Tinto Primary School has become the first school in South Lanarkshire in Scotland to set up a cycle train. The alternative method for children to travel to and from school takes its idea from a walking bus, but instead of adults walking at the front and rear of the group of children, everyone is on their bikes.
Capable adult cyclists escort the group of cycling children on a route to and from the school and there is a ‘driver’ at the front of the train and a ‘conductor’ at the back. The highly-visible group stop at a series of pre-determined pick-up and drop-off points, or ‘train stops’ along the way.
Tinto has four walking buses and a park and stride point to compliment the cycle train. And bike sheds for those taking part in the cycle train have also been installed at the school.
Since 2002, cycle trains have been becoming increasingly common internationally: several schools in the UK now have school-based cycle trains, and Hertfordshire Council has published some very basic guidelines for their development.
School-based cycle trains are most widespread in Belgium: during the school year 2004-2005 a total of 317 trains (involving 2390 children) were registered, with an average of four trains per school.
As well as being a cheap form of transport, it helps reduce congestion and improves road safety around schools.