8 steps to organizing a School Bike Bus

Publikováno: 15. dubna. 2024, 6 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 12. dubna. 2024
Úvodní foto: Matteo Saderis, Massa Marmocchi Milano
Publikováno: 15. dubna. 2024, 6 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 12. dubna. 2024
Úvodní foto: Matteo Saderis, Massa Marmocchi Milano

Enumerating the advantages of cycling to school here would probably be preaching to the choir. So, I’ll get straight to the point and present a few practical tips compiled by the Milan-based organization Massa Marmocchi, based on their many years of experience organizing school bike buses. Here are the recommended steps:

1. Form a group – Find parents who are interested in riding with their children to school and present them with your idea. To start, just a few people are enough. You can send out a call through class WhatsApp groups or create an informational flyer to be posted around the school or sent via email.

2. Coordinate with the school – Find out if there are any thematic committees at the school or if some teachers are interested in sustainable transportation or environmental issues. You can ask your children’s class teacher or send an email to the school administration.

3. Gather information – Try to map out how children travel to your school and what cycling habits their families have. This analysis will help you plan the route for your bike bus. With the support of the school administration, propose filling out an online questionnaire about travel from home to school. The school can include a link to the questionnaire in its newsletter or post it on its website.

4. Hold a planning meeting – Organize a meeting for all interested parents and teachers where, based on the questionnaire results, you will propose possible routes for the morning bike ride. This way, you can present your idea to as many people as possible and plan the route collaboratively. Local parents know the catchment area of the school better than anyone else.

5. Verify the route by bike – It’s easier to identify potential critical situations and dangerous spots on the route from the saddle. And you definitely want to discover these before you’re in a group with children. You can involve other pioneering parent riders in the test ride. Just keep in mind that the selected route – from the meeting point to the school – needs to be ridden in the morning at the same time you plan to ride with the children to school. This simulates best how the route will look during the bike ride.

6. Organize the first bike ride – Determine the day of the week and frequency with which you want to start (e.g., every Monday or every last Friday of the month, etc.) and announce it to all families at the school. You can create an informational flyer (day, time, meeting point, route) and distribute it via WhatsApp groups, school mailing lists, the school website, and Facebook pages, notice boards, and personal distribution of copies outside the school.

7. Expand the group and ride regularly – Gradually involve more children and parents. Make sure to always inform about your initiative in the simplest and most efficient way possible. Also, organize supportive and engaging activities for families. Create a mailing list of involved parents and a Facebook group for those interested.

8. Collect information and propose changes – Evaluate how your bike rides are going. Which route has proven to be effective? Are there any critical points? Do you have suggestions that you could submit to relevant institutions? For example, when you present a document with information and proposals signed by the school to your municipality, it’s an excellent first step towards effective interventions and improving cycling infrastructure in your neighborhood. You can also suggest to the school, through the parents‘ association or school council, to prepare a report for the municipality on cycling to school.

It works!

The nearest school where children regularly ride with the help of the Massa Marmocchi organization is literally across the street. And because I work from home as a freelancer, every Tuesday morning, I first hear, and then see a peloton of children and parents on bikes. Sometimes someone wears a reflective vest, but never is there a lack of music from a big speaker, banners, and flags saying „Streets for Kids.“ Besides commuting to school, every one of these morning bike rides thus becomes a manifestation for safe streets and sustainable transportation. From my window, I see children navigating through the crowd with their bikes, locking them in racks in the yard, and disappearing into the school building. I believe they will have a good day.

This is an adjusted machine translation using Automat’s CycleLingo Translator (ChatGPT) of this article: https://mestemnakole.cz/2024/04/8-kroku-jak-na-skolni-cyklojizdu/

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