BikeBus aims to boost road safety for scholars

Parents and pupils cycling in a group crossing Liesbeek Parkway in the BikeBus.

Scores of parents and volunteers with bicycles joined the pilot BikeBus programme in Rondebosch last Friday to escort pupils safely to school.

BikeBus – which sees parents cycling with their children to school in a large group – was devised by Young Urbanists South Africa, a non-profit company.

“We want to advocate for safer road infrastructure and raise awareness around safety especially when it comes to intersections,” said Young Urbanists South Africa managing director Roland Postma. “We would like a safer road network that not only favours cars.”

They plan to work with schools and ward councillors to make BikeBus a regular event.

Katta Ludynia, of Rosebank, who cycles with her children regularly to their school, St Joseph’s Marist College, said she hoped the pilot programme would encourage more parents to take part.

Brenda Elshove, who cycled with her daughter to Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School, said: “I think it’s brilliant. I would like to see more children cycling to school, and if we can do this in a large group, it will be safer.”

The BikeBus started on the corner of Liesbeek Parkway and Durban Road, Mowbray. The group of 20 parents, children and volunteers then crossed Alma and Belmont roads, passed through the Erin Road subway and along Park Road. On the way, pupils were dropped off at Rustenburg Girls’ Junior School, St Joseph’s Marist College and Forres Preparatory School.

“It can show parents that they can shift from their motor vehicles to another mode of transport when they take their children to school,” said Ward 59 councillor Mikhail Manuel. And Ward 58 councillor Katherine Christie added: “It’s healthy. Children are getting exercise; it will reduce the amount of cars on the road and be more environmentally friendly.”

Mayoral committee member for urban mobility Rob Quintas said the City supported the initiative as part of its aim to promote walking, cycling and public transport.

Katta Ludynia rode with her children, Riek van Weele, left, and Eric van Weele to St Joseph’s Marist College.
Lorna Morris accompanied her children, Tessa and Luke, to Forres Preparatory School.
From left are Kevin Foster from Young Urbanists South Africa, Ward 59 councillor Mikhail Manuel, Roland Postma from Young Urbanists South Africa and Ward 58 councillor Katherine Christie.