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Norfolk police say they won't be stopping kids without reflectives after all

Force backs campaign reported yesterday, but officers won't be making children get off and walk...

Norfolk police have told that they won't be stopping children from riding their bikes to a school in Norwich if they don't wear reflective gear, but they do support the initiative, which we reported on yesterday.

The original press release from the force, while saying that police backed the initiative, omitted to mention that it would be staff from the school stopping the children, rather than police officers.

Before putting yesterday’s article up on the site, we phoned Norfolk Constabulary to find out if they really would be telling children to get off their bikes and walk instead, but with this being a local rather than force-wide initiative, it seems our voicemail message didn’t get to the right person – so much for technology making life easier.

A spokesperson from Norfolk Constabulary has now clarified the situation, telling us: “The initiative was launched by the school as part of a priority recently set at the Hellesdon and Horsford Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel meeting. At this meeting a group of locally based statutory agencies, including the police, come together with local residents to discuss and agree the three key community issues to be addressed by the partnership.

“Cycle safety at Hellesdon High was raised as a concern by some residents and school staff, who were worried about children's safety on the roads, and agreed as one of the priority issues to be addressed. In response, the school decided to take a number of measures to help improve the safety of children travelling to and from school - this included the issuing reflective equipment and educating those youngsters who may be putting themselves at risk. The police support this action.

“The whole priority setting process is about identifying issues, either causing concern to residents or affecting their quality of life, dealing with them and making the neighbourhood a safer place to live.”

While that clarifies the issue from a police point of view, the fact remains that implementation of such a rule on the school’s part could be seen as promoting the idea that cycling is an inherently dangerous activity, as highlighted by cyclists’ organisation CTC whom we quoted in yesterday’s article.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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OldRidgeback | 14 years ago

To quote, "You do the hokey cokey and you turn around, that's what it's all about."

cactuscat | 14 years ago

making the neighbourhood a safer place to live

yeah, those pesky cyclists making the roads unsafe. tsk.


Simon E | 14 years ago

“The whole priority setting process is about identifying issues, either causing concern to residents or affecting their quality of life, dealing with them and making the neighbourhood a safer place to live.”

If they really wanted to improve quality of life and make the neighbourhood safer they would:
- campaign for and help enforce 20mph speed limits.
- give leaflets to parents on how dangerous cars can be for others.
- offer Bikeability training and encourage alternative ways to get to school.
- tell them how much better life is when car use is reduced: pollution & noise, health as well as how much more people enjoy the act of getting from A to B.

They won't do these things. It's much easier to blame the victims, yet again, as the car is sacred.

nigel_s | 14 years ago

If people want to be serious about reducing road danger then perhaps they should tackle the cause of the problem, not the symptom.

jova54 | 14 years ago

Sounds like some serious buck passing going on in Norfolk.

Still a rubbish waste of time if there is no law to enforce. Just another excuse for schools not to promote cycling as a healthy activity if the staff have to manage the clothing their children wear when there is no obligation.

I agree that the lighting issue is a major one but as previous comments have said, the greatest risk to cyclists is the idiot driver who thinks he/she owns all the road.

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