A lot of attention is paid to keeping kids safe in school, but a growing movement is also happening to keep them safe on the way to school — including safety from the health effects of riding on dirty-energy-fueled school buses.
School buses generally run on diesel, the fumes of which not only contribute to the rapid overheating of our planet but also become more concentrated inside the bus, which can cause health problems for children.
While many schools are upgrading their buses to electric models that emit no planet-warming pollution, a group in Barcelona is taking it a step further with their “bike buses.”
In a video posted by Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) on X, formerly known as Twitter, Barcelona’s Bicibús Eixample (@bicibuseixample) is on full display. It shows a group of adults and children making their way to school on bikes and scooters, with some being pulled in carts.
“Every kid should be able to safely bike to school without the benefit of “safety in numbers,” wrote Toderian above the video. “But until then, “bike buses” are a brilliant idea!”
Every kid should be able to safely bike to school without the benefit of “safety in numbers.” But until then, “bike buses” are a brilliant idea! Thanks to Barcelona’s @bicibuseixample for inviting @renee_dsc, our kiddos & I along for the ride to school this morning. #xarxabicibus pic.twitter.com/ZkBqqVuv7I— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) November 21, 2023
Not only do the “bike buses” provide exercise or other enrichment for those involved — the Guardian reports that teachers said children arrive more refreshed and alert when they use the bicibús — they also provide some much-needed relief to our rapidly overheating planet.
Statista reports that the pollution created by transportation has nearly tripled in the last 50 years and now accounts for 20% of global carbon dioxide pollution, making it the second-largest carbon-polluting sector worldwide.
So, even one less school bus on the road, with its would-be riders opting for bikes instead, can make a difference, and bike buses are gaining momentum across the globe. In the Netherlands, the Bicco Bike Bus — a large group bike designed to allow one adult driver to easily transport 10 children with pedal power only — has gone viral, and the Montclair Bike Bus in Montclair, New Jersey, is also picking up speed and spreading joy.
The comments on the X post of Barcelona’s bike bus were understandably positive.
“The BEST way to have kids arrive at school is safely, by bike. It’s fun, healthy, builds skills and conversations,” said one viewer.
“Brilliant!” succinctly and accurately said another.
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