Bike Trains are great ways to encourage more children to ride to school. It is more complex than Walking School Buses, but can be equally as enjoyable and rewarding. Group riding is a skill above and beyond basic safe riding skills and this should only be taken on by someone who is experienced and confident rider.
Bicycle Trains are best suited for older elementary children. Before starting a program, ensure that all participants have basic training on bike handling and rules of the road. It’s recommended that there is one adult for every 3-5 children.
Please refer to the National Center for Safe Routes to School: Bike Train Planning Guide for detailed information to get started and continue with Bike Trains.
Following are some rules of the road to pass on to your potential bike train participants:
- Adult-supervised Bike Trains travel on the street, not on the sidewalk.
- Ride single file, with a bike space between riders (no tail-gating), do not pass.
- Ride on the right side of the street, about an arm’s length from the curb. Ride as straight as you can so that cars can see and pass.
- Use hand signals to show you are turning, slowing, or stopping. Calling out “right turn", “slowing”, “stopping” is also helpful.
- At major intersections, where there is a traffic light or a crossing guard, GET OFF the BIKE and WALK IT ACROSS the street. Look for a safe place for the whole group to stop, like a driveway, for the kids to dismount before crossing and mount again after crossing.
In Portland, Kiel Johnson started a bike train at Beach Elementary and has used the knowledge from that first experience to teach other community members and schools to start bike trains. Check out their site: biketrainspdx