31 January 2024

More students urged to walk or cycle to school as State Government earmarks $10m for safety upgrades

| Jarryd Rowley
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school traffic zone

A new $10m fund has been announced by the NSW Government to improve safety for students who walk or ride to school. Photo: TCCS.

A new $10 million Active Transport to School program by the NSW Government has been announced to provide safer travel for students to public schools.

The program is set to fund small upgrades including wider footpaths, safer crossings and new street signs within the next two years.

Data shows only 25 per cent of NSW schoolchildren currently walk or ride to and from school, down from 75 per cent 40 years ago, meaning less incidental exercise for kids and more traffic outside the school gates.

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The NSW Government is hopeful that safer active travel conditions will encourage parents to allow their children to walk or cycle to schools.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the government was committed to making school travel safe for every child in NSW, and the new fund would help deliver that commitment.

”These funds will play a critical role in funding small projects that otherwise go ignored, which will make a huge difference for children who walk and ride to school,” Mr Minns said.

“With thousands of new students travelling to school for the very first time this week, it’s more important than ever for all users of our public transport system and roads to take extra care.”

Drivers are being reminded that school zones will be back in force around primary and secondary schools on Tuesday, 30 January. The zones are clearly marked with flashing lights and signs.

School zones are generally in place from 8 to 9:30 am and from 2:30 to 4 pm, and motorists who don’t obey the rules face heavy fines and demerits.

Minister for Roads John Graham is urging motorists to slow down and watch out for children in school zones as the new school year begins.

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“Children are some of our most vulnerable pedestrians and their safety should be everyone’s top priority,” Mr Graham said.

”Kids can be unpredictable and they are still developing their road sense, so it’s critical that anyone driving in school zones does so without any distraction and an eye out for children.

“Obey the speed limit and be vigilant when you’re driving near bus stops, school crossings and Kiss and Ride Zones, where children are often present. Motorists who don’t obey these rules face heavy fines and demerits.

“Remember, no matter where you are on the road – even outside school zones – if you see bus lights flashing, you need to slow down to 40 km/h as the bus is picking up or dropping off children.”

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