SpainMore than 100 children and their parents ride bicycles to school, traveling on a motor-free street in a district in Barcelona every Friday.
The system, called bicibus, has been in place in the Eixample district since September so that children can freely ride bicycles or rollerblade to school starting at 8am. Parents can ride with or drive their children.
Mireia Boix, a parent of a 5-year-old son, said police patrol cars also joined the escort, officers moving in front, sides and behind the convoy of bicycles.
The bicibus route extends along Entenca Street and past three schools, taking 25 minutes to travel. Boix said this is a busy street with about 20,000 cars passing by each day, which can be dangerous for children going to school. Boix said she is relieved that her son can cycle to school every Friday thanks to the bicibus system.
More and more families in the area are using bicycles to build community and promote safer and more environmentally friendly ways of sending their children to school. “It all started as a group of five families with great determination and a deep sense of greater good,” says Boix.
Barcelona City Council has made some changes to make the streets safer, but has not had much of an impact. Boix says many parents want a separate lane separate from the main traffic so children can go to school. This type of lane has already been established in several other areas of Barcelona.
“It helps reduce the number of cars and allows families who are still skeptical or don’t feel safe to ride a bike,” says Boix. “Bicycles are a means of transportation, if a 5-year-old child can ride a bicycle to school, others can too. If people use bicycles, the city will become fresh, quiet and better. for life”.
Several counties in Barcelona and other regions in Spain have adopted a similar bicibus model. Boix said she wakes up earlier than usual every Friday because she is excited about the trip. Boix and his son cycle to school most days. On the day of bicibus, Boix’s son “enjoyed the ride and the freedom”.
Passers-by took pictures of the bicibus group, some of the children wearing coats with the program’s inscription on them. Some social media users say that bicibus shows what it means to rethink public spaces. Boix said the companionship on the trips touched the participants.
“We were all emotional on the trip. We believe things could have been done a little differently,” said Boix. “We’re not asking for anything too weird or impossible.”
Nguyen Tien (Follow NPR)