21 Nov 2015

Kids ditch bikes, walk to school instead

1:22 pm on 21 November 2015

More children are walking or being driven to school, but cycling is at its lowest point ever, a New Zealand Transport Agency report says.

The report 25 Years of New Zealand Travel covers changes in household travel from 1989 to 2014.

It showed the number of journeys to and from school by car had increased steadily since the late 1980s and it was now the favoured mode of transport for both primary and secondary students.

About 57 percent of primary school journeys were by car, up from just 32 percent 15 years ago. For secondary school students, the figures have gone from 21 percent in 1989 to 32 percent.

But in recent years, the number of trips to school by car dropped slightly for both groups, while walking and public transport recovered in popularity among teenagers after initial declines.

From a low of about 19 percent in the mid-1990s, walking now accounted for about 28 percent of secondary school journeys - slightly more than 15 years ago.

The number of trips to and from school by public transport was just slightly higher than 15 years ago, going from 29 to 30 percent.

The figures showed a small resurgence in walking for primary school children in recent years. After reaching a low of 22 percent in the late 2000s, it was now 29 percent but was still well below the high of 42 percent in the late 1980s.

Cycling has steadily declined since 1989, when bikes were the mode of transport for 19 percent of secondary school journeys and 12 percent for primary.

Now just 3 percent of trips to and from secondary school, and 2 percent of primary school journeys were by bike.