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Nottingham school bans pupils from cycling until they have passed safety test

Head teacher of Ellis Guilford School takes action in response to "extremely dangerous" cycling by some students...

A school in Nottingham has banned pupils from cycling until they have successfullly completed Bikeability training.

In a letter published on the website of Ellis Guilford school, head teacher Dr Sally Coulton said that the ban had been introduced in response to “a growing number of students cycling to and from school in an extremely dangerous way.”

Examples cited in the letter included “cycling on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic, cycling on the pavement, cycling in the centre of the road, carrying passengers on handlebars, performing stunts in front of cars and cycling across the A610 in front of moving traffic.”

She said that while warnings had been issued and some students had already been banned from taking their bikes to school, “there are many students who continue to ride recklessly and it is only a matter of time before we have a serious accident.”

Dr Coulton said that students who wish to cycle to school will now need to have completed a Bikeability course and to have been issued with a cycle permit.

She said: “We will require all students who want to cycle to have a helmet and a bike in good working order with lights for the darker mornings and evenings. We will secure the bike in the cycle sheds but these will not be open until 3.15pm to allow students on foot to leave the site before the cyclists.

“We can then monitor students to ensure that they are cycling safely and responsibly,” she added.

In the letter, Doctor Coulton said that the ban would take place with immediate effect.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns and advocacy at Cycling UK, told road.cc: “If concerns were raised about some children behaving irresponsibly whilst cycling to school it might have been sensible to flag this up with both pupils and parents, but no, the default response has been a ‘cycle ban with immediate effect’.

"Consultation and discussion, as some parents have called for, might have given Ellis Guilford a fighting chance of maintaining the recent increase in numbers cycling to school. Imposing bans, introducing permit requirements, and making the cycling children wait behind all their mates before they can leave is not going to encourage them to carry on riding to and from school.

“Sadly, Cycling UK is hearing of more and more educational establishments seemingly content to put up barriers to those cycling to school, knowing that it will take a determined parent to challenge this when their child is threatened with disciplinary sanctions and possibly exclusion.

"Rather than looking at the bigger picture and benefits to their pupils health, many schools have decided banning things is much simpler," he added.

In recent months we have reported on several schools that have introduced restrictions on pupils who want to ride there.

 

Those include a school in St Albans, Hertfordshire, that made it a requirement for students to wear cycle helmets when travelling to and from the site by bike, and a school in

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

Simon joined road.cc 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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41 comments

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Philh68 | 4 years ago
0 likes

The school is responsible once students enter the grounds, and are no longer responsible when students leave the school grounds. Dictating how students may travel to and from school is not their responsibility and is infringing on civil liberties. It’s a parental issue not the schools, stop interfering and stick to educating.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
3 likes

Why ban the pupils from cycling whilst waiting for bikeability? Why not ban parents from driving kids to school if they have ANY road traffic misdemeanour to their name and/or they haven't done their advanced driving test. Or are you not going to wnforce that seeing as we know who presents the by far greater harm so it's a totally logical and appropriate and should be done long before kids are being forced to go through an advanced cycling course.

Did this person come up with actual injuries caused to others by kids on bikes (that are above and beyond normal background incidents) and how did this compare to the parents driving or the kids leaving on foot? Typocal jack boot type who is utterly clueless.

And we know how bikeability indoctrinates kids into wearing noddy hats as you're not allowed to do it without thus yet another forcing of kids to wear something that puts them at more risk/increases victim blaming. The 'thinking' if you can call it that is illogical at best but best described as moronic and unlawfully overbearing ...natch.

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maviczap | 6 years ago
5 likes

Bike Ability I don't have a problem with kids being trained how to cycle properly and safely, but it won't stop them doing what they're doing, nor will Bike Ability stop them being knocked off by the hoards of parents driving their kids to school.

Perhaps Car Ability  and Pedestrian Ability need to be introduced?

Ironic that it's Nottingham, home of Raleigh Cycles, who've transported more kids to school than probably any other mode of transport.

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shay cycles | 6 years ago
3 likes

My school, also in Nottingham, tried to stop me cycling to school because I had not taken cycling proficieny.

They tried to stop pupils cycling through the "teachers' car park" thinking we should walk whilst they drove.

They didn't want to allow cycling as an option for games lessons because there was no teacher who would be able to ride with us.

They failed in all of these attepts of course. They were of course happy to claim some credit when the handful of young bike racers in the school won medals in ESCA events.

My college, also in Nottingham, tried to dictate where and how I should park my bike even though they provided no facilities. They didn't succeed.

 

I wonder if young people these days can rebel properly on such issues or if the rebellion only extends to a few wheelies and a bit of rowdy riding? I really hope that they do - I hope they ride in on one wheel with no helmets, hi-vis or permits and I hope they lock the bikes to the railings until the silly headteacher sees some sense.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 6 years ago
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This isn't such a bad idea. Bikeability is actually quite advanced and is much more than 'cycle proficiency' it is a complete  syllabus that teaches cyclists to ride responsibly and competently in an urban environment. It has similarities to motorbike training. Of course young people are young people and can be cavalier with their own, and other's safety, but Bikeability is a skill for life. If the school is prepared to grant syllabus time for a full Bikeability course for any pupil who wishes to ride to school than this should be supported. A Bikeability course is between 8-10 hours, so that is a lot of valuable training   time. 

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Velovoyeur | 6 years ago
1 like

Shock, horror.  Kids acting recklessly on the way to school and on the way home. What about running across the road between parked cars, frightening old people, throwing other pupils bags into gardens? Is the Dr going to self-legislate against these aswell?

But look on the bright side. If they leave school having achieved a Bikeability award at least they'll have a usable qualification as opposed to being taught how to achieve exam passes without understanding the subject to get good Ofsted grade for the school.

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peted76 | 6 years ago
2 likes

I've decided there's just no reasons for these actions to be appropriate. The idiots who've come to this decision are just ankles*

 

*lower than a cnut.

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ClubSmed | 6 years ago
6 likes

 

The bits in the letter that was sent home that really caught my attention were:

"We have seen twice the number of students bringing bikes to school this term compared to last term"

That is fantastic news, I would love to know how this was achieved!

"We also have a growing number of students cycling to and from school in an extremely dangerous way"

Funny how this is not quantified, unless the figure of students cycling in an "extremely dangerous way" is more than double what it was last term then it is actually going down in real terms.

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Canyon48 | 6 years ago
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This is bonkers.

There are loads of school kids who cycle tremendously badly and dangerously - I purposely won't cycle commute through Bristol between 3pm and 4pm partly because of this (but mostly because the school run mums in their Audis and Range Rovers don't seem to care about anyone else'safety on the road).

Banning children from cycling isn't the way forward, educating them is. One of the local sixth forms had a very good road safety lesson. They were taken onto the school field to do what they thought was a fun road safety activity when they got there, a woman pulled a cover off the wreck o a car and announced to the pupils that it was the car her son died in when he crashed in-part due to speeding. Pretty horrible way to learn, but I wish it had been done at my sixth form, a couple people I knew might have made it to the end of college/sixth form...

Too extreme for school children, but there must be some sort of way the teachers can engage with them and teach them about road safety. Mind you, the head teacher at my school didn't give a damn about road safety, seeing as he got caught driving drunk TWICE - he didn't get banned though!

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LastBoyScout | 6 years ago
1 like

It's a bit "damned if you do, damned if you don't", really - if there were to be a serious accident, no doubt some people would be asking why the school didn't "do more" to prevent it.

While I think the Bikeability scheme is a good idea, they're being rather heavy-handed overall with permits and locked gates.

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Vili Er | 6 years ago
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I’ve no issues with this whatsoever. We had to do our Cycling Proficiency test in the 70’s so we were safe to ride on the roads and so should all kids.

 

The current cycling trend for the young team is to smash about on Halfords 29ers on the pavement, into oncoming traffic (wheelie optional) or just generally causing mayhem in large groups. It’s not a Mail frenzy – it’s a simple fact. Fitness doesn’t come into it – it’s a cheap getaway vehicle for w@nkers with pitch shifting voices.

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davel replied to Vili Er | 6 years ago
4 likes
alan loves froome wrote:

The current cycling trend for the young team is to smash about on Halfords 29ers on the pavement, into oncoming traffic (wheelie optional) or just generally causing mayhem in large groups. It’s not a Mail frenzy – it’s a simple fact.

Jesus.

Victorian London telegrammed - it wants its moral panic back.

Do watch out for all the proper street mayhem while you're returning it, though.

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stenmeister | 6 years ago
0 likes

At least they have a bike shed. My town's secondary doesn't and although it has racks, they are barely used because no one wants to leave a bike out for 7 hours a day in Scotland.

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earth | 6 years ago
0 likes

They cannot ban people from riding bikes, not even to and from school.  All they can do is stop people leaving them on school grounds.  But if a pupil dies or is injured traveling to and from school then there would be questions raised.  Sounds like they are being responsible.

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Simon E replied to earth | 6 years ago
8 likes
earth wrote:

if a pupil dies or is injured traveling to and from school then there would be questions raised.  Sounds like they are being responsible.

No, it is not the school's responsibility. Their responsibility stops at the gate. They cannot enforce helmets, hi-viz or anything else. They should get on with teaching instead of preaching.

There have been few school heads highlighted in recent articles, here is Cycling UK's comment last month - http://road.cc/content/news/233754-cycling-uk-urges-%E2%80%9Cstop-making...

A Daily Hate Mail from 2014 article started with:

"Ellis Guilford School in Nottingham, catering for 1,350 children aged 11 to 16, is in an area where a staggering 40 per cent of teenagers are overweight."

So let's deter pupils from cycling to school. FFS!

And from the Nottingham Post in October 2017:

"Among the schools on the list which didn't perform as well were The Bulwell Academy, Ellis Guilford School and Farnborough Academy, who all had results well bellow the national average." (source)

They should have bigger fish to fry. And that's before you consider the cognitive benefits of active travel. <sigh>

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ClubSmed replied to Simon E | 6 years ago
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Simon E wrote:
earth wrote:

if a pupil dies or is injured traveling to and from school then there would be questions raised.  Sounds like they are being responsible.

No, it is not the school's responsibility. Their responsibility stops at the gate. They cannot enforce helmets, hi-viz or anything else. They should get on with teaching instead of preaching.

I thought that Schools were given powers and responsibility outside of the school gate for the journey to and from school under the "respect" agenda brought by Tony Blair when he was PM?

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brooksby replied to earth | 6 years ago
4 likes
earth wrote:

They cannot ban people from riding bikes, not even to and from school.  All they can do is stop people leaving them on school grounds.  But if a pupil dies or is injured traveling to and from school then there would be questions raised.  Sounds like they are being responsible.

Oh! Oh!  I've got a bridge I can sell you, if you're interested?

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RealHighlander | 6 years ago
1 like

While I agree that knowing how to be safe doesn't guarantee being safe, it would be good if more schools actively encouraged safe cycling.

When I was nine, our entire classed was asked to take our bikes to school to do cycling proficiency.

Half the playground was marked out with proper road markings so we could practice.

I've always assumed this was a standard part of education.

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HLaB replied to RealHighlander | 6 years ago
1 like
RealHighlander wrote:

While I agree that knowing how to be safe doesn't guarantee being safe, it would be good if more schools actively encouraged safe cycling.

When I was nine, our entire classed was asked to take our bikes to school to do cycling proficiency.

Half the playground was marked out with proper road markings so we could practice.

I've always assumed this was a standard part of education.

When I grew up it was teacher's strike and all ertracuricula stuff like bikeability was stopped  2

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brooksby | 6 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Dr Coulton said that students who wish to cycle to school will now need to have completed a Bikeability course and to have been issued with a cycle permit.

I don't like it, but at least saying they've got to do Bikeability is a little more positive than just saying they've got to have a helmet and hi-viz.  Practical skill and all that.  However, WTF is "a cycle permit"??  no

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ConcordeCX replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
5 likes
brooksby wrote:
Quote:

Dr Coulton said that students who wish to cycle to school will now need to have completed a Bikeability course and to have been issued with a cycle permit.

I don't like it, but at least saying they've got to do Bikeability is a little more positive than just saying they've got to have a helmet and hi-viz.  Practical skill and all that.  However, WTF is "a cycle permit"??  no

Bikeability should be compulsory in all schools anyway, but making cycling a condition of passing seems a little heavy-handed and unlikely to stop this bike-swarming (or whatever it’s called) that she seems to be describing.

 

I must admit I have a sneaking respect for the kids who do this, flaunting their rebellion and disrupting the motor traffic.

 

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davel replied to ConcordeCX | 6 years ago
7 likes
ConcordeCX wrote:

I must admit I have a sneaking respect for the kids who do this, flaunting their rebellion and disrupting the motor traffic.

Mine's not even sneaking.

In the vast majority of cases, I'd rather roads close to schools prioritised kids pulling wheelies over cars.

That kids pulling wheelies has created some sort of national issue just shows how far we've become slaves to The Mighty Car.

Kids pulling wheelies don't kill anyone.

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alansmurphy replied to davel | 6 years ago
3 likes
davel wrote:

 

Kids pulling wheelies don't kill anyone.

 

Rappers do!

 

Or is that rabbits!

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Simon E replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
4 likes
brooksby wrote:

WTF is "a cycle permit"??  no

A token piece of beaurocracy intended to put up a psychological barrier to cycling and make the school like it's doing something constructive when really it is merely covering its arse.

You don't need a permit to cycle to the shops so you shouldn't need one to go to school.

If the government and schools took Bikeability seriously then ALL kids with access to a bike would be expected to do at least level 2 in primary school. Mine did (about 6 years ago) but it was not taken seriously. which is short-sighted because drivers, teachers & everyone 'journalist' with a provocative column to write loves the chance to moan about poor cycling. The council bigwigs see it as a waste of money and teachers complain about the wasted time - time that the kids could be sat down indoors learning nothing from a tedious video that the teacher scabbed off Youtube.

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
4 likes

So no child on foot ever crosses the road badly? No child on foot ever has a race with their mates and takes a risk? None step off the pavement to pass another group? Push a mate?

 

I actually have no problem with the head teacher doing this, in order. If most pupils attend by foot then have a pedestrian test. I'd guess the second most common is by car and as the driving test isn't fit for purpose (proven by driving standards around schools) make the drivers sit a school drop off driving test. After that, bikes.

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John Smith | 6 years ago
1 like

In a way I can't blaim the head teacher for this. It does seem heavy handed, but the cause is the fact that these children and their parents view bikes as a toy rather than a form of transport. If, fdrom a young age, cycling was seen as a form of transport, and children were taught to cycle on the road by their parents, rather than just being given a bike for christmas and told to use it to get to school when their parents can no longer be arsed to drive, they would know how to behave on the road. But then most people dare not take their children out on the road for fear of the behavior of drivers. It's a self sustaining circle, and no amount of training will change the culture (and what self respecting teenager is going to take a cycling test, wear a high viz vest and a helmet).

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
5 likes

Is this crap even legal? Barring people from using a form of transport because of things that may happen OUTSIDE school?

 

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1961BikiE | 6 years ago
5 likes

Because we all know how well we all drive having passed a test! Ha!
And surely as bikes are faster than walking they should be let out first? Or maybe when and if any incidents happen between pedestrians and cyclists they'll be away from the school so who cares?

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kitsunegari | 6 years ago
6 likes
Quote:

 We will secure the bike in the cycle sheds but these will not be open until 3.15pm to allow students on foot to leave the site before the cyclists.

Why not keep students on foot back to allow the cyclists to leave first? 

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ClubSmed replied to kitsunegari | 6 years ago
3 likes
kitsunegari wrote:
Quote:

 We will secure the bike in the cycle sheds but these will not be open until 3.15pm to allow students on foot to leave the site before the cyclists.

Why not keep students on foot back to allow the cyclists to leave first? 

This would make more sense as the cyclists will be faster so will catch up with the pedestrians and result in the same issue (if there is one) just further away from school. Letting the cylists leave first would create more effective separation and actually encourage cycling (maybe that's the issue).

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