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Mon. May 20th, 2024

More than a million students travel to and from school every day in New South Wales and today the NSW Government and Pedestrian Council of Australia is urging children and families to leave the cars at home and choose to walk to mark National Walk Safely to School Day today.

Now in its 24th year, National Walk Safely to School Day (WSTSD) is an annual event when all Primary School children will be encouraged to walk and commute safely to school. Championed by the Pedestrian Council Australia, the initiative aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking, or alternative active transport (especially to and from school) can provide for the long term well-being of our children, not just on 19 May, but every day. The annual event is part of National Road Safety Week.

Pedestrian Council of Australia CEO Harold Scruby said there’s overwhelming evidence to prove that children who walk before or during school will perform better, mentally and physically.

“If parents and carers have to drive, try leaving the car a good distance from school and walk the rest of the way.”

“That way you won’t be contributing to traffic around the school and emitting dangerous particulates which can cause respiratory and other dangerous health problems. And everyone gets in a walk.”

NSW Roads Minister, John Graham said walking to school is a great opportunity for parents to talk to children about road safety and demonstrate the different ways they can stay safe as a pedestrian.

“One of the best examples to school children are our school crossing supervisors whose job it is to demonstrate clearly to kids where and when it is safe to cross the road.”

“With more than 1,400 supervisors at over 1,170 crossings near 950 schools in the state, these local heroes are a vital part of our school communities.”  

NSW Regional Roads Minister, Jenny Aitchison acknowleged getting to school can be harder for rural students.

“Living in rural areas comes with its own set of challenges for children on their daily commute to school, such as having to travel longer distances or being more exposed to higher-speed traffic on regional roads.”

“To make the trip to school safer for country kids, the Australian and NSW Government is working with local councils to roll out critical safety infrastructure in school zones such as raised pedestrian crossings, fencing and signage, as part of the $40 million School Zone Infrastructure Sub Program for regional NSW.”

“This program complements the safety benefits of over 6,500 school zone flashing lights that we have at schools across the state.” 

To find out more about Walk Safely to School Day visit www.walk.com.au.

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