Call to support walk to school program

A proposal to ask Victoria police to stop ‘good drivers’ to give them shopping vouchers hit the skids at a Hume council meeting – but was replaced with a suggestion that the council introduce a walk to school program.

The idea of a safe-driver reward scheme was suggested by Sunbury Cllr Jack Medcraft in August. However, a council feasibility study revealed that asking police to give out vouchers would be “problematic”.

Cllr Jack Medcraft.

The council notes that similar schemes elsewhere had little impact on driver behaviour, and that they struggled to generate engagement from young men and probationary drivers.

During Monday’s (11 December) meeting, Cllr Medcraft said while police officers he had spoken with supported the idea, it “got hit with a hammer” by police chiefs.

However, the council report’s reference to a walk to school initiative did catch Cllr Medcraft’s attention.

While safe routes to school projects have not been offered by Hume council, it does get calls from schools asking it to support the idea, say council staff.

“I am in favour of safe routes to school,” said Cllr Medcraft. “And if we could adopt that program then that would allay any frustrations I have from my original notice of motion,” he said. “It fits the bill of what we should be looking at for a road safety program.”

Deputy mayor, and Meadows Valley ward councillor, Karen Sherry, said: “I can remember the walking bus program, they were excellent in changing the mindset of people, that their children could be picked up and all walk together to school along a safe route. It supports a lot of health & safety, and wellbeing initiatives.”

Council currently supports:

  • The Ryda program, Fit 2 Drive road safety workshops for year 11 and 12 students
  • Changing Gears L2P mentor program for learner drivers
  • The Hume City Council Safety Advisory committee
  • Bike education instructor training in schools