A Bicycle Built For School


Kids in the US don’t get enough exercise and don’t spend enough time outdoors.

There’s a link between sufficient physical exertion — so much the better in fresh air — and enhanced academic performance.

Exercise and just being able to move around has been shown to help kids with learning disabilities including ADHD (my resident ADHD “expert,” my husband Jim, assures me that he thinks best and most cohesively when in motion, be it on foot, a-bike, in the car).

I don’t think it would be altogether feasible in the US (I live in New Jersey and the legal liabilities would be huge), but the idea of this teacher-and-student-pedaled bicycle school bus from the Netherlands is too ingenious not to consider.

The bicycle school bus (BCO in Dutch) is built by Tolkamp Metaalspecials. It fits eleven children and one adult and has eight sets of pedals for kids aged 4 to 12, a driver’s seat and three more seats for those who just want to take in the sights. It is also outfitted with a motor for going up hills, a sound system and a canvas awning for rainy days. The BCO can travel at a top speed of 10 miles per house and, at a price of $15,000 each, costs far less than the typical bus (plus, it comes in other colors besides yellow: green, blue, purple, grey, red).

A total of 25 of the bike buses have been made for use in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, and requests for information have come in from other countries in Europe, North American and South America. As YES! Magazine points out, some 95 percent of Dutch teenagers bike to school at least some time; much of the country’s population is devoted to bikes and to creating an urban infrastructure of bike paths and more.

Would the BCO be viable in other countries?, Co.Exist asked Tolkamp, to which he responded:

“I hope I can sell the bike in the near future to a foreign country and see how people at other countries react on the bike. I think it will work well in other countries, because as more and more people [are] becoming fat and “green living” becomes more important, ideas like this get more popular.”

In the car-friendly US, it may not be so easy for the BCO to catch on. Certainly (unlike the children and teacher in this photo), everyone would have to be wearing a bike helmet and I can already see the lawyers lining up to craft regulations. Still, the BCO’s combination of exercise en route to getting your education, not to mention some practice in teamwork — all the riders would have to learn to pedal in unison and to stop — are an inspiring mix. The schoolmates that bike together are learning some valuable lessons, one turn of the pedal at a time, together.


Related Care2 Coverage

Did Your Child Walk To School Today?

Few Americans Use Public Transport, Drive Alone Instead

Leave Your Car At Home: European Cities Create Anti-Driving Policies


Photo by SLO County Bicycle Coalition

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Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

What a great idea!!

We have a tram at one of our hospitals that picks up people from the parking lots. In the winter, it has plastic zipped around it to keep the rain and snow out. I wonder if they could do something like that to this bike. Hmmm....

Michael Manosalvas

love this idea

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.3 years ago

Cool idea. Cannot work in the USA because of our dangerous road system and terrible drivers, but it would certainly help with the obesity epidemic.

Kishore Amma
Kishore Amma3 years ago

a great idea. Thanks. :

Chad A.
Chad Anderson3 years ago

This sounds like a great idea, especially in suburban and rural areas with less traffic and urban areas where safe routes could be established.

Sandy Erickson
Sandy Erickson3 years ago

WTF? Parents sould go outside and teach thier children the fun of playing 'tag'.

Randi L.
Randi Levin3 years ago

I Guess they forgot that some cannot afford bikes, some bikes will get stolen, and how are they supooosed to bike to school in rain, snow, wind and sleet. Sure on sunny days such would be fine, but what about the rest of the year????

John Mansky
John Mansky3 years ago

Although I walked to school,there were bike-racks for those that biked. There was NO busing.Period!..

Lin Moy
Lin M3 years ago

Not for winter time in most states in US. Some kids live so far out, they'd never make it to school on time. They might have to start boarding schools to use this idea.

Eileen W.
Eileen W.3 years ago

What a great idea. Thanks. :)