Sandymount Cycle Bus has been up and running since the 22nd March 2022 and is going from strength to strength. There are currently two routes operating and we have participants from four local schools, although the majority are currently from one school.
Our main focus has been on ensuring the safety of all participants. We have done this by increasing the visibility of the bus. This has been done by providing hi-vis vests to participants. We have also purchased some loud bike bells which help alert other road users to our presence as well as adding a bit of fun to our trips. To promote the cycle bus in the community and encourage more participants we have added our logo to hi-vis vests and other items.
The cycle bus has resulted in a number of families replacing car journeys with bike trips. This has benefits for the health of those cycling by encouraging regular exercise and promoting a healthy lifestyle. It also benefits the whole community by reducing traffic and improving air quality through reduction of exhaust emissions. Children are improving their cycling skills, developing their road safety awareness and building their confidence while at the same time enjoying a fun and social journey to school.
New connections have been made in the local community, among parents and students from different schools, with community volunteers and the local Gardaí as well as further afield with organisations such as the Dublin Cycling Campaign, Green Schools/An Taisce and with other cycle buses in Ireland and beyond.
We are in contact with all of the schools in the local area with the hope of increasing the number of students taking part, particularly from those schools that are currently underrepresented. We also hope to extend the current routes to serve more areas and to add new routes. We are also hoping to organise a family friendly cycle to include those in the community who are not served by the current routes. This will also help to promote the cycle bus in the community.
We're delighted to already have 2 cycle bus routes bringing students and their parents safely to Shellybanks ETNS. The first route, the Park Avenue route, starts at the Junction of Strand Rd. and St. Albans Park and travels mostly along Park Avenue. The second route, the South Lotts Route, is in its pilot phase and stop timings are still being finalised. This route starts on South Lotts Road and travels along Bath Avenue and Tritonville Road. We're always on the lookout for Marshals, competent adult cyclists, to cycle with the students along the whole length of the route. If you would like to get involved please contact [email protected]
Our aim is to create a network of cycle buses for National school children travelling to school in the Sandymount area.
We have formed a committee of parents from Shellybanks ETNS to work together to further the project. Committee meetings have been held via video call.
For support and information we have contacted other Cycle Buses and have found the planning document of the Galway Cycle Bus particularly useful. We have also been in touch with Green Schools, Dublin City Council, the local Gardaí and the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
In order to identify possible routes we collected anonymous location data from parents within Shellybanks ETNS who were interested in using the Cycle Bus. The Committee is working on identifying suitable routes from these data. Given the coastal location of Sandymount, students travel to the school from a number of different directions. We decided to initially identify one route that would serve the largest number of families and focus most of our efforts on getting this up and running before moving on to additional routes. Suitable stops along the route need to be identified as well as the times the Cycle Bus will arrive at each stop. This will be done by cycling the route, initially with adults only and then accompanied by children. Once this route has been successfully established it can be opened as a formal cycle bus route. The focus can then move on to the next route identified. It is hoped that at least one route will be officially launched before the end of this school year.
In order to recruit Marshals to cycle with the bus we initially contacted parents from Shellybanks ETNS and then sent out a request via the Dublin Cycling Campaign. We will also be expanding our search for Marshals to community groups, local Cycling Clubs, Businesses etc.
Once a number of routes are up and running for Shellybanks ETNS students it is hoped that the network can be expanded to serve other schools in the area using the same methodology as above.
Covid 19 safety plan
Government guidelines currently impose no restrictions relevant to the operation of the Cycle Bus, other than the advice to self-isolate if symptomatic and seek a test if appropriate. However, the Committee will keep up to date on any changes to these guidelines and adapt as appropriate. Given the outdoor nature of the activity, the risk of transmission of Covid-19 during the operation of the Cycle Bus is considered to be low.
How we will spend the seed fund
We will use the seed fund to purchase the equipment required by the Marshalling group to ensure the smooth and safe running of the Cycle Bus. This includes bicycle pumps, spare tubes, simple mechanical sets, first aid kits, spare bike lights for participants - we would also like to provide each participant with a set of lights - spare gloves and waterproof trousers for participants, front and rear cameras to record incidents and temporary bus stops
We would like to subsidise First Aid and Bike Maintenance training for our volunteer Marshals in order that the Cycle Bus can run safely and smoothly.
To help promote the Cycle Bus within the community we would like all participants to wear branded hi-vis vests with the cycle bus name and logo. Once the Cycle Bus expands it may also be necessary to have different coloured vests to distinguish students from different schools.
Funding is needed for graphics to be used in Social Media updates
We would like to hold an official launch of the cycle bus and will require some funds for associated costs.
From time to time we would also like to hold fun demo days to promote the cycle bus within the community and would like to purchase bells and fancy dress for the Marshals for these days.
There will also be additional costs associated with the printing of documents such as participation forms.
Benefits for the community
By encouraging large groups of students to cycle to school, the Cycle Bus will reduce the amount of car traffic in the area. This improves safety for all road users, helps improve traffic congestion in and around the school and improves air quality and health through the reduction of exhaust emissions. Cycle Buses are a fun and social way for children to travel to school, while at the same time improving their cycling skills, developing their road-safety awareness and building their confidence. They can also encourage regular exercise at an early age through regular cycling, thus promoting a healthy lifestyle. Studies have also shown that fresh air and exercise on the way to school can improve students’ alertness and concentration levels. They are also a social outlet for parents/guardians, allowing them to connect with other parents/guardians in the school and in the local area. Bringing together volunteers from different sectors of the community to help run the Cycle Bus, as well as students and parents from different schools, with a common goal will also promote a sense of community in the area.