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How to start a bike bus/train

Commissioner Hardesty Visits Bike Bus
A bike bus/train is a group of students riding their bikes to school, usually with adult supervision. It can be as simple as two families taking turns biking students to school or a structured program with routes, a schedule, and meeting locations.

What is a bike bus/train?

A bike bus/train is a variation of the walking school bus. A bike bus/train provides students the opportunity to bike to and from school with an adult volunteer. Bike bus/trains 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/train.

Starting a bike bus/train

  • 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 Train, 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/train 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/train.
  •  Ensure that bike bus/train 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/train 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 train!

Bike bus/train: 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.

What are some helpful tools I can use to get biking to school?