Every Friday morning, Gillian Burgess takes a group of children, including her own, to Escuela Key primary school in Ballston.
Burgess, whose family lives without cars, acknowledged that the idea of a bike bus is not new. In fact, she said that she was jealous of one who operated a few neighborhoods when she grew up. But she has found that riding elementary school children and their classmates to school on two wheels gives them a boost of energy, a sense of community and confidence.
The Escuela Key bike bus was born out of the pandemic, when schools were trying to find alternative ways to get kids to class without having to ride them on a school bus.
Safety is a concern for some parents, but Burgess said she teaches her kids to assume they're invisible to drivers, so they stop whenever they see something that could be a threat, including a car pulling out of the way. an uncertain driveway or stopping pattern. The group takes a trail for most of their trip to the school, which has two pickup points for passengers to join.
There have been some unexpected benefits from the formation of the bicycle bus. By simply navigating and driving their own transportation, children who had a hard time understanding the loss of control in their lives during the pandemic have shown improvement, Burgess said.
“When you give kids some age-appropriate independence, they become more confident, they become less anxious, and they realize that they actually have the power to deal with problems that come up, find solutions, and move on. which helps them have a little bit of control over their lives, helps them feel better, helps them be less anxious,” he said.