«En ville, sans ma voiture»
Since the last 25 years the amount of kids that are chauffeured to school every day has doubled in France. Imagine a long day in school, sitting for 8 hours and when you are finally done – yes – sitting again, in the car of the so “concerned and caring parents”.
The French environmental organization ADEME describes this phenomena as a vicious circle: The parents bring their kids to school by car, the traffic increases, this causes more accidents and less security in the traffic. This is the moment when parents start to be concerned about the safety of their kids and as a reaction they think it is the best to bring their kids to school by car.
In 2002 ADEME and the city of Nantes start a cooperation to escape this vicious circle. Increasing accidents and increasing air pollution had to be challenged. They introduced a campaign called “En ville, sans ma voiture“(„in the city, without my car“). A part of the campaign was to create 20 “vélobus“-lines, which are convoys of bikes which are accompanied of a security guard who takes care of the kids. The lines start at different points in the city and go to four different participating primary schools in the city.
About 70% of the students participate in this ongoing campaign and they are not only doing something good for their health: every day they avoid 28 kilogram of CO2 pollution. The traffic problems are decreasing now and this is the way to escape the vicious circle to turn it into a virtuous circle. When there is less traffic, the security increases, parents calm down and don’t worry so much any more about their kids. As a reaction they don’t feel the necessity any more to bring their kids by car to school.
The positive effects are not only about the health aspect of the kids. Also parents got aware of environmental problems caused of their behavior and they started to participate in the road safety education of their children. They made new social contacts with other parents and also they contributed in the fight against obesity.