Boris Johnson asks Met boss to relax rules following the case of the Schonrock kids

London Mayor Boris Johnson has asked the Met police to relax their stance on children cycling on pavements.

According to the Evening Standard, the Mayor spoke to Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson following the widely reported case of the Schonrock children from Dulwich, whose parents allow them to cycle to school unaccompanied.

Oliver and Gillian Schonrock were given a warning by their children’s headmaster for allowing their eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son to cycle the mile and a half to their school.

But Boris called the parents ‘heroes’ and now Sir Paul has given what’s been described as an ‘immediate sympathetic response’ to the Mayor’s suggestion.

Officers have no legal power to stop children under 10 from cycling on the pavement as they are below the age of criminality. But police say that when they face such a situation in future, they will take a more relaxed view — provided the children are not being a nuisance.

Commander Mark Gore, head of Safer Transport Command, said, “This is not a carte-blanche instruction for all cyclists, but recognises that learning to ride on busy roads in London can be very daunting for young children.

“By taking a common-sense approach we can provide them with an opportunity to gain experience and build confidence in a safer environment.”

Mr Schonrock, a 40-year-old manager of an e-commerce firm, told the Standard, “This is great news for any parents who want to expose their children carefully to some of the risks of the real world.”

There are some telling comments beneath the Standard article. A reader named Peter, who describes himself as living in ‘Bewildered Britain’, says, “The fact that they are on a cycle is being a nuisance enough! No respect learnt as a child and the same when they take to the road properly and eventually death from riding like they own the road and expect everyone to give way to them.”

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc). 


italiafirenze [70 posts] 7 years ago

"By taking a common-sense approach"

Not nearly enough of this done nowadays.

Of course children should be allowed to ride on the pavement until they are old enough to face the road.

Now all we need is specific legislation of motorists who kill or seriously injure cyclists to be introduced. We need to stop the culture of drivers thinking of cyclists as a nuisance and start thinking of them as a a serious hazard. If a driver knows he will be heavily fined, banned from driving or imprisoned for colliding with a cyclist maybe then they will pay as much attention to bikes as they do speed cameras.

Jon Burrage [997 posts] 7 years ago

I was under the impression that if you ride a bike with 16" wheels or smaller (bmx etc) then you are actually allowed to ride on the pavement as the bike is considered a 'toy' in a legal sense. Also, I thought that under the age of 12 individuals were already legally allowed to ride on the pavement when accompanied by an adult (on foot).

This was mentioned as part of the bikeability instructor training.

Simon E [3181 posts] 7 years ago

The country's roads are daunting for anyone, including experienced adult cyclists. How the **** do police think 11 year olds are going to survive HGVs, 4x4s and white vans whooshing past a few inches from their elbows?

My son is eight and there is NO WAY he's going on any roads apart from the quietest cul-de-sacs and residential streets with speed bumps. He is taught to ride considerately on the pavement and to understand that you can't ever expect drivers to see you. I suspect the roads won't change by the time he's 11 or 12 unless a lot more drivers treat cyclists better than they do now.

The idiotic 'Peter' quoted above demonstrates the pea-sized brain of some people. Obviously beyond help. Cyclists are only asking to be respected as fellow road users, why is that so difficult? One obvious answer is a role swap - me in the 4x4 with a heavy right foot and a mobile in hand, his child pedalling so selfishly in the path of my deadly speed machine.

Sandam [1 post] 7 years ago

 7 i thought the legal age for being able to ride a bicycle was 11 anyway so i agree whole heartedly with Mr Johnson. I live on a very busy inner London road where ADULT cyclists are always using the foot path and they dont appear to care about pedestrians, in fact cyclists seem to think padestrians are a nuisance. I have NEVER seen any cyclist stopped for riding on a pavement, going through a red light or through a zebra crossing when everything else has stopped (although i have seen news reports of it). I have 4 children who all use bicycles but want to know when adult cyclists will start having laws against them for their treatment of padestrians instead of always talking about the poor cyclists. Cyclists cannot be identified as they ride away from an accident, if they want space, let them pay some kind of fee and have a way of identifying each of them. Pedestrians are at the bottom of this food chain not cyclists.

OldRidgeback [2847 posts] 7 years ago

Peter's use of grammar tells you a lot about his intelligence.