Bike buses have increased in popularity around the United States after a bike bus in Portland went viral in 2022. The general idea is this: a bunch of kids and a bunch of grownups bike to school together, and pick up other kids and grownups along the route. There’s no registration, and you join the pack as they bike by.

It’s safer because there’s more people biking together, so it supports riders who may not be comfortable riding solo alongside cars. And it helps communities realize the importance of safe streets and safe routes to school: the original one in Portland has even inspired a state bill to help schools have more flexibility with their transportation funds.


Last year, a bike bus got off the ground for Carrboro Elementary School. And now there’s a route for Estes Hills Elementary School, led by Arleigh Greenwald, who runs Chapel Hill on Bikes. We spoke to Greenwald about her Wednesday bike bus initiative, now in its second week.

How many kids are taking part?

This was our second week, and we had 6 kids!
bike-bus route-for-bike-bus

How can other neighborhoods start a bike bus? (What if a neighborhood has to cross busy streets to get to school?)

Look for the most low-stress route, have a lot of kid-free volunteers, and make sure the adult stays with their child.

What are the benefits for kids of biking to school?

The CDC advises that children have 60 minutes of activity a day. Research cited by the CDC states that kids who are physically active tend to concentrate better, remember what they learned, and have more on-task time than their inactive peers. Biking together as a group also builds community between the families and students.

What have you heard from kids and parents after the first bike buses?

Parents are excited to have a carrot to entice their children to get out of bed a bit earlier and ride to school.

Is there anything Carrboro and Chapel Hill can do to make bike buses easier to start or safer?

We need slower streets around school and safe biking/walking routes to be required for school sites instead of a hindrance.

You can contact Arleigh over email ([email protected]) to learn more.

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Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....