Cycling to school can be safe for your kids

There is a widespread public perception that it is not safe for children to cycle to school — although the evidence suggests differently.

There is a widespread public perception that it is not safe for children to cycle to school — although the evidence suggests differently.

As the natural instinct of a parent is to protect, many young children are now being driven to school to keep them safe. This is often convenient for parents with busy lives and sometimes seems like their only option.

However, it can cause havoc around schools when a high number of cars arrive at the same time, ironically putting children and other pedestrians at more risk.

There is a growing generation of “backseat children” who may be — in the long-run — being put in more physical health danger than they are being protected from.

By reducing the number of cars taking children to and from school, there is less congestion and pollution, and less potential for accidents outside school gates. Walking and cycling also provide everyday exercise, encouraging children to be more active and healthier.

Physical inactivity is now a serious threat to our collective health.

“Preliminary data suggests that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the ten leading global causes of death and disability.” World Health Organization, Move to Health, 2002(1).  Health, Report on Obesity, 2004.

Young people rarely suffer directly from heart disease, strokes and diabetes. However, they are increasingly demonstrating the early signs of all these potentially life threatening illnesses, putting them at serious risk in adulthood.

Safe routes to schools where children can walk or cycle is a highly effective way of addressing these and other conditions — such as obesity, cancer, osteoporosis and depression— that compromise young people’s health.

By promoting safe routes, the entire school community can benefit from young people enjoying not just a healthier, happier childhood, but a healthier future, too.

If your child is going to cycle or walk to school the first thing you should think about his/her route.

Though some roads between home and school may seem too busy or too fast, there may be an alternative route that is more suitable. As a parent you could ride the route with your child to point out the correct way to ride it, and to point out intersections which require extra caution.

It is important to remember that helmets are a safety aid, not a guarantee of safety, and there is no substitute for careful and responsible riding. Visibility is important and a reflective vest will fit over clothing at minimal cost to increase your, and your child’s, safety.

Cycling Education — the CV Cycling Coalition is offering Safe Cycling Rodeos at many of Comox Valley elementary schools.  These rodeos teach your child the rules of the road and help to keep them aware, alert and safe.

Please ask your child’s principal about these courses. Adult courses are being offered at no cost to coalition members and only $20 to non-coalition members.

Please check the website or e-mail

Safe Cycle Routes — the CV Cycling Coalition is strongly encouraging local city councils and the Ministry of Transportation to address the development of clearly marked cycle lanes and routes on our roads forming a network of routes to enable children to cycle to school and adults to cycle to work and to do errands with greater safety.

Please contact your local council to let them know that you would like to see this infrastructure put in place to encourage the increased use of alternative forms of transportation.

Margaret Harris, president of the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition, writes Shifting Gears. It appears every fourth week.

Just Posted

The finish line! Huband held a ‘Colour Run’ Friday to celebrate what’s been a different school year. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley school lets its colours run

Huband Elementary wanted a way to bring kids together

Cumberland has agreed to a sponsorship agreement with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland agrees to sponsorship with Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce

Some on council did express concerns from the past such as amalgamation push

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna, and community engagement manager (Comox Valley) Alli Epp are all geared up for the 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North #BidtoBuild online auction. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North online auction opens soon

Get ready to ‘bid to build.’ The 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver… Continue reading

Ronan and his son, eight-year-old Erwan Teyssier ran The Cumby together this year. Photo supplied
Cumby Trail Race raises $15,000+ for Cumberland forest protection

The theme of The Cumby 2021 trail race was ‘Celebrating This Land’… Continue reading

From left, Karen Cummins, Suzanne Gravelle and Ted Grainger pose with the winner of this year’s Comox Valley Nature Tree of the Year contest - a western yew, located in the Cumberland Community Forest. Photo by Dianne Grainger.
Comox Valley’s ‘Tree of the Year’ unveiled

By Kerri Scott Special to The Record For the first time in… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read