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School says it wants to promote safe cycling “so that our students can be active lifelong riders”

Students attending the Beacon School in Banstead were this week informed that they will need number plates on their bikes if they wish to cycle to school.

A letter dated November 13 states that from Monday December 11, all students of the academy school for 11-18 year olds, “will require a cycling permit in the form of a number plate.”

The permit is obtained and issued after students and parents/carers sign a cycling agreement. “The number plate must be attached to the student’s bicycle underneath the seat so that all students can be identified cycling to and from school.”

Students are asked to follow the Highway Code; to take responsibility for the roadworthiness of their bikes; to behave “in a manner which shows them and the school in the best possible light”; and to use bike lights and hi-vis clothing “as appropriate”.

Parents are also advised: “Please note that should a student not ride safely to school or wear a helmet, the school will inform parents and may refuse the student permission to cycle to school in the future. Should a student continue to cycle to school once permission has been revoked the school will lock the bicycle until a parent/carer is available to collect the bicycle.”

The letter begins by listing some of the benefits of cycling to school.

  • Improving health through physical activity
  • Establishing positive active travel behaviour
  • Promoting independence and improving safety awareness
  • Reducing congestion, noise and pollution in the community
  • Reducing environmental impact of the journey to school

Headteacher Keith Batchelor, who described himself as “a very slow recreational cyclist,” told road.cc:

“I am extremely positive about the role of cycling and the health and wellbeing benefits of cycling. I have seen number plate systems be highly effective in a number of schools which support students to cycle safely to school.

“The system will allow us to target cycle training and safety awareness sessions to our students, to reward good and safe cycling by giving members of the community a way to give us feedback about how our students are using the roads locally. As well as helping us to discuss with students any occasions where their cycling may not meet our expectations.

“Alongside this we are also expecting students to wear helmets, be visible, use lights and ride bikes that are road safe.

“We live in a beautiful area for cycling but also the roads are extremely busy, with the school being next to the A217 which links the M25 with south London. Our refined policy is there to promote safe cycling so that our students can be active lifelong riders.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

138 comments

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oldstrath [895 posts] 5 days ago
37 likes

Your policy is designed to teach these kids that cyclists should know their place, subservient to the great god Car. Maybe Halfords will sponsor your plates.

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LarryDavidJr [372 posts] 5 days ago
25 likes

You'd be better targeting the parents and their already-registered two ton death machines.

Be interesting to see how  well that number plate protects them from Tarquins Mummy rolling over them in a 4x4.

Besides which, it's not up to him if a child rides to school or not, nor the manner in which he/she does it.

Bet the "feedback from the community" will be a riot too.

Keith Batchelor.  You are an idiot.

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PeakBoy [5 posts] 5 days ago
26 likes

Given the school’s interest in enforcement outside of their demise I look forward to all speeding and parking incidents by staff or parents being reported to the relevant authorities.

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DrG82 [179 posts] 5 days ago
23 likes

Because fitting number plates to cars suddenly solved all problems with drivers breaking the law.
And this idiot is responsible for educating the next generation! Just kill me now.

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BehindTheBikesheds [863 posts] 5 days ago
23 likes

Yet more unlawful bs, tentacles that reach beyond their authority but ignore the actions of those posing the harm and then say it's all part of safety. Then make threats if you don't do their bidding.
If all the parents ignore this and all send their kids to school sans helmet and 'permit' then the school will fail.
This crap especially helmets is slowly creeping in and no-one is doing a fucking thing to stop it!
Makes my bloid boil. To think my sons own school used to have over 100 bike spaces in a locked and covered facility and since they used the space to increase the building size and push the bikes away from the building, no longer enclosed or locked area and 20 spaces tops cycling has massively reduced.

I hope the parents tell the school to fuck off!

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zippypablo [8 posts] 5 days ago
35 likes

If having a number plate on my bikes made cycling safe (like some invisible shield?) then I'd fit them today. However, the biggest risk to my safety is usually something that already has a number plate fitted.

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Goldfever4 [378 posts] 5 days ago
7 likes

Utter bollocks

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don simon [1430 posts] 5 days ago
9 likes

I'm sure they'd appreciate some alternative views from the wider community.

https://twitter.com/TheBeaconSch

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SteveAustin [64 posts] 5 days ago
1 like

good idea

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kil0ran [554 posts] 5 days ago
14 likes

Hang on, won't a number plate obscure the usual position for a reflector/light/saddlebag? Don't see many kids riding with 100mm of seatpost do you...

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wellsprop [443 posts] 5 days ago
11 likes

wtf...

I know schools have a care of duty to students (that starts from as soon as they leave their house to go to school), but this isn't caring, it's controlling.

Next up, students need a permit to walk to school.

As others have said, can't wait until the school sends out letters to parents telling them to stick to the speed limit etc.

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BehindTheBikesheds [863 posts] 5 days ago
5 likes

Oh and a school nearby Gyln school which has ties to the Beacon school head already had this license olate and helmet rule since at least April.
So looks like since the new head came in he's spreading his vileness and going beyond his lawful powers.
And local authorities do fuck all to stop it and yet also do fuck all to prevent KSIs by not restricting motorists actions.
Grrrr

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Velovoyeur [47 posts] 5 days ago
23 likes

If my kids went to this school I would have to inform the headteacher that it was none of their business how they get to school. I appreciate the advice about safe cycling but, as parent, the decision rests with me. This is a great example of a school believing it has total authoritarian control over kids. To quote Pink Floyd " hey teacher, leave those kids alone". 

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dafyddp [442 posts] 5 days ago
4 likes

Will students who gradually develop diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related illnessness similarly be tagged, I wonder? Piss-boiled my stuff. I think I’d be sending my kids to school on a different old bike every day just to piss them off.

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davel [1873 posts] 5 days ago
20 likes

So for the interests of balance, I'd be interested to know what prompted this, and whether they're as preachy with car drivers.

I'd take a punt that this is to counter a few kids pulling wheelies that some people seem to think is heralding the Apocalypse, and they've done fuck-all to counter the very real threat of kids being squashed by twats trying to park their Chelsea tractors in the school.

But is anyone close enough to the school to actually know, before I join the Twitterwar?

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hawkinspeter [1036 posts] 5 days ago
9 likes

What the actual fuck?

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jaslafferty [5 posts] 5 days ago
7 likes

Is this one of these schools that wash their hands of bullying outside of the school because it's "not on their property"?

His rules are entirely unenforceable.

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burtthebike [1188 posts] 5 days ago
8 likes

I wonder what kind of 4x4 tank Headteacher Keith Batchelor drives?  And does he have a rule for all pupils, whatever method of transport, to wear a helmet?  After all, pedestrians have the same risk per mile travelled as cyclists, and there are many more head injuries to car occupants than cyclists.

No?  Effing hypocrite.

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burtthebike [1188 posts] 5 days ago
3 likes
don simon wrote:

I'm sure they'd appreciate some alternative views from the wider community.

https://twitter.com/TheBeaconSch

The first thing you see on that site is anti-bullying!  Probably isn't aimed at head teachers though.

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don simon [1430 posts] 5 days ago
1 like
burtthebike wrote:
don simon wrote:

I'm sure they'd appreciate some alternative views from the wider community.

https://twitter.com/TheBeaconSch

The first thing you see on that site is anti-bullying!  Probably isn't aimed at head teachers though.

I've tweeted them about it.

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jollygoodvelo [1677 posts] 5 days ago
7 likes

" I have seen number plate systems be highly effective in a number of schools"

I call BS.  Anyone know of another example, anywhere?

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nniff [205 posts] 5 days ago
3 likes

When I was at school, every bike had a number on it - painted on the mudguard, even if it was only a tiny mudguard, because those were compulsory too.  Nearly everyone had a bike.  There were giant bike sheds with numbered racks.  Lost bikes were easily reunited with their owners and, after a fashion, miscreants could be tracked down and dealt with - but they could also be traced by virtue of their faces.  

This was in the late 70's.

Progress - what will they think of next?

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Posh74 [21 posts] 5 days ago
0 likes

How can they enforce something that isn't a legal requirement? I'd tell them where to shove the number plate!!! I could understand if they were promoting the wearing of helmets as that's a safety matter

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ClubSmed [420 posts] 5 days ago
2 likes

To my mind, there are some things that I think could be good about this, and some things that are not quite right.

Possible Advantages:
At the School my daughter attends, there is a problem with abandoned bikes taking up bike shed space, a licence would enable traceability
Could stop anti-social behaviour immediately outside of school and assist in the reporting of bullies?
Depending on how robust and secured the plates are, could deter bike thieves
Could be used to highlight cycling proficiency issues and address them quickly by incorporating it into training to make better cyclists of the future
If the same rules are going to be applied for the cars that drive into the school grounds to drop pupils off then the accountability for better road users is to be applauded.

Potential Pitfalls:
The school has no authority to dictate how the pupils get to school, as long as their uniform is covered and their bikes locked outside the school grounds they have no control.
Why are pupils subjected to this but no mentions of teachers?
Barriers to active travel are more likely to prevent it rather than enable it
I doubt that the same is going to be leveled at the car commuters dropping pupils off

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Mark B [3 posts] 5 days ago
2 likes
jollygoodvelo wrote:

" I have seen number plate systems be highly effective in a number of schools"

I call BS.  Anyone know of another example, anywhere?

 

Yes, another school in Surrey, the Howard of Effingham, has made the kids use number plates for about thirty years. That's probably what they were thinking of, though if it's that effective I'm not sure why it took them so long to copy it.

 

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peted76 [766 posts] 5 days ago
9 likes

This is truly horrid, one step forward for the the UK to become a cycling nation by actually getting kids to cycle to school and two steps back by regulation from the luddites driving cars.

Whoever came up with this is UTTER SCUM in my book. They probably cited Charlie Alliston in the case brought forward to do this.

 

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davel [1873 posts] 5 days ago
3 likes
nniff wrote:

When I was at school, every bike had a number on it - painted on the mudguard, even if it was only a tiny mudguard, because those were compulsory too.  Nearly everyone had a bike.  There were giant bike sheds with numbered racks.  Lost bikes were easily reunited with their owners and, after a fashion, miscreants could be tracked down and dealt with - but they could also be traced by virtue of their faces.  

This was in the late 70's.

Progress - what will they think of next?

In the 70s, the car was still probably seen as the future of transport, but they weren't as ubiquitous as today. We didn't have decades of knowledge of global warming, congestion, understanding of pollution killing 40,000 people each year, and perspective regarding alternative approaches like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Every class had its 'fat kid'; now a third of all kids are obese.

As such, the bike could have been viewed as something to control.

But today, with all of the understanding we have since the 70s, gained while Keith Batchelor has been alive, imposing something like this is more sinister and spectacularly missing the bigger picture. If Batchelor was my kids' headmaster I'd be discussing his priorities and misunderstanding of facts with him and the governors.

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OldRidgeback [2813 posts] 5 days ago
11 likes

Well I know the A217 and it a rat route. But the head would do a lot better to take parents driving their kids to school to task. On my commute to work I pass a very successful grammar school that's in the top 20 in the UK. It's of note how many of the high achieving parents of these kids are happy to park their cars on the double yellow lines outside the school, often pulling up onto the pavements as well. And it's of note how many of them are in high end 4x4s. It is a cliche but the parents in BMWs, Audis and expensive 4x4s do seem to drive with far less consideration for others or for the fact that they're breaking traffic laws. Considering that they're outside the school, you'd think they'd have the sense to put their phones away too. I do wonder if schools should consider enforcing rules about drop-off points for those parents driving their offspring to school. Certainly on my commute, preventing parents from blocking the narrow road when they park up on double yellow lines would improve traffic flow and probably safety as well.

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ibike [166 posts] 5 days ago
8 likes

There's a good article from Cycling UK on how to deal with such anti-cycling policies.

https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/campaigns-guide/how-to-encourage-cycling-schools-anti-cycling-policies

"Schools do not have any legal right to ban cycling to and from their premises.

However, schools can discourage cycling through letters to parents or anti-cycling statements at assemblies and in policies and newsletters etc.. Schools can also ban bicycles from school grounds or refuse to supply cycle parking, which in many cases creates a de facto ban."

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dodgy [234 posts] 5 days ago
2 likes
burtthebike wrote:

I wonder what kind of 4x4 tank Headteacher Keith Batchelor drives?  And does he have a rule for all pupils, whatever method of transport, to wear a helmet?  After all, pedestrians have the same risk per mile travelled as cyclists, and there are many more head injuries to car occupants than cyclists.

No?  Effing hypocrite.

 

He's a professional cyclist, rides for Sky. Maybe.

https://twitter.com/batchelor1666

 

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