There’s a healthy competition happening at Ipswich schools and these sweet rides are the cherry on top for students who participate.
Their schools are part of Ipswich City Council’s Healthy Active School Travel (HAST) program, and each school has a ‘Madd Gear’ scooter and a 99 Bikes-supplied bicycle as the ultimate incentive to encourage students to walk or ride to and from school.
Schools are also winners – not only does HAST reduce school zone traffic congestion and improve student health and wellbeing, but schools are also vying for a share in up to $6000 in funding to spend on active travel initiatives or physical activity programs.
HAST encourages transport options like walking, cycling, scooting, skateboarding, public transport and carpooling.
The positives range from the individual health benefits of physical activity, to reducing traffic congestion around schools and creating more socially connected and sustainable communities.
Council’s Active Transport Officer Blandina Huber said HAST initiatives were important as part of council’s iGO strategy to grow our city’s active transport culture.
“The emphasis is on active travel and safety,” she said.
“What I love is that each school is finding their own ways to do HAST. It then becomes something the school continues to do beyond council’s involvement.”
The HAST program has stepped up since being revamped earlier this year with each participating school coming up with their own ideas to overcome individual challenges.
Main image: Ipswich West State School students Jackson Hook and Taylor Houle wheel out the incentives from 99 Bikes.
Below: Madd Gear scooters are also on offer.
Your school can join too
School registrations are open for next year.
Chalking up wins
Woodlinks State School: Introducing ‘passports’ for their morning walking school bus saw a massive increase in student participation in HAST, with 80 children taking part on one day. Woodlinks will also be the first school to do an afternoon walking school bus. One of the additional benefits of HAST is seeing the camaraderie between students and teachers.
Ipswich West State School: This school was the first to hire bicycles from Ipswich Hospital Foundation for their month-long bicycle skills program. By using the skills of a teacher (who is an accredited cycling skills coach) the school was able to offer the program to every Grade 4-6 student with the minimal costs covered by HAST funding.
Brassall State School: Their walking school bus starts at Sutton Park, which is a kilometre from the school. The second week of their walking school bus had more than 70 students. It’s an incredible job by the teachers, who volunteer to walk with students. The walking school bus is also great for road safety awareness.
Walloon State School: There’s been a significant increase in the number of students riding bicycles or scooters to school since they started doing HAST walk/ride to school events.
Three ways to make the most out of healthy active school travel:
- Find a safe place to park further away and walk to school to pick up or drop off children, knowing that you’re helping to improve your family’s health and wellbeing
- Use walking time to chat to children about their day, or strengthen their connection to the outdoor environment by examining trees, leaves, bugs and buildings along the route
- Suggest simple games or activities to improve your child’s cognitive skills, balance or coordination such as skipping or taking inclined paths to encourage greater physical effort