The Bicycle Bus
The bicycle bus is a free community initiative which encourages and enables families to ditch the car and ride to school instead at least once a week.
Set up in 2020 by Simon Storey, the bicycle bus was inspired by Simon’s daughter Elise who whilst doing their daily exercise during lock down wanted to ride to her school and asked why we and other families didn’t ride to school more regularly.
The average school run journey is just 1.6 miles, 1 in 3 cars on the road at 8.30am are on the school run, and roughly 60% of all car journeys are under 5 miles. There is also the issue of congestion and the inevitable inconsiderate and dangerous parking around schools.
The Bicycle Bus has run over 50 times with an average of 12 to 15 people on the bus to 3 different schools in Whitnash, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Briar Hill Infant School and St Margaret’s C of E Junior School.
It starts in Heathcote Park, going through Warwick Gates and Mallory Grange and then into Whitnash, and we recently started a new route that starts in Leamington on the other side of the schools and is proving popular.
The way the bicycle bus works is to ride along a pre-planned route and pick up families at pre determined stops. We all wear hi-vis vests making us very visible and therefore safer than a solo rider; we ride on cycle paths and roads, and when we ride on the roads we take over the whole lane which discourages dangerous overtaking by cars, again making us safer.
Every time the bicycle bus runs it is taking cars off the road, helping to improve air quality, reducing pollution from brakes, tyres etc. on the roads and is all together good for the community. Cycling also has many benefits including improving physical and mental health, being social where children from different year groups and schools all chatting and boosts confidence.
The 3 schools we service all exceed 3 World Health Organisation limits on air quality and Simon is campaigning for this to improve by not only encouraging families to ditch the car and ride to school but to introduce cycle infrastructure and safe school streets which would enable families to take an active travel option as well as improving air quality and fight climate change.