A BICYCLE Bus is encouraging children to cycle to school in Whitnash.
The bus sees a lead cyclist pick up children and parents along a planned route at predetermined points and the group cycles to school together.
The scheme started during the first lockdown in 2020 when cycling coach Simon Storey attended a webinar hosted by British Cycling about how to start a Bicycle Bus and thought it was something he could try in his local area of Warwick Gates to his daughter’s school.
The Bicycle Bus is now servicing three local schools in Whitnash – St Joseph’s primary, Briar Hill infant and St Margaret’s junior – and is getting lots of supportive comments from residents.
Father of four Simon, who lives in Heathcote Park, is a keen cyclist and also a British cycling coach at Stratford juniors cycling club.
He decided to start the Bicycle Bus after learning that over half of all car journeys are under five miles, and nearly 50 per cent of school run journeys are taken by car, but less than two per cent of children cycle to school.
The Bicycle Bus seemed a natural solution with the obesity epidemic and the physical and mental health issues facing children.
Simon said: “Since the inaugural Bicycle Bus started there have been 25 trips with ten to 16 people regularly on the Bicycle Bus taking an active travel option many of whom have chosen to ditch their car to do so.
“In the process, we are taking cars off the road making it easier and safer to ride, helping to improve air quality around schools, helping to reduce dangerous and inconsiderate parking, and improving families physical and mental health.
“We wear hi-viz vests and ride in a safe and controlled manner learnt when I went on a ride leaders course. We are very grateful to Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership who are providing free bicycle road safety items including hi vis vests, hi vis straps, and cycle lights, to make sure children and parents can be easily seen on the roads.”
PCSO Steven Sample from Whitnash Safer Neighbourhood Team is among those backing The Bicycle Bus.
He said: “If we can get more children to join the bus it will help with the congestion around the local schools.”
And Kate Castle, senior road safety officer at Warwickshire County Council is also behind the project.
She said “It is great to see the local community, families and schools taking a positive and encouraging approach to active travel.
“Travelling actively to school will help reduce traffic and congestion, improve air quality, and improve the physical health and well-being of all involved.”
Visit www.thebicyclebus.co.uk or email [email protected] for more information.