If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or if you follow bike culture at all, you probably already know that the Dutch love their bicycles. Cycling has become a huge part of their culture. For example:
- Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind.
- Every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school.
- Almost 30 percent of all trips in the Netherlands are made by bike, compared to a paltry 0.9 percent in the United States. Furthermore, 55 % of journeys to jobs less than 7.5 kilometers are done on two-wheeled, no emission vehicles, and 60 percent of inner city trips are bike trips.
- People in Amsterdam use their bikes more than their cars, figures from 2005-2007 show. Inhabitants of Amsterdam used their bikes .87 times per day during that time, while they used their cars .84 times a day.
- Biking is dramatically safer in Holland. In the U.S., there are 35 cyclists injured per 10 million kilometers traveled. In Holland, that number is only 1.4!
- The Netherlands was the first country to establish an official national bicycle policy.
- The country’s bike fleet comfortably outnumbers its 16 million people.
So it should come as no surprise that the Dutch have now outdone themselves by launching the world’s first bicycle school bus. The bicycle school bus runs entirely on the power of the legs of the kids on the bus (with a backup electric motor for tough hills). There is one adult driver and three pedal-free seats for kids who can’t pedal. An awning keeps the sun and rain off of the kids. It comes in a rainbow of colors and only costs about $15,000 — much less than a “regular” school bus.
On the Move readers, what do you think? How about starting up a movement to buy one of these for your school district? We at GMTMA think this school bus is just about the coolest thing in the history of, well, ever. Want to learn about this, and other, ways to get kids to school in a safe, healthy, and eco-friendly way? Check out our Safe Routes to School initiative and get your school district involved TODAY! Email Rebecca Hersh at email@example.com for more information.