How to Get Students Biking to School with a ‘Bike Bus’
May 11, 2023
Biking to school is a regular part of Vancouver resident Maya Goldstein and her two sons' routine.
“The best part of my day is the ride with my kids to or from school. We get to talk about what we see, notice how the seasons change, wave to friends on the sidewalk, and occasionally see friends cycling in the other direction,” says Maya.
Despite the many benefits of cycling to school, Maya noticed that many parents choose not to let their children ride to school, mainly because they feel it’s not safe. She set out to change that by organizing a ‘bike bus’.
“I came across an article about a school in Portland that has a massive bike bus thanks to the efforts of their P.E. teacher Sam Balto. I started following the story more closely and I found a lot of similarities between Portland and Vancouver. I couldn't see a reason why we couldn't make it happen in Vancouver, even on a smaller scale. I applied on behalf of the school to the City of Vancouver's Walk Bike Roll Mini Grant with the idea of starting a bike bus in the spring. We received the grant, and I started planning the bike bus.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘bike bus’, biking school buses are a great way to encourage active travel, particularly for older students and those that live outside the school catchment area where it would take too long to walk to school. These ‘school buses’ are groups of students traveling together to and from school by bike, led by volunteer parents or teachers. The "school bus" can either pick students up from their homes or from other designated pick-up locations. Check out this great video of the bike bus at Alameda Elementary School in Portland!
Maya organized her school’s first bike bus for Earth Day on Friday, April 21, and despite the rainy weather, more than 20 people turned up!
“Everyone loved the bike bus so much that we decided to keep it going on a weekly basis every Friday until the end of the school year.”
If you’re looking to organize a bike bus at your school, check out HUB Cycling’s Bike to School Week Guide for tips and tricks.
HUB Cycling’s annual Bike to School Week event returns to Metro Vancouver later this month from May 29-June 2! This is the perfect opportunity to organize a bike bus and join thousands of students and over 120 schools as they bike, walk and roll to school.
Maya says during Bike to School Week, “More children are biking, and there will be fewer cars on the roads, and that's the only way to make our streets safer for children. Bike to School Week is the perfect opportunity to pump up those tires, get back on the saddle, and bike to school!”
Register your school for free today at bikehub.ca/btsw.