We Ride Australia and the Sunshine Coast Council, supported by the Australian Government, are set to launch an Australian first ride to school program – RideScore Active Schools – that uses technology to direct message parents when their children have arrived safely at school.

The Australian first program uses:

  • Smart beacons to alert parents automatically when their child arrives at school
  • Advanced use of mapping to identify safe routes to school
  • App-based information and registration technology
  • Bicycle education, and
  • Encouragement awards for students who ride and scoot to school.

The program is expected to significantly boost the numbers of children scooting and riding to school as it provides parents with peace of mind about the whereabouts of their children for the daily trip to school, provides information on recommended routes and motivates and encourages children to reach milestones in the number of times they ride to school.

The Australian Government supported the initiative with an investment of $224,558 as part of its national Move It AUS – Participation Grant Program.

Federal Member for Fairfax, Mr Ted O’Brien MP said: “RideScore Active Schools is a fantastic example of helping children enjoy the fun and independence that comes with riding a bike, while also ensuring supportive parents have peace of mind that their kids are safe. This will help children across the Sunshine Coast region be active and safe and potentially provide the model for a national expansion.”

“This is one of many projects being funded across the nation as part of the Australian Government’s Move It AUS – Participation Grant Program, which is about building stronger community health and connections through sport and physical activity. It supports the Australian Government’s vision to become the world’s most active nation.”

The RideScore Active Schools program also received support from the Queensland Government and Stockland and the University of Canberra’s Centre for Action and Research in Public Health.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said: “RideScore encourages school students to be more physically active and healthy by riding their bikes or scooters to and from school.

“Encouraging more students to utilise active transport also helps to reduce traffic and congestion around schools and provides parents with greater peace of mind by knowing their children have arrived safely at school or left school to ride home.

“It is initiatives such as this that reinforce our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart creative.”

We Ride Australia’s Peter Bourke said: “The school trip has become increasingly focused on being driven to school, with up to 70 per cent of all children arriving by car.

”This is not good for our children or their future health, but RideScore Active Schools addresses key concerns of parents with messaging from smart beacons letting them know their child has arrived at school or that they have left.

“We’re very pleased that the program has received substantial funding from the Australian Government, Sunshine Coast Council, Stockland and the Queensland Government in recognition of the comprehensive approach we have developed to boost riding and scooting to school.

”We want cycling, scooting and walking to school to be viewed as a healthy, positive start to the day for kids as it was just a few years ago,” Peter Bourke said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government was proud to support the program as part of its $219 million investment in bike riding across Queensland.

“More than half a million Queenslanders ride their bike every week, which is why it’s important that we invest in bike lanes and projects like RideScore,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’ve built plenty of new bike projects across the coast like the David Low Way bike lanes and Mooloolaba to Maroochydore Cycleway, and programs like this play a vital role in making bike riding a popular choice to get around.

“I’m excited to see our next generation put on their helmets and get riding to and from the school gate.”

The launch event is being held at the Baringa Public School with Principal Noel Baggs welcoming parents, students, Mr Ted O’Brien MP, Sunshine Coast Councillors and other VIPs.

The program will trial a comprehensive framework that includes mapping of the safe routes to school, fitting of smart tech beacons and school sensors, bicycle education and a system of rewards when students reach pre-determined numbers of trips to school by bike or scooter.

The RideScore Active Schools program will undergo a full evaluation to enable it to be rolled out more broadly in the future.

Features & benefits:
– Real-time messaging tells parents when child arrives and leaves school
– Trips counted to track milestones and provide incentives to students
– Simplified app-based registration and information management for parents
– Maps of the local safe routes to school for all students
– Bicycle education for students
– Increase in student physical activity
– Improved road safety awareness
– Reduction in traffic congestion around schools.

For more information, please see the RideScore website, www.ridescore.org.au.

More details on the Australian Government’s Move It AUS Participation Grant Program is available at https://www.sportaus.gov.au/grants_and_funding/participation

Media contact for further comment and images:
Stephen Hodge, Director – National Advocacy, Mob. 0411 149 910, stephen@weride.org.au