Schulterblick – The Vienna Cycling School is organizing cycling courses for school classes in the centre of Vienna in order to support and motivate families to use the bicycle for transport in the city. The program is distinguished by its interactive approach, which enables to reduce the apparent complexity of urban traffic to a few behaviour patterns. These are easy to learn and great fun for children when put into practice.
1) Target Group: Families
Families are in many ways the most important target group to achieve environment-friendly and child-friendly urban mobility. They are not only one of the largest target groups, but also one that will benefit most from using the bicycle for transport.
Instead of passively sitting in a car or a bus, children participate actively in urban traffic. They take over more responsibility and practice their social skills in interacting with other traffic participants. The additional movement outdoors is of immense importance, especially for children in cities, who usually spend far too much time sitting indoors. Once children get used to use the bicycle for everyday transport, they most likely will keep to that when they grow up.
2) Courses for School Classes
Schulterblick is campaigning for a more child-friendly mobility in Vienna. Our cycling courses have been especially developed for cycling in urban traffic and are the main base of our campaign. They take place on cycling routes in the city centre, which is the perfect place for the children to practise their communication skills.
Our highly visible groups of children, who obviously enjoy cycling in traffic, are ideal for raising awareness, that cycling with children is possible, makes sense and can be great fun.
3) Interactive Approach
Rules and regulations are part of our teaching program, but we put the main focus on the children’s ability to communicate and cooperate with other traffic participants. This ability is not only crucial for their safety, but also contributes to a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere in urban traffic, which is a key factor for parents to let their children cycle in a city. This understanding of cycling is facilitated theoretically by interactive games and practically by cycling in small groups on highly frequented cycling routes.
4) Climate Protection - Klimaschutzwelle
All the benefits of cycling for me, for our community and for the environment are the second theme of our theoretical part. We make the children – and their parents - aware that climate protection is without doubt the most important task of today, which can only be achieved, if everybody is willing to contribute. Using the bicycle instead of a car makes a difference, so children/families can actively contribute to climate protection.
At the end of the course we impart to the children how to accomplish the global dimension of climate protection by performing the Klimaschutzwelle (Mexican wave for climate protection). Each child stands for a different country or city, and we chant, “CYCLING IS GOOD FOR…VIENNA! …PARIS! …MOSCOW! ……”.
5) Campaigning Methods
The success of our campaign is shown in different aspects: The most important aspect is the way children enjoy the courses. Our cycling groups of children are highly visible and show such an enthusiasm, that passers-by love to take photos, ask about our cycling school, or simply smile at us. It creates a very positive and cooperative atmosphere, which is one of our main goals.
The interest of the media is growing as well. More and more media partners recognize the enormous potential of the Schulterblick project and support us.
The project is funded mainly by private contributions. We have just started with this aspect of campaigning and already get a lot of positive feedback.