Bike Bus idea gives safety in numbers

David Carpenter and Manjit Kumari at the head of the bike bus en route for Bradford city centre

David Carpenter and Manjit Kumari at the head of the bike bus en route for Bradford city centre

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A two-wheeled “bus” which has been set up for commuters to cycle to work together is hoping to expand.

The ‘bike bus’ currently runs from Keighley to Bradford once a week every Wednesday morning and organisers want to include more days and routes as it becomes more popular.

As any cyclist is aware, the dangers of battling it out with commuter traffic can be an unnnerving experience, especially when you are on your own, surrounded by commuters in cars, buses, vans and lorries, all eager to get to work as quickly as they can.

The innovative scheme to give cyclists the safety of riding in numbers was the brainchild of Bradford Council worker Manjit Kumari and fellow cyclist David Carpenter, who wanted to encourage other commuters to leave their cars at home.

They set up the scheme six weeks ago and it has already attracted 11 members.

Cyclists can join the route at set times at Keighley, Crossflats, Bingley, Saltaire, Shipley and Manningham. The group journey together making it safer and giving inexperienced riders more confidence commuting to work. They also run a buddy system to help people who might need extra help along the way.

The ten-mile route begins at Keighley Railway station at 7.20am and has 12 pick up points before arriving in Bradford’s Centenary Square at 8.10am.

Mr Kumari said: “The Aire Valley Bike Bus was set up by myself and David to encourage people to take up cycling and make the journey to work a more interesting and sociable experience.

“As well as great exercise, this is a fantastic way to develop confidence in cycling along busy commuter routes.”

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, executive member for environment, said: “This is a great initiative to encourage people to bike to work and make the most of the many cycle routes across the district.

“Initiatives like this are driven by the passion of people like Manjit and David and I wish them every success in their venture. The Council is keen to support initiatives which help reduce the district’s carbon footprint, and encourage people to be more active.”

The cyclists wear high visibility equipment, which has been donated.

For more information about the bike bus, and how to join it, log onto www.airevalleybikebus.org.uk. The scheme is open to any member of the public.

The scheme has even drawn the backing of the district’s cycling champion Viv Carnea.

She said: “It’s a great way of commuting to work by bike. There is safety in numbers by cycling together and this is the first one of its kind in the district.

“I even use it myself as I live in Baildon.”

e-mail: jo.winrow @telegraphandargus.co.uk

Comments (5)

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10:43am Thu 25 Sep 08

dazbot says...

To get people 'on their bikes' along this route really needs some massive investment from the council. Going down the A650 from Saltaire to Bradford is an utter nightmare with double parking, bus lanes, bad drivers. If the council was serious about this they would create dedicated bike lanes along the hardly used pavements such as they have in Bristol and York.
To get people 'on their bikes' along this route really needs some massive investment from the council. Going down the A650 from Saltaire to Bradford is an utter nightmare with double parking, bus lanes, bad drivers. If the council was serious about this they would create dedicated bike lanes along the hardly used pavements such as they have in Bristol and York. dazbot
  • Score: 0

11:26am Thu 25 Sep 08

albion says...

dazbot wrote:
To get people 'on their bikes' along this route really needs some massive investment from the council. Going down the A650 from Saltaire to Bradford is an utter nightmare with double parking, bus lanes, bad drivers. If the council was serious about this they would create dedicated bike lanes along the hardly used pavements such as they have in Bristol and York.
As some cyclists already use the pavement (illegally i might add)there doesnt seem much need.
[quote][bold]dazbot[/bold] wrote: To get people 'on their bikes' along this route really needs some massive investment from the council. Going down the A650 from Saltaire to Bradford is an utter nightmare with double parking, bus lanes, bad drivers. If the council was serious about this they would create dedicated bike lanes along the hardly used pavements such as they have in Bristol and York.[/quote]As some cyclists already use the pavement (illegally i might add)there doesnt seem much need. albion
  • Score: 0

11:41am Thu 25 Sep 08

dazbot says...

albion wrote:
dazbot wrote:
To get people 'on their bikes' along this route really needs some massive investment from the council. Going down the A650 from Saltaire to Bradford is an utter nightmare with double parking, bus lanes, bad drivers. If the council was serious about this they would create dedicated bike lanes along the hardly used pavements such as they have in Bristol and York.As some cyclists already use the pavement (illegally i might add)there doesnt seem much need.
Yes you do get the odd person doing that..normally kids. But do you blame them with some of the drivers you encounter on that route; i.e pulling out and forcing their way into traffic, double parking, undertaking in bus lanes. Parts of that road are like death race 2000.
[quote][bold]albion[/bold] wrote: dazbot wrote: To get people 'on their bikes' along this route really needs some massive investment from the council. Going down the A650 from Saltaire to Bradford is an utter nightmare with double parking, bus lanes, bad drivers. If the council was serious about this they would create dedicated bike lanes along the hardly used pavements such as they have in Bristol and York.As some cyclists already use the pavement (illegally i might add)there doesnt seem much need.[/quote]Yes you do get the odd person doing that..normally kids. But do you blame them with some of the drivers you encounter on that route; i.e pulling out and forcing their way into traffic, double parking, undertaking in bus lanes. Parts of that road are like death race 2000. dazbot
  • Score: 0

11:53am Thu 25 Sep 08

albion says...

Yes i do blame them, especially the ADULT ones who on more than one occasion have brushed against me when not slowing or swerving to avoid me.
I agree about the double parking and parking on double yellow lines and it is almost always the same people doing it.
Yes i do blame them, especially the ADULT ones who on more than one occasion have brushed against me when not slowing or swerving to avoid me. I agree about the double parking and parking on double yellow lines and it is almost always the same people doing it. albion
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Thu 25 Sep 08

david_domestique says...

One of the reasons for starting the bike bus was because the Aire Valley route is actually pretty good to cycle along.

The route is a lot less dangerous than people would have you believe, with really good stretches of both dedicated bike, and shared bus lanes. Much of the route is also very wide, giving plenty of room for bikes and other traffic. In many ways it is a really good route to cycle.

The riders on the bike bus observe the rules of the road, and take the attitude that we share the route with other people.
In turn we find that other road users are very considerate of our needs, and so, for example, the odd parked car becomes less of a hazard.

As traffic is generally slower during the time we travel we find that this also makes us feel safer.

For us, it's just our way of getting work. We enjoy the social side of meeting up once a week, getting a bit of exercise and fresh air, and enjoy the safety we gain from cycling together.

We realise that other people are also trying to get to work, so we try not to disrupt that for them.

Commute . Together . Safely
One of the reasons for starting the bike bus was because the Aire Valley route is actually pretty good to cycle along. The route is a lot less dangerous than people would have you believe, with really good stretches of both dedicated bike, and shared bus lanes. Much of the route is also very wide, giving plenty of room for bikes and other traffic. In many ways it is a really good route to cycle. The riders on the bike bus observe the rules of the road, and take the attitude that we share the route with other people. In turn we find that other road users are very considerate of our needs, and so, for example, the odd parked car becomes less of a hazard. As traffic is generally slower during the time we travel we find that this also makes us feel safer. For us, it's just our way of getting work. We enjoy the social side of meeting up once a week, getting a bit of exercise and fresh air, and enjoy the safety we gain from cycling together. We realise that other people are also trying to get to work, so we try not to disrupt that for them. Commute . Together . Safely david_domestique
  • Score: 0
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