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Rose Park students ride to school in bike bus

Posted at 5:15 PM, May 31, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Creating safer bike lanes and healthier students are two of the goals of Salt Lake City’s “Bike Bus." The last one of the events took place Wednesday morning with students heading to Rose Park Elementary.

The grassroots effort was started by the mother of a student at the school and based on one already underway in Portland, Oregon. The hope is that bike buses get bigger, better and safer every year.

“You could see how much fun the kids were having!“ exclaimed Rose Park Elementary Principal Nicole Palmer.

A bike bus is an alternative to getting out of motorized vehicles and on to two wheels to get to school.

“There is safety in numbers, we call it critical mass. You know, the more bikers we have the more visible we are,” said organizer Trina Perez.

As a mom, Perez wound up being a driving force of this grass roots effort;
in particular, helping acquire bikes for students who didn’t have one.

“She raised several thousand dollars for us to purchase bikes for some other kids and we are doing that a chunk at a time because it’s a big project," said Palmer. "And really just this idea of coming together and riding together to school in the morning and having that sense of community as often as possible.”

The school was hoping to do several bike bus events this spring but Mother Nature and the weather didn’t cooperate. The goal is for more of these next school year.

“It’s important, I think, that kids, see a safe route to get to school, that they exist. And that they see how much fun it can be to get on a bike and get where you’re going, without having to be strapped into a seatbelt and in the backseat,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

The mayor not only joined in on the bike bus fun but says it definitely bodes well for the future.

"We are convincing a lot of older people in the city that there are safe routes to get out of your car and take alternate transportation," she said. "But these kids are going to know that from second grade on.”