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Watson's Bike Bus

  • Junior School

Since the beginning of the school year we have been operating a Bike Bus to encourage our pupils to use active travel, reduce emissions and minimise the number of cars travelling into school on a daily basis. The scheme has been so well received that we now have three ‘buses’ operating on different days of the week, with plans for more in the future.

A bike bus is a group of children and young people cycling to school accompanied by adults – usually parents and other volunteers – who stop traffic and mark junctions so that the bike bus can move as a single vehicle. Most, if not all of the bike buses in Edinburgh are accompanied by a police officer on a bicycle.

The initiative has been directed by Jarlath Flynn, a former Under 18 coach with Edinburgh Road Club and a keen cyclist. He explained the journey thus far and the proposed plans for the future:

“I saw the need to reduce congestion at school drop off in the morning and approached Watson’s to suggest the bike bus initiative, having previously worked with Sciennes Primary School and James Gillespies. Mr Salmond was very positive about the idea, so with the help of Jill Ecclestone, the school's bikeabilty coach and a parent at the school, Richard Brown, we set up a pilot route using the safety provided by the segregated bike lane. Mr Salmond and the police joined us for the pilot and it proved a great success. So much so, we have expanded to include a Colinton/Craiglockhart bike bus and we will be piloting a Fairmilehead route after the October break. We have families from the east side of town interested too, so we are looking at a bike bus from the Blackford area.”

Jarlath reiterated how positive the Watson’s community have been regarding the programme and although numbers are smaller in comparison to other schools’ more established ‘buses’, he is confident that Watson’s can attract more cyclists as the initiative develops:

 “The overall experience has been great and I have received messages from parents telling me how much their children love participating which is brilliant. So far, we are getting 9 or 10 kids on each of the bike buses which is a great start, however we have a long way to go to match other schools (who average around 40 or 50 pupils). I know Watson’s can rise to the challenge and there certainly seems to be an appetite for the scheme!”

George Salmond, Head of Junior School, echoed Jarlath’s enthusiasm, describing how beneficial the project has been:

“We have been delighted to get involved with the Bike Bus. We are passionate about supporting our pupils and parents to find environmentally friendly ways to get to school, whilst keeping our children safe. Cycling to school is a great way to keep fit and, in these tough times, save money too. As a keen cyclist, I wanted to experience the bike bus for myself. All it requires is a change of habit/routine. If I can do it travelling from North Berwick, I am sure others could too...even one day per week would make a difference.”

To have a look at the Bike Bus in action, check out local Bike Bus volunteer and parent, Alan Gordon's video below.

If you would like to learn more or even sign up for the Bike Bus, please visit

  • Bike Bus
  • Junior School
Watson's Bike Bus 2022

Watson's Bike Bus 2022