Primary school claims health and safety in pupil bike ban, plans to replace bike shed with staff parking

Parents angry over 'eco-school' decision

by John Stevenson   September 18, 2013  

Kids riding to school (CC licenced by EdinburghCycleChic)

Parents of children at a primary school in Wales have criticised the school for banning pupils from riding to school and planning to remove the school bike shed to make room for increased staff parking.

Ceri Jeffries, who has three ten-year-olds at the school in Risca, Newport, told the South Wales Argus that she was shocked by the decision of the “eco-friendly” school.

Mrs Jeffries said her children normally rode in a group with four other children, but were now forbidden from taking their bikes on to the school grounds. That means they would have to chain them up outside the school.

She said: “The school is an eco-friendly school but has decided that children are no longer allowed to cycle to and from school, even though children have been doing this for years, including myself as a child.”

According to Mrs Jeffries, teachers had given safety concerns as the reason for the ban, but she said the number of cars near the school was at least as big a problem.

Mrs Jeffries said: “As you can imagine this has upset quite a lot of children and their parents. Childhood obesity is on the rise and promoting healthy eating and exercise is a must. What better way to promote this by encouraging children to cycle to school and by doing so reducing the amount of cars, making it safer for children and the environment?”

Mrs Jeffries said she had been told the school’s bike shed was to be removed to make way for extra staff parking.

That’s also the understanding of Rachel Guy, who has two children at the school, who said she had spoken to head teacher Jayne Arthur about the policy.

Mrs Guy said: “I said to Mrs Arthur, "It’s absolutely ridiculous." She said it’s a health and safety issue.

“My kids rode yesterday, to make a stand really. I’m hoping they haven’t been told off.”

Head teacher Jayne Arthur said: “We are currently working alongside the council’s Road Safety and Health and Safety teams to review the situation and complete risk assessment and traffic survey of the school site. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our pupils remains our utmost priority, and we are seeking to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

31 user comments

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This “eco-friendly” should be encouraging the staff to cycle and not drive.

djcritchley's picture

posted by djcritchley [154 posts]
18th September 2013 - 13:36

6 Likes

^^ WHS - More bike sheds, less staff parking.

posted by Pondo [19 posts]
18th September 2013 - 13:37

6 Likes

Risca. Eco friendly? If you've ever been there you'll realise how ridiculous that sounds.

posted by bigbluebike [16 posts]
18th September 2013 - 13:41

7 Likes

They seem to have forgotten the first part of Health & Safety - HEALTH. More CO emitting cars in the school, less healthy cycle to school pupils. Where's the logic?

posted by FlatBattery [21 posts]
18th September 2013 - 13:52

6 Likes

Rolling On The Floor head teacher !?! Laughing what a twat, winner of the prize knobhead award for this month.... welldone Applause

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [279 posts]
18th September 2013 - 13:56

6 Likes

So they needed more parking space, decided that the bike shed is the easiest thing to get rid off and used Health and Safety as an excuse to get rid of it. Can they instead put in systems and support to encourage the teachers to cycle to school? That would free up parking space...

posted by esayers [23 posts]
18th September 2013 - 14:47

6 Likes

Here's the school website http://learn.caerphilly.org.uk/riscaprimary/
Might be worth dropping them an email or two pointing out the counter-balance to their policy...

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [189 posts]
18th September 2013 - 14:57

7 Likes

mad_scot_rider wrote:
Love the weasel words from the HT at the end of the article

Exactly, prime piece of management-speak, Orwell would recognise this variety of newspeak.

felixcat's picture

posted by felixcat [308 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:11

7 Likes

So, it's not safe to cycle to school because of all the cars, so they make it easier for people to take cars there? WTF?! And these people are educating children? My daughter is 5 and she could see the flaw in their logic.

posted by graham_f [126 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:52

5 Likes

I especially like the commenter on the newspaper website is a cyclist themselves (apparently) but is shocked and horrified that none of the children in the photo are wearing hi-viz or helmets!

posted by graham_f [126 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:57

5 Likes

The school's right. Look at google streetview. It's not safe to cycle there.

They just have the solution ever so slightly wrong. Like dealing with obesity by buying bigger trousers.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
18th September 2013 - 16:21

5 Likes

PJ McNally wrote:
The school's right. Look at google streetview. It's not safe to cycle there.

They just have the solution ever so slightly wrong. Like dealing with obesity by buying bigger trousers.

How can you tell from Google Streetview? Does it flag idiot drivers etc?
Puts me in mind of comments people make when I tell them I cycle to work; comments like "Ooh! That's a dangerous road!" I've been riding bikes for about forty years now and never been attacked/knocked down by a road!! Wink

posted by pwake [315 posts]
18th September 2013 - 16:34

6 Likes

pwake wrote:

How can you tell from Google Streetview? Does it flag idiot drivers etc?

No, just take a peek at the cycling infrastructure.

(hint - there isn't any).

I'm not saying i wouldn't ride there. (I would - and i've ridden much worse). But for primary age kids to do the same?

I can't be the only bike obsessed parent, terrified of the time when my child can't ride on my rack any more. When they can ride a bike independently.

Am I to let them ride to school, with zero infrastructure, knowing that one "idiot driver" could take them from me?

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
18th September 2013 - 17:06

5 Likes

PJ McNally wrote:
pwake wrote:

How can you tell from Google Streetview? Does it flag idiot drivers etc?

No, just take a peek at the cycling infrastructure.

(hint - there isn't any).

I'm not saying i wouldn't ride there. (I would - and i've ridden much worse). But for primary age kids to do the same?

I can't be the only bike obsessed parent, terrified of the time when my child can't ride on my rack any more. When they can ride a bike independently.

Am I to let them ride to school, with zero infrastructure, knowing that one "idiot driver" could take them from me?

I agree with Pwake. 1) You can't tell 2) Traffic is a consideration, and you can't tell that from Googlemaps. You sound like the sort of cotton swaddled ninny who is swayed by your fear of risk, rather than calculating risk. Either that, or you really are trolling.

It is down to the parents if they want their children to ride bikes, and it should be agreed by the PTA if the bike sheds can be removed for the benefit of the teachers. Basically, what the head teacher says is nonsense, and an abuse of her powers.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1215 posts]
18th September 2013 - 17:23

5 Likes

it's April 1st ... isn't it ... no ... you have got to be
kidding me ....

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [791 posts]
18th September 2013 - 17:41

9 Likes

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
You sound like the sort of cotton swaddled ninny who is swayed by your fear of risk, rather than calculating risk. Either that, or you really are trolling.

'You sound like the sort' of person who can't even comprehend or consider other peoples' opinions beyond your own... Can't you put forward your thoughts without accusing another post of trolling, just because you disagree with it?

posted by fatty [74 posts]
18th September 2013 - 20:13

5 Likes

Incredible. Parents should cause a stink with the governing body.

posted by paulfg42 [380 posts]
18th September 2013 - 23:03

6 Likes

Yep, bang to rights, trolling, that's what i'm up to.

(if "trolling" covers "suggesting that what works for me on a road bike, clipped in, doing 30kph on the flat, might not be ideal for little kids, including mine", that is). Wink

Or maybe mentioning the "I" word - infrastructure - is enough to get people's bib knickers in a twist?

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
19th September 2013 - 8:06

6 Likes

It is not for the school to mandate if it is safe for pupils to use their bikes outside of school. The extent and limitation of their legal responsibility ends the moment that they pass through the gates.
it seems that the issue here is that the road is "unsafe" for cycling, so surely the sensible option is to instead of banning the bike, or disincentivise them, is to make it safer.
"Won't somebody please think of the children" Wink

If there is no dedicated infrastructre, then drop the limit to 20 by the school, after all with darting children (even those not on bikes) it would improve things. Extend the no-stopping zone to aid visibility.

posted by Wolfshade [113 posts]
19th September 2013 - 8:26

3 Likes

Great way to celebrate the tour of Britain visiting nearby Caerphilly!

posted by a.jumper [734 posts]
19th September 2013 - 8:32

3 Likes

Nobody seems to have commented on the fact that the bloke in the photo is using his phone while cycling, which is a pretty stupid thing to do. Yes, he is on a cyclepath but note that he has a plastic bag dangling from his bars. Ban him from cycling I say.

And before I'm deluged with responses, there is an element of irony in the above comment. Just how much irony you'll have to decide for yourself.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2330 posts]
19th September 2013 - 8:43

5 Likes

jesus, what a bunch of fucktards.

posted by Phaedrus [14 posts]
19th September 2013 - 9:02

4 Likes

My version of Streetview has the school on a residential street, with parking restrictions, traffic calming and a 20mph zone. And most primary-age kids will be on the pavement anyway.

posted by David Portland [89 posts]
19th September 2013 - 9:17

2 Likes

The school cannot ban travel by bike as far as the school gates so I hope that the parents will simply continue to ride with their kids and just find alternative places to lock up (the headteacher's car might be a good place to start looking; just sling a chain around the spokes on their wheels).

Even without being as deliberatly confrontational as I might be there must be gates or lamposts that could be employed as locking points.

posted by Matt eaton [516 posts]
19th September 2013 - 9:38

5 Likes

FFS!
As a complete opposite, On Tuesday I had a meeting with the headteacher at my son's primary school about promoting cycling to school, and cycling as an after-school activity. I've got her full support, and apparently the Board of Governer's too.

So its not all doom and gloom...

posted by ir_bandito [62 posts]
19th September 2013 - 9:54

3 Likes

Phaedrus wrote:
jesus, what a bunch of fucktards.

Thats not the collective noun for fucktards Wink

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [604 posts]
19th September 2013 - 10:11

3 Likes

Wolfshade wrote:

it seems that the issue here is that the road is "unsafe" for cycling, so surely the sensible option is to instead of banning the bike, or disincentivise them, is to make it safer.

From my experience the reason why roads outside schools are unsafe is the parents!

Ban driving kids to school and you will find the road is perfectly safe!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1430 posts]
19th September 2013 - 13:47

3 Likes

Quote:
From my experience the reason why roads outside schools are unsafe is the parents!

Ban driving kids to school and you will find the road is perfectly safe!


Fully agree. Parents have to park right next to the gate, and ignore any parking restrictions or highway code.

I live in the area and if I had kids I'd be uneasy letting them cycle to that school on the road unsupervised, and of course they shouldn't be cycling on the pavement.

posted by anewman [5 posts]
19th September 2013 - 18:45

5 Likes

+1 to what mrmo says IME.

But we're battling powerful vested interests, the sacred bull.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2088 posts]
19th September 2013 - 19:19

4 Likes

I fancy donating some extra bike parking infrastructure to the school and see what happens. Should be interesting.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [119 posts]
20th September 2013 - 19:53

4 Likes