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Cycling UK urges: “Stop making cycling to school difficult”

Charitty responds after several schools across England impose rules on students wanting to get there by bike

Cycling UK is urging schools not to make it difficult to get there by bike, with examples including require them to wear helmets and high-visibility clothing.

 

In recent weeks on road.cc we have reported on several schools, each with academy status, that have introduced rules for students who travel there by bike.

> Academy school makes cycle helmets compulsory and says it will suspend pupils who ride on the pavement

But the charity says that not only are some schools infringing on issues as that should be the responsibility of parents, they are also discouraging pupils from active travel at a time when child obesity is an increasing problem.

It highlighted the example of David McKeegan, whose son attends Finham Park academy in Coventry, who said: “As a responsible parent, I did my research and decided to allow my son to ride without a helmet.

“Now that Finham has overruled my decision by making helmets compulsory, my son no longer cycles to school.”

He added: “I just wish they had done their research first. There are more effective ways to improve road safety.”

The charity is worried that regulations issued by schools to those wanting to get there by bike could seriously impact the number who choose to so, with a consequent detrimental effect on children’s health, and it has published a guide showing schools how to become more cycle-friendly.

It recently held a poll on Twitter, in which 87 per cent of the 931 respondents said schools should do more to make the roads around them safer. 11 per cent called for easier availability of cycle training and just 2 per cent said helmets and hi-vis should be compulsory

Cycling UK says schools need to more to tackle the danger faced by students who choose to get there on foot or by bike, including lobbying councils to address issues such as speeding, parking and road design close to schools.

Duncan Dollimore, its head of campaigns and advocacy, said: “Active pupils are frequently healthier and more attentive students, which is why Cycling UK wants schools to stop making cycling to school difficult, and make active journeys easier and more attractive.

“Worryingly, we’re seeing head teachers trespassing on parental responsibilities.

“Our recent Twitter survey showed people felt safer local roads should be the greatest priority for schools.”

He added: “Head teachers have a powerful voice in their community which they should use to encourage their local authorities to adopt 20mph speed limits and traffic calming measures on the streets their pupils are most likely to cycle on.”

As we reported at the weekend, the headmaster of a private school in Cambridge has said that pupils who do not wear helmets while cycling face detention.

> School brings in detentions for children who don't wear a cycle helmet

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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