What is a bike bus?
A bike bus is a variation of the walking school bus. A bike bus provides students the opportunity to bike to and from school with an adult volunteer. Bike buses can be a great fit for communities that wish to encourage more bicycling to and from school. If you are already ride a bike, you likely have some ideas of the benefits and considerations of leading a student bike bus.
Starting a bike bus
- Start by checking with your school to see if other families or kids are already biking to school together - maybe you could join in!
- If your school doesn't have a bike bus, are there any families in your neighborhood who might be interested?
- Choose a route (or routes) and test it with adults for safety. Contact Safe Routes to School for assistance choosing a safe route.
- Create a simple map of your route with information about when you'll meet (e.g., day, time, frequency).
- Post a bike bus article in your school newsletter and on your school’s website. Share the map you created. Your school parent teacher organization is also a great place to promote your bike bus.
- Ensure that bike bus participants have the following:
- A safe, properly maintained, and well-fitted bicycle (or scooter)
- A well-fitted helmet
- Some practice riding in the street (i.e., a bike bus is not the best place to learn how to ride)
- Secure two adult volunteers to ride with the students, one at the front of the train and one at the back, to ensure student safety and comfort.
- Establish expectations with your participants and review safe group riding skills. Riding safely in the street requires practice and protocol. Contact Safe Routes to School staff for information.
- Start leading your bike bus!
Bike bus: If you want to do more…
If you want to reach more students and have multiple routes, the following are ideas for doing so.
- Build a team of interested volunteers who can lead different routes.
- Identify safe routes for students coming from various locations.
- Designate convenient meeting places that are safe and have sufficient space for bikes to gather.
- Develop a phone tree so it is easy to communicate with bike bus/train leaders.