAC. Alongside New York Transportation Alternatives Director Paul Steely White, one of the scenarios of the roundtable discussed was:

“What needs to be done to ensure that every new school is built (or retrofitted) with great active travel connections for the local community?”


One of the main points of this discussion was how a school could be better incorporated into its surrounding community and include the infrastructure outside of the school gates.

10 outcomes to improve safety and encourage active transport were identified, these include:

  1. Involve kids in the planning process (of designing a school and safe routes to school)
  2. Educate parents and the entire school community on the positive benefits of active travel
  3. Offer reward programs for active transport such as the Your Move program
  4. Run bike education classes
  5. Monitor travel patterns annually
  6. Develop new design standards for school transport links and amenities
  7. Plan and design 30 km/h safe active streets for the school catchment area, along with footpaths on all roads/streets
  8. Prioritise cycling and walking routes to schools
  9. Set enforceable planning conditions that support cycling and walking
  10. Develop and implement green travel plans

To read the Active Transport Leaders Forum Summary Report, please visit: https://www.weride.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AT-Leaders-Forum-Summary-Report.pdf

Not only can safe routes to school improve safety, but can enable more students to walk or ride a bike school. This can amplify the benefits by improving physical activity levels, develop independence and resilience and decrease localised congestion and school parking issues.

If you haven’t already, please get involved in the Road Safety Council’s consultation process for a new road safety strategy for WA – read the paper, attend a community forum. https://imaginezero.rsc.wa.gov.au/


Photo credit: Your Move WA