The Bike Bus for Schools project is designed to support and encourage children and young people to cycle to school. Working closely with a cluster of up to four schools, the bus will use fully risk-assessed circular routes within the schools’ catchment areas that participants can join on their way to school. It will use as many quiet streets as possible, avoiding main roads, for safety and to ensure all cycling abilities can be catered for.
The bus will run to and from each school once a week (e.g. on Fridays), between February and July, totalling roughly 20 outings, allowing for good weather and school holidays. The aim is for the bus to become an event that children and young people will look forward to and want to get involved with.
An experienced ride leader and marshals will control movement through the streets. The bus will include signage and clearly communicate its scale and the function to other road users. This can be done by instructors and volunteers wearing Bike Bus branded high visibility tabards. Cycling instruction for children and adults, including group riding practice, will be provided, while a bike mechanic will fix children’s and parents’ bikes in advance of the bus. Bikes can be provided for those that do not own one, to open the opportunity to as many participants as possible.
The aim of the bus is to foster a culture of active cycling to school over the course of the project and beyond, involving both children and parents, thereby increasing the physical health, wellbeing and mental focus of the participants. Promotions may include a “Car Free Friday” to persuade participants to join the bus instead of driving to school that day. Word of mouth, posters, flyers, and social media channels can help spread the word.
Target audience and engagement
- The primary target audience for this project are children, young people, parents, carers and teachers
- In coordination with the chosen schools, the project will organise promotional meetings and engage parents and carers at the school gates using word of mouth and flyers. Local publicity and social media will also be utilised. There also will be school assemblies about the project.
- Medium to large (15 children and 10 parents/carers per school in up to four schools, totalling between 25-100 participants)
- Geographically – anywhere
- Bikes for adults and/or children – these could be purchased or you could form a partnership with a local bike shop or bike lending scheme (a number of local authorities have these), using the money in the budget allocated to purchasing bikes to facilitate this instead. This would remove the need for bike storage and maintenance costs.
- Non-standard bikes for people with disabilities, depending on your audience and participants
- High-vis vests and bike flags
- Helmets for adults and children (NB children should always wear a helmet, and helmets are recommended for adults but not compulsory)
- Basic cycle repair equipment (for brakes and wheels)
- Project leader
- Form relationships with community and recruit participants
- Oversee project, ensure the participants feel safe and enjoy their experience
- Plan and manage the routes that will be the Bike Buses
- Ensure all funding criteria and documentation is met
- Run risk assessment for safeguarding, injuries and to identify any other concerns which may affect project delivery
- Gather feedback from participants (children and parents/carers) to plan for future sessions and projects
- The project lead should have the requisite level of DBS, understand health and safety needs and preferably be first aid trained (if not another person in the group should be a qualified first aider)
- Cycle Instructor
- Run the cycling sessions
- Ensure participants feel confident and well looked-after
- Must be a qualified and experienced instructor
- Help participants with the sessions and provide encouragement
- Contribute to overseeing activity and potentially fix any equipment issues
- Eventually overtake one instructor’s role to reduce the overall cost of the project
- Training opportunities for participants to become volunteers
- Storage space
- If you plan to buy bikes and loan them to participants you will need to consider storage, how to get the bikes to and from their home (as some may not have space to store a bike at home) and ongoing maintenance costs to ensure the bikes are road worthy. However, this may not always be possible. An alternative is to form a partnership with a local bike shop or bike lending scheme (a number of local authorities have these), using the money in the budget allocated to purchasing bikes to facilitate this instead. This would remove the need for bike storage and maintenance costs.
- Advertising materials
- Online advertising via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
- Posters and flyers
Estimated project cost
- Bikes (e.g. Adult bikes £250 x 6 or Children’s bikes £150 x 8) £1,200 - 1,500
- Bike helmets (£15 x 8) £120
- Cycle instructor (£100 per day x 14 days) £1,400
- Enhanced DBS checks (if needed) £150
- 1 x day of Group Marshal training £100
- Bike fixing (Dr Bike) (£30 per hour x 6 hours) £180
- Basic repair equipment £100
- Insurance: Liability and Theft £400
- Storage (if needed) £700
- High-vis vests £80
- Bikes flags x6 £80
- Bike bells x12 £40
- Printing flyers and forms £120
Top tips/Key learnings
- Engage with and listen to every participant; they will provide valuable insights into how you can improve your project
- Revise risk assessments of the activities at regular intervals to ensure activities run safely and more smoothly
- It is good to measure whether participants are ‘more or less’ confident in cycling after participating in your project, or whether it has encouraged them to cycle more. This is done by a ‘hands up’ survey where participants are asked to confirm or not, certain statements about their view of cycling
- Take advantage of the training programme that is offered by Walking and Cycling Grants London
Maximising local contacts
- Engage with any existing community networks you may have to recruit schools
- Utilise networks to get in-kind support (volunteer organisations and local centres, community centres, schools etc.)
This project idea was provided by Transport for London - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Youtube
If you decide to run your own version of this project in your community, please email us at email@example.com. We love to hear that we are inspiring people to walk and cycle.