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So today I received the below letter from my sons' school, needless to say I am in a state of total outrage. Any suggestions to how I might best respond? I'm thinking that although imediately satisfying, a drunken rant may not be the most appropriate course of action.

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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Raleigh [1667 posts] 2 years ago
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What's wrong with that? Seems legit.

It's pretty obvious what the headline is:

"Boy, 10, dies cycling to school [with no helmet]"

Will more kids die from being obese than from cycling related incidents?

Up to you.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't see the issue with it.
Encouragement to get more kids cycling/be active.

Chances are for the majority of the instances of how kids come off bikes (ignoring getting hit by a car) it's actually within the range of what a helmet is effective for.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks fairly reasonable to me but if they can't guarantee the security of the children's bikes / scooters then it makes me wonder how secure it really is...

Prob just a silly insurance insistent clause though.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar wrote:

Looks fairly reasonable to me but if they can't guarantee the security of the children's bikes / scooters then it makes me wonder how secure it really is...

Prob just a silly insurance insistent clause though.

I don't know anyone who claims they can.
The bike sheds my employer provides are within a secure site (swipe card access to get into the site past a security office) cctv looking into them and the routes to them, and they still have a sign up saying they hold no responsibility or guarantee security.

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paulrbarnard [182 posts] 2 years ago
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Its very good of them to accept full liability for kids cycling to school with a helmet on. I don't think that is what they are really saying but by explicitly denying liability for those without helmets they are in effect accepting it for those that do. Given the actual statistics for helmets that is a very stupid move on their part. It might be worth mentioning that to them.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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glynr36 wrote:
northstar wrote:

Looks fairly reasonable to me but if they can't guarantee the security of the children's bikes / scooters then it makes me wonder how secure it really is...

Prob just a silly insurance insistent clause though.

I don't know anyone who claims they can.
The bike sheds my employer provides are within a secure site (swipe card access to get into the site past a security office) cctv looking into them and the routes to them, and they still have a sign up saying they hold no responsibility or guarantee security.

That's the problem, with all that security I'd expect my bike to be there at the end of the day (any bike stolen from something like that would probably be a inside job).

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Schools are in a very difficult position nowadays - what would have, in the past, been seen as an unfortunate accident and put down as a life experience can now be used as an excuse to sue.
Using a legal term , schools have to cover their arses because they can (and do) get sued by greedy morons for any old nonsense.
Schools are screwed by insurance companies just like the rest of us (money that could be better spent on resources) and whilst in principle i find this letter very annoying one has to look at it from the schools point of view.
Its little consolation but at least they are giving you the option for your kid to come without a helmet - some schools wont let kids come at all.
I suppose you could make a moral stand and kick off about it - i would have a good old moan to one or more of the governors about it if i were you.

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Sara_H [58 posts] 2 years ago
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My childs school used to send out a letter every term stating that only children who wore helmets were alowed to ride to school. Why on earth the headteacher thought she had the right to dictate this, I'm not sure.
I eventually got into quite a debate with the headteacher about this, gave lots links to the relevant research etc.
Headteacher never admitted she was wrong, but did stop sending the letter.

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Stumps [3413 posts] 2 years ago
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Nothing wrong with it in my opinion.

The school my kids go to do exactly the same. Its a simple choice, let your kid cycle and enjoy the exercise and fresh air whilst wearing a helmet or pack them up in your car and cause complete mayhem whilst you drop them off at the gates because so many other parents do the same there's no room to park.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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...

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giff77 [1258 posts] 2 years ago
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I would have thought that 'absolving' the school of liability if your child was involved in an accident whilst in the school grounds would be questionable practice. It's like giving the school permission to injure your child while they are on school property. That's why organisations have public liability insurance. You can be guaranteed that it ceases to offer cover beyond the school gates. Will they be asking families that walk to sign a similar disclosure? Somehow I think not. The solution is to ban cycling within the gates of the school.

When I cycled to primary school, we had to push our bikes from the gates to the bike shed. To dare to be caught on the saddle let alone bring your bike into the playground was to incur the wrath of the headmaster.

As far as not guaranteeing the integrity of a secure area for the bikes surely that is a failure in duty of care especially as they have made provision for the safekeeping of children's property.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

... needless to say I am in a state of total outrage.

Maybe I am being a bit thick but having read the letter, I still haven't a clue why you are in a state of 'total outrage'.

Any chance of an explanation?

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Leviathan [2259 posts] 2 years ago
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It is one thing for adults to consent to and choose wearing a helmet or not, but children don't give informed consent. And parents have never had it all their own way in child raising matters, society has always interfered and quite right too. So Sportive rules apply, play by the rules or don't play at all, but feel free to write them a strongly worded letter.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I see that as pretty reasonable, they are just covering their arses. From my knowledge of parents and the way they view schools and teachers I fully support them in every last little bit of being ridiculous sticklers to the rules. Far too many parents see school as somewhere they can abandon their little shitty horror spawn for as long as possible so they dont have to do any real parenting and also as a cozy way of finding someone to blame and hold responsible for their complete failure in being able to raise a child properly.

I'm not for one second suggesting you are one of those parents by the way.

With my kids I'd insist on wearing a helmet, and I'm vehemently anti helment compulsion for adults. I appreciate that could be seen as hypocritical.

I would let the malevolent side of me create an extra box that states whilst I take resposibility for my child riding to school without a helmet, I would hold the school, and the head personally, 100% to blame for any incident caused by them allowing cars to exceed speed limits, parking in restricted areas and innapropriately sized vehicles such as 4x4s and other such twatwagons from Bramhall etc.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Yup, if you're outraged at that then perhaps you need to reassess your outrage parameters.

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jmaccelari [249 posts] 2 years ago
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No problem. I personally think children should be encouraged to wear helmets and for them to indemnify themselves if the child doesn't is reasonable. Especially if you want them to wear a helmet, they then go home without it, injure themselves and then you blame the school. Blame the letter on the parents, not the school.

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jmaccelari [249 posts] 2 years ago
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No problem. I personally think children should be encouraged to wear helmets and for them to indemnify themselves if the child doesn't is reasonable. Especially if you want them to wear a helmet, they then go home without it, injure themselves and then you blame the school. Blame the letter on the parents, not the school.

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msw [113 posts] 2 years ago
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Yes, that comma after "Parents" is a disgrace.

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goggy [153 posts] 2 years ago
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My wife is a schoolteacher, and her thoughts are that the school is following government advice. If the government view changes, then so will the school's.

So petition the government to change their stance  1

Regarding the security of the bike - my company has the same policy. I have a proper lock. Schools run on a very tight budget and simply don't have the cash to keep replacing bicycles.

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700c [974 posts] 2 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
Quote:

... needless to say I am in a state of total outrage.

Maybe I am being a bit thick but having read the letter, I still haven't a clue why you are in a state of 'total outrage'.

Any chance of an explanation?

Me neither!

If it really is just about the school holding the view that helmets contribute to safety, (they are not even mandating their use), then as another poster said, maybe you need to recalibrate your outrage parameters!

I can only imagine the state of anger you're in, when watching pro cyclists being forced to wear helmets, or walking into actual shops where they're sold. Shelves full of them! Arrgh!

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southseabythesea [150 posts] 2 years ago
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kids should wear a helmet, when they're old enough to make their own decision then they can decide for themselves. Don't be a chump!

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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No they "shouldn't" if the parent decides not too then that "should" be accepted and respected...

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OldRidgeback [2657 posts] 2 years ago
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msw wrote:

Yes, that comma after "Parents" is a disgrace.

And the letter being addressed to - Parent/Carer - is also outrageous. T hese words are not proper nouns as any fule kno.

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Jimmy Ray Will [514 posts] 2 years ago
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Interesting... I get it. I can imagine with the amount of lobbying from the school for parents not to drive their kids in unless they have to... i.e. find alternative methods of transport, such as... the bicycle, there is an argument that the school is 'forcing' kids to cycle.

Its not a long legal journey to then say its the schools fault when kids have accidents travelling to school by bike.

I'm not sure this will really cover their backsides from such claims, but I guess its covering their duty of care sufficiently for their insurers to pay out in such cases.

I like the comment about the school inadvertently accepting liability for kids wearing helmets, I'd like to explore that further.

As for helmet use, lets not cover this ground again. Interestingly I'm all but anti-helmet, however if I'm taking my 6 year old for a cycle, I'll ask her to helmet up. Seems sensible, however, if I am honest, she has never banged her head once from plenty of falls...

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Stumps [3413 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm no medical expert but i thought i would have a quick read up on a childs skull. Whilst the chld is young (upto 18 months) the sutures in the skull are still open and soft - obviously not the age we are looking at here.

As the child grows so does the skull but its not until they are older that the sutures fuse together - usually once the brain has stopped growing but they do get smaller as the child grows.

So taking this into account the child still has soft spots in the skull when they are at an age to start cycling. Personally speaking i would get my child to wear a helmet at this stage and both my kids still do.

If it has come from Govt then they are not alone. In the USA the centre for disease control and prevention makes the same point and the brain injury assoc of america validates the points made regarding children and brain injuries.

I found this on the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, who i think might know a thing or two about head injuries and its a straight cut and paste from their website.

"Every year, more than 500,000 people visit emergency rooms in the United States with bicycle-related injuries. Of those, nearly 85,000 were head injuries in 2009. There are about 600 deaths a year, with two-thirds being attributed to TBI. It is estimated that up to 85 percent of head injuries can be prevented through proper usage of The Snell Memorial Foundation, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)-approved helmets. It is essential that the helmet fit properly so that it doesn't fall off while the user is riding or if he or she takes a fall".

The following facts/statistics are from Safe Kids USA:
■Head injury is the leading cause of wheeled sports-related death and the most important determinant of permanent disability after a crash.
■Without proper protection, a fall of as little as two feet can result in a skull fracture or other TBI.
■Approximately 50 percent of U.S. children between 5- and 14-years-old own a helmet, and only 25 percent report always wearing it while bicycling.
■Universal use of bicycle helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent 45,000 head injuries.
■Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and severe brain injury by 88 percent.
■Eight states and the District of Columbia require children to wear a helmet while participating in wheeled sports such as riding on scooters, in-line skates or skateboards.

Feel free to poo poo what i've typed but i've added it just to make people aware of whats said in other countries and NOT to start a helmet debate.

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blablablacksheep20 [41 posts] 2 years ago
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I can't see why anyone would get upset with this?

The school is doing the right thing in this regard.
They cannot force kids to wear helmets as there isn't a law in which they can use to do so.

By making a big deal of this the school will just turn around and say no cycling at all to school because of people like yourself making a big deal out of it.

Sorry to be harsh but I deal with schools and parents are at times the most annoying/ troublesome people in the world when it comes to thinking they know best.

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parksey [343 posts] 2 years ago
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Am with the overwhelming majority here in just not seeing this as something to get outraged about, let alone needlessly so...

Even if you're vehemently in the anti-helmet camp as far as adults are concerned, it's surely just common sense amongst kids? I see it exactly the same way as this:

glynr36 wrote:

Chances are for the majority of the instances of how kids come off bikes (ignoring getting hit by a car) it's actually within the range of what a helmet is effective for.

In regard to the bit about not taking liability for the bike itself, I don't see how this is any different to leaving a bike locked up elsewhere, or your car in the office/supermarket car park? It'll presumably be insured should it get nicked anyway.

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graham_f [196 posts] 2 years ago
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It actually seems pretty sensible to me. I'm quite surprised that it's not just a blanket "all children cycling to school must wear helmets". That's what I had when I started cycling to secondary school almost 25 years ago.

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jellysticks [95 posts] 2 years ago
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Yep...I've also failed to locate any potential source of outrage in that. It seems entirely reasonable and simply the school trying to ensure children's safety.

What am I missing?

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