[Article from Ride2School’s Behind the Bike Shed – September issue]

One look at the bike shed at Merri Creek Primary School and you know something pretty special
is going on. It’s full to overflowing.

Wall-to-wall bikes, a scattering of scooters, everywhere helmets dangling from handlebars. Riding
is so popular there’s often no room for the bikes many teachers ride – they’re chained up near
the front gate.

There is no doubt this is very, VERY active school.

How active? Every month the school’s Green Team (made up of grade 5/6 students) conducts a quick, school-wide poll and enters the data into Ride2School’s Hands Up! system. The system shows 85% of the school’s 306 students ride or walk

Entering Hands Up! data does many things simultaneously, including:

• At the simple end of the scale it allows the school to track its active travel rate, a conversation point within the school community if ever there was one!!!
• It gives the school results that it can (and does) put in the school newsletter to get kids and parents talking about, thinking about and wherever possible involved in encouraging active participation. For new parents this would sow the seed that riding is normal at Merri Creek, and just about everybody does it
• It creates a monthly active travel event (a Hands Up! day) that focuses minds and stimulates action to get more kids riding more often. Hands Up! day is in the school calendar so nobody forgets. The kids know the date and they organise themselves to promote it; posters are made, assembly announcements conducted, playground conversations had… and the results speak for themselves.
• Before the numbers from each class go into the Hands Up! database, a quick check reveals which class had the highest active travel rate on percentage basis. The teachers say there’s nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry to focus young minds.

Inspiring stuff!

On August 8, Merri Creek PS was awarded set of 20 bikes and 20 helmets as part of the Ride2School Star Rewards program. Presenting the bikes, Victorian Health Minister, David Davis, said: “In a week when Victoria will honour its Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans, it’s great to see the next generation of cyclists involved with the Ride2School program. The students at Merri Creek are being recognised for their efforts in leading the way, just like Cadel, in inspiring their classmates and friends to walk or ride their bikes to school.”

Can you imagine more than 80% of students at your school riding or walking to school? If so, call Ride2School on (03) 8636-8828 or emailride2school@bv.com.au and let’s begin working to make it possible.

By Merri Creek Primary School|2017-11-06T17:18:47+10:00April 26th, 2013|0 Comments