With Bike Buses, Kid Cyclists Dominate the Road - Bloomberg CityLab

As more families have considered biking to school during the pandemic, they’ve turned to group bike commutes to make their journeys safer — and more visible.

A pack of students and parents commute to school on bicycles in San Francisco on Jan. 14 as part of a “bike bus.”
Photo credit Photographer: Bryan Banducci/Bloomberg

By Maxwell Adler A man in a Superman costume and a child on a tricked-out tricycle, affectionately nicknamed “trek-ceratops,” stood out among the pack of cyclists riding right down the middle of JFK Drive in San Francisco on their way to school.

Two parents sped ahead to the intersection at the corner of 11th and Mission to block off traffic. No police escort was present. And music blasted from the speakers on “Trek-ceratops.”

All together, more than 100 kids and parents got on their bikes on a brisk Friday morning in January to form a bike bus — a group of people who cycle together on a set route at the same time of day for commuting purposes.


“I love all the freedom and independence [bike buses] give to parents and kids. The kids on these rides have so much fun,” said Peter Belden, the lead organizer of the San Francisco bike bus and co-founder of Kid Safe SF, an organization dedicated to making San Francisco’s streets safe for kids and reducing the barriers to biking.


Call it a bike bus, a bike train, or a cycle bus. With safety, health and camaraderie in mind, people from Barcelona to Duluth, Georgia, have been gathering in large groups and riding to and from schools, creating a more protected route to school for some kids — and sometimes, a hard-to-miss, joyous spectacle that brings attention to the challenges and promise of biking to school.


“Bike buses create a safe environment for kids and they are a great way to raise visibility for cycling infrastructure,” said Dr. Jennifer Dill, director of the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University.


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