Every Christmas Tree should have a bike under it

For parents, a bike should be the first choice this Christmas.

Not only relatively low cost, compared with games consoles and smart phones, bicycles give children the freedom to be physically active, have fun, interact with friends, and an unparalleled degree of character-building independence.

The latest Australian data shows, however, that nearly 71 per cent of children aged 5-11 years are not meeting recommended levels of physical activity; and 91.5 per cent of 12-17 years.

A 22 per cent drop in sales of children’s bicycles over the last decade simply confirms this lack of physical activity amongst kids.

It is about time we changed the rules that allow them to ride on the footpath in NSW [but] force them onto the road the day they turn 12.

Building safe, separated infrastructure takes time, so we should be considering an immediate change to the rules in NSW to allow children to ride their bikes on footpaths until the age of 16.

Stephen Hodge, Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation