Hop on Board the Bike Bus

Hundreds of families are riding bicycles together to school.

Two boys riding bicycles to school.

(Irina Wilhauk / Shutterstock.com)

Hundreds of kids and their parents are riding their bikes to school every Friday in Barcelona, Spain. They are part of a unique bike bus – bicibús in Spanish –  that began with just a few families in September 2021. It has grown as more and more families hop on board.

Starting at 8 am, kids and parents start lining up and hit the road – not the sidewalk – to go to school, reported National Public Radio. The kids ride bicycles, scooters, and skates and ride down empty streets to school.

It all began in the Eixample district of Barcelona when five families were looking for a safe and environmentally friendly way to get to school. Then it mushroomed.

How the Bike Bus Works
The bicibús operates just like a school bus with three stops along the way for the riders to join and then it stops at several schools in the district. Every week, the organizers publish the route and post it to social media so that the families know where to join the bus.

The ride takes approximately 25 minutes, parent Mireia Boix told NPR. Many parents join the younger kids on their bikes and then go on to work.

The route is a very busy road where 20,000 vehicles usually ride every day. It is a dangerous road for kids to go alone to school, even escorted by their parents but Boix feels safe when traveling with the group.

She said that she finds herself waking up earlier on Friday and that she and her 5-year-old son love the camaraderie and excitement of the ride. Bystanders enjoy it too, as many take videos and post it on social media.

The Barcelona police agreed to escort the bike bus for a two-week trial period according to Cycling Magazine. After that they told the parents that the project was over but local parents pushed back and the police have agreed to escort the kids until the end of 2021.

The bicibús in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood is not alone according to Romper. Earlier in 2021, the Sarrià district in the city also started a bike bus and dozens of families participated.

Plans for The Future
The parents of the community are hoping that the city will create school-friendly bike lanes that are separated from the main road, reported NPR. While these types of lanes already exist in other parts of Barcelona, bike lanes are notably absent in this neighborhood.

“It would reduce the amount of cars and it would make bike riding a possibility for families that right now are not too sure and feel insecure with the area,” Boix told NPR.

“Bicycles are a means of transportation and if a 5-year-old can ride a bike to school it means that everyone else could. If the population uses their bikes, there will be a healthier, quieter and overall better city to live in.”

While Barcelona is making strides to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, it is ordinary people who are taking matters into their own hands. So, as long as the sun is shining, the bike bus will keep rolling and rolling along.

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