EDWARDSVILLE - The City of Edwardsville will sponsor its last Bike Bus of the school year on Friday, May 17, 2024.

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The Bike Bus encourages students to bike to school through an organized bike ride that takes students to Liberty and Lincoln Middle Schools and Woodland, Cassens and Columbus Elementary Schools. Students join the Bike Bus at a designated time and place along the route, and a “bus driver” — a volunteer in a safety vest — guides the bicyclists on their ride to school.

“Ideally, there’s one Bike Bus driver in the front and one Bike Bus driver in the back, and the students ride single-file in between, usually on the bike trails and the sidewalks, and we take them to school,” explained Jason Stacy, who helped organize the Bike Bus. “We’ve had a great time, and we keep getting bigger and bigger. We had 29 students riding the Bike Bus last Friday, and we had 20 students the week before that, so we keep growing as word gets out.”

The Bike Bus is an initiative of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which supports the biking and walking infrastructure in Edwardsville. Stacy noted that Bike Buses are becoming more popular in the U.S., but Edwardsville has one of the only Bike Buses in Illinois. The Bike Bus encourages kids to stay active, get outside and use alternative modes of transportation.

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“One of our initiatives is education and reaching out to the schools,” Stacy added. “So the Bike Bus comes out of that objective of ours to introduce young people to cycling safety and also bike-riding as a convenient means of transportation.”

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee started the Bike Bus last fall at Lincoln and Liberty Middle Schools. This spring, they expanded their reach to the elementary schools. They offer the Bike Bus on Fridays in September, October and May.

As the program grows in popularity, they have seen more students join them on their morning and afternoon rides. Stacy said they plan to implement a Walk Bus this coming fall, which will allow students to choose whether to bike or walk to school.

In addition to the Bike Bus, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is currently sponsoring the Slow Down Town initiative, which encourages drivers to be mindful of their surroundings when traveling in downtown Edwardsville and beyond. Stacy pointed out that this is an important part of the Bike Bus, and he reminds people to share the roadways and be cautious, especially as summer approaches and more people take to walking and biking.

“Downtown Edwardsville is a place where we have people who not only drive but also ride bikes and walk, and everybody should be mindful of each other,” he said. “We've got a lot of great things to do in Edwardsville and we want to make sure everybody can do that safely.”

The Bike Bus resumes tomorrow morning, May 17, 2024. Parents are encouraged to ride with their children, but it’s not a requirement. However, all Bus Bike participants must wear helmets. The committee also asks students to register. For more information about the Bike Bus and how to get involved, visit the official webpage.

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