Promoting cycling as a sustainable way of transport usually means trying to change people's mindsets. Children are the most open minded part of a society - they adopt new ideas far more easily than adults. By reaching the children with our targeted "Bike to School" campaign we also reach their parents telling them that the car is not the only way to get the children to school.
In frame of the "Bike to School" campaign every morning children from elementary schools join "bike trains" and cycle to their schools. Joining a "bike-train" means that the children cycle behind each other led by an adult and followed by another one at the end. All members of the bike train wear bright colored "Bike to School" T-shirts and little flags on their bikes.
The pilot campaign was launched in June, 2011 and lasted for a week. Our main task was to encourage parents to take part in the initiative, and try to get them to chose the bicycle more often. The pilot-project took place in the sixteenth district with the participation of an alternative school (Waldorf school). The pilot campaign was quite successful, the deputy-major was present at the press conference giving a statement that 11 other schools in the district will take part in the campaign from September. The children enjoyed cycling in these little groups very much and they liked the T-shirts and the flags too.
Safety plays a very important role in the campaign - the children never cycle without parents. The Hungarian Cyclists' Club provides the necessary courses and information materials for the participating parents, eg. guide books - like how to cycle in traffic safely.
According to our plans the campaign will grow city-wide from September. There will be a competition between the schools too, the daily routes will be recorded on an online map, therefore all the distances can be calculated and summarized afterwords.
The map of the pilot-campaign:
Bike to School on a larger map
The bike to School campaign is sponsored by the Hungarian Telecom' in frame of the 'Hello Holnap' program. www.helloholnap.hu