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Safety concerns cited, but teachers and staff can still cycle in

A school in Ipswich has removed bike racks to discourage children from cycling to school because of safety concerns, while leaving similar facilities in place for teachers and other staff.

Deputy head teacher Martin Jarvis told the Evening Star that the decision to remove the racks and advise children against cycling there had been made at a governors’ meeting and resulted from the school’s setting close to a busy road.

Mr Jarvis told the newspaper: “We would love to encourage children to cycle to school but given our location in Woodbridge Road, between 8.30am and 9am on a weekday it's not a safe environment for a young cyclist,” adding that the situation would be reassessed once year five and six pupils had completed Bikeability training.

The paper quoted a spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council, who said that around 80% of pupils at St Helen’s walked to school, the highest proportion of any school in Suffolk, adding that children throughout the county were encouraged to travel to school using sustainable methods, if possible.

Meanwhile, John Matthissen from Suffolk Green Party condemned the decision, saying: “It absolutely runs against the grain of where we need to be going over the next decade or two. Where can you park your bike if you can't leave it securely on school grounds? It's effectively stopping it.

“We know that we have to get more children - more people - cycling and walking and this is going in the wrong direction.”

He added that if children were being discouraged from cycling to school because of nearby traffic safety issues, taking measures to improve safety should be the focus of attention, rather than stopping pupils from riding their bikes.

“We really don't want this to develop into a trend,” he added. “The council and schools have got to be big enough and bold enough to entertain that slight risk - the problem is that we have an insurance mentality that pervades areas of life and it's gone too far.”

Last month, we reported on a school in Wednesbury, West Midlands, that had introduced a similar ban due to safety concerns.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

12 comments

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 6 years ago
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Yet another case of health and safety stupidity.

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jobysp [143 posts] 6 years ago
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Would be interesting to know how many of these children have been injured by said motorists between 8:30am and 9:00am whilst on their bikes.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 6 years ago
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i used to live in ipswich. woodbridge road is hardly the north circular.

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MikeyF [3 posts] 6 years ago
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So now kids who used to cycle will either be taken by car (increasing the number of cars on the road) or they'll walk (and face additional danger from the increased number of cars on the road). Nice one.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 6 years ago
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Why not ban parents or teachers who live less than 2 miles away from going to school by car (unless disabled). That should cut the traffic density and make it safe enough for kids to cycle.

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jobysp [143 posts] 6 years ago
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Actually - why not just ban kids from going to school? Seems like the next logical step as they may be bullied or walk into a door, or even worse - get hit on by a teacher.

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therevokid [948 posts] 6 years ago
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so the next logical step then would be to ban schools
thereby removing the traffic caused by teachers and
other associated staff going to work - even less traffic
on the roads ... result  1

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jobysp [143 posts] 6 years ago
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I think we are on to a winner here.  13

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Simon E [2723 posts] 6 years ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:

Yet another case of health and safety stupidity.

My thoughts too. The tyranny of the car over the lives of normal human beings continues  2

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Roadie [3 posts] 5 years ago
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My stupid meter just went into the red. What are these people thinking? Decisions at "governors' meeting" should never venture outside the armchair bureaucracy that is par for the course.

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timlennon [210 posts] 5 years ago
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It's unfair to blame the general principle of health and safety - this is rank stupidity. Since when are school governors (and I'm a governor myself) suitable people to opine on road safety issues?

And if they're satisfied that the road is suitable for non-child cycle users, why is it not suitable for children? Why not spend that money on a Bike It course, or something like that?

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timlennon [210 posts] 5 years ago
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Ooh. Just seen what an old story this is: does anyone have any follow-up?