Dutch Kids Pedal Their Own Bus To School
February 28, 2012 6:13 PM   Subscribe

In the Netherlands, bikes abound. And now, they even take kids to school. Behold, the bicycle school bus.
posted by Blasdelb (53 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yet again, I am convinced that I live in the wrong country.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:18 PM on February 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yes, if the teachers get to bike around and pick up the students, I indeed live in the wrong country.
posted by Huck500 at 6:21 PM on February 28, 2012


A bicycle built for school.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:22 PM on February 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Neat. But pricey, too:

How much does it cost?

Around $15,000, so less than a taxi or normal bus.


Less than a normal bus, but enough to make a dent in most budgets. In a flat place with short commutes and where drivers are well-trained about bicycle awareness, this would be perfect. (And for raising driver awareness about bicycles, what better than a huge yellow bicycle full of adorable children?)
posted by Forktine at 6:29 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is indeed an awesome cycle. I like the builder's other multiperson bikes, including what appears to be a pedal-powered Citroen 2CV. In related news, now residing in my hometown is the Busycle. Not, unfortunately, in regular use at the moment.
posted by foonly at 6:30 PM on February 28, 2012


In a flat place with short commutes and where drivers are well-trained about bicycle awareness, this would be perfect.
It's got a motor to assist with hills, right? It doesn't carry as many people as an ordinary bus, though, so in practice it might be pretty expensive. But in general, I think it's pretty awesome.
posted by craichead at 6:32 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


School busses themselves are rather uncommon as anything other than transport for school trips.

At that age we cycled to school in a little group of neighbours, with the parents taking turns herding.
posted by HFSH at 6:35 PM on February 28, 2012


I wonder what America would be like today if the Dutch had colonized it rather than the English?
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


The Dutch did colonize it, at least where I live. Their offspring would be a little overweight to be pedaling one of those down the road, though- and I can see the teachers scoffing right now at the idea of having to get somewhere under their own steam.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:49 PM on February 28, 2012


descendants, not offspring.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:49 PM on February 28, 2012


"I wonder what America would be like today if the Dutch had colonized it rather than the English?"

New Netherland
posted by Blasdelb at 7:00 PM on February 28, 2012


Man, not a week goes by that I don't miss the Netherlands...
posted by dejah420 at 7:00 PM on February 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wake up! This is all part of the liberal plot against American values. Mandatory euthanasia! Children as young as five corralled into endless toil powering government vehicles! Where will it end?
posted by alexei at 7:05 PM on February 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Helmets, kids, helmets!
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:05 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


But that's not really a bike -- bikes have two wheels, and you have to balance on them.

This vehicle has four wheels, stands on its own, and, presumably, has a braking system. I'd call that a pedal-powered trolley, myself.
posted by Malor at 7:09 PM on February 28, 2012


Oh, plus a motor! Trolley for sure. Not a bike.
posted by Malor at 7:09 PM on February 28, 2012


The eeriest hour I spent in years was the hour after walking out the Centraal train station in Amsterdam. The city was so bustling with activity all around me, and yet SO DEAFENINGLY QUIET.
posted by ocschwar at 7:11 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Helmets, kids, helmets!"

What is wrong with bicycle helmets Those kids are so much safer in the Netherlands without helmets than similar kids in the US could ever be regardless of how much meaninglessly ineffective styrofoam we might ant to strap to them.

This is why
posted by Blasdelb at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


. I'd call that a pedal-powered trolley, myself.

Ah, two nations divided by a common tongue. (In en_US, a "trolley" is something powered by overhead wires, with or without tracks below.)
posted by ocschwar at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2012


New Netherland

New Amsterdam
posted by ovvl at 7:29 PM on February 28, 2012


There's enough kids in my neighborhood who all go to the same school that I could totally give them all a ride on one of these. If school didn't start at 7:30 in the morning, obviously.
posted by padraigin at 7:30 PM on February 28, 2012


Helmets, kids, helmets!

It has four wheels. Why on earth would you wear a helmet?

Do you wear a helmet in the bathtub, or on the stairs?
posted by Forktine at 7:31 PM on February 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's a fully realized and optimized Flintstone's mobile.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:38 PM on February 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The traffic jams outside our downtown schools are insane. If the Victorian-era architects who designed these schools might have thought that at some point in the distant future, every single child attending school would be personally chauffeured in their own individual carriage, then they would have been thought of as insane.
posted by ovvl at 7:39 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I totally want my daughter to ride in one of those when she's elementary school age.

Step 1: move far enough from the closest school that she can't walk.
posted by gurple at 8:01 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, this thing doesn't look very high tech. Some metal scrap. A TIG welder. Some paint work.

Won't take much,
posted by ocschwar at 8:06 PM on February 28, 2012


I will see your school bike and raise you one beer bike.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:09 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The people who made the bus bike probably made the beer bike.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:28 PM on February 28, 2012


RTFA.
From the second link:
Tolkamp: I had already made other big bikes (like the Beerbikes)
posted by Goofyy at 8:44 PM on February 28, 2012


No seat belts, no ABS, no airbags. So if they want to deploy this in North America, they would need an extra row of seats for the lawyers.
posted by storybored at 8:55 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a flat place

Bike escalators!

and where drivers are well-trained about bicycle awareness, this would be perfect.

In the doc, How the Dutch got their cycle paths, the reason was actually because of the great economy after WWII that also created such crappy and dangerous drivers. I'm not sure if the drivers are well-trained, it's that there's far less of them. But, the incredible bike infrastructure was created after the car infrastructure was put into place - I always always thought that a car infrastructure just never existed in the Netherlands. Having biked *through* it, I still had no idea . Also in bike/car accidents, the car is always placed on fault. All cyclists are covered by insurance on accidents, I do believe.

I know the US ain't like this, but it's criminal to think it can't be. The Netherlands are a great lesson in so many ways. Their use of Peat for industrial uses, well before coal was widespread (and all of the problems that came along with that, like losing huge tracks of their land), is something to think about, as we all deal with the problem with oil, today.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:03 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my neighborhood, gas is flirting with $4.60/gallon.

Considering how low the gas mileage must be on one of those short little school buses, I bet it would pay for itself just in fuel costs in a fairly short amount of time.

But I live in a flat, bike-friendly area, so what the hell do I know.
posted by ambrosia at 9:04 PM on February 28, 2012


It has four wheels. Why on earth would you wear a helmet?

Luckily, 4-wheeled vehicles never tip over, eliminating any need for cerebral impact-protection when in physically-exposed travel modes. Otherwise, this argument would seem like nonsense.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:23 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are we seriously going to turn this into a helmet debate?
posted by craichead at 9:27 PM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can you do this in a robe, holding a cup of coffee, with a cigarette in your mouth?

'Cause if not, it's never going to catch on at the school bus stops around here.
posted by madajb at 9:52 PM on February 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


In a flat place with short commutes and where drivers are well-trained about bicycle awareness, this would be perfect.

You forgot "and it doesn't snow". Honestly, weather is a huge obstacle that it's tough to overcome.
posted by anastasiav at 9:54 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Luckily, 4-wheeled vehicles

You know you linked to an 18 wheeler, right?
posted by hermitosis at 10:02 PM on February 28, 2012


Yep. That was kind-of the point.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2012


Of course most parents just drop their kids of to school the old fashioned way: one child old enough to cycle along themselves, one on the back of dad's bike, a third in front of the parent on the bike in a seat attached to the bike handles.

What with the weather in Holland, getting the wind in your face, getting rain in your face, getting hail in your face, having a baby is therefore often a deliberate choice...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:09 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pfft, just get a bigger bakfiets.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:15 PM on February 28, 2012


That was kind-of the point.

Well, then I look forward to your campaign to get truck drivers to wear helmets.
posted by alexei at 11:24 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoosh.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:47 PM on February 28, 2012


Haven't see those around yet, interesting concept. However, you won't see a lot of actual teachers riding this bike. The article in the first link kind of misses the point in that regard: it's designed for after school care, so for either picking up the kids from one of the schools (if that's not in walking distance, some kind of taxi system is used now) and getting them to the after school care venue, or for short trips (for instance to a playground or zoo) when the kids are already there.
posted by Ms. Next at 12:44 AM on February 29, 2012


anastasiav, it snows in the Netherlands almost every winter. People still bike in it.
posted by neushoorn at 1:11 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


anastasiav, it snows in the Netherlands almost every winter. People still bike in it.

Not only do they bike in it, they bike and talk on their cell phones and text and carry things (like umbrellas!) and talk and laugh...all without helmets, sometimes in the snow.

I once saw two people on bikes carrying a mattress down the road. True story.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:59 AM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


PedalPubs!
posted by imjustsaying at 2:25 AM on February 29, 2012


This is the problem with North America (esp. IRT helmet laws). You can't just "ride a bike", you have to "go cycling". In Europe, people ride bikes. It makes me sad, thinking that if I ever return to my homeland I won't legally be able to just ride a bike ever again. Every time I'm in the Netherlands I rent a bike and do most of my travelling and sightseeing on it. In street clothes, and without a helmet. It's glorious!
posted by Meatbomb at 3:25 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bicycling in the snow (in Copenhagen) also a video
posted by vacapinta at 3:54 AM on February 29, 2012


Turn-of-the-(last)-century bike infrastructure in LA.

Also, this. Again.
posted by brokkr at 4:11 AM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where do the kids put their schoolbags?

Or are heavy schoolbags only a middle-class Indian obsession?
posted by the cydonian at 4:48 AM on February 29, 2012


Where do the kids put their schoolbags? Dutch kids that age* won't have very heavy school bags. Also, the manufacturer states in the specs of this bike that it has 160-300 liters of storage space in the front and back of the bike.
*The after school care center that this was developed with, apparently uses it for kids up to 9 years old or so, after that age the kids use their own bikes.
posted by Ms. Next at 5:14 AM on February 29, 2012


Their use of Peat for industrial uses

Won't somebody think of the Scotch?!?!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:18 AM on February 29, 2012



Come on, this is the cutest thing since Pancake Bunny.

It would be a bit of a drag in snow or rain, but all those pretty children in that pretty weather. Man. That's a sight.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:59 AM on February 29, 2012


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