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Nottingham school bans pupils from cycling until they have passed safety test

Head teacher of Ellis Guilford School takes action in response to "extremely dangerous" cycling by some students...

A school in Nottingham has banned pupils from cycling until they have successfullly completed Bikeability training.

In a letter published on the website of Ellis Guilford school, head teacher Dr Sally Coulton said that the ban had been introduced in response to “a growing number of students cycling to and from school in an extremely dangerous way.”

Examples cited in the letter included “cycling on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic, cycling on the pavement, cycling in the centre of the road, carrying passengers on handlebars, performing stunts in front of cars and cycling across the A610 in front of moving traffic.”

She said that while warnings had been issued and some students had already been banned from taking their bikes to school, “there are many students who continue to ride recklessly and it is only a matter of time before we have a serious accident.”

Dr Coulton said that students who wish to cycle to school will now need to have completed a Bikeability course and to have been issued with a cycle permit.

She said: “We will require all students who want to cycle to have a helmet and a bike in good working order with lights for the darker mornings and evenings. We will secure the bike in the cycle sheds but these will not be open until 3.15pm to allow students on foot to leave the site before the cyclists.

“We can then monitor students to ensure that they are cycling safely and responsibly,” she added.

In the letter, Doctor Coulton said that the ban would take place with immediate effect.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns and advocacy at Cycling UK, told road.cc: “If concerns were raised about some children behaving irresponsibly whilst cycling to school it might have been sensible to flag this up with both pupils and parents, but no, the default response has been a ‘cycle ban with immediate effect’.

"Consultation and discussion, as some parents have called for, might have given Ellis Guilford a fighting chance of maintaining the recent increase in numbers cycling to school. Imposing bans, introducing permit requirements, and making the cycling children wait behind all their mates before they can leave is not going to encourage them to carry on riding to and from school.

“Sadly, Cycling UK is hearing of more and more educational establishments seemingly content to put up barriers to those cycling to school, knowing that it will take a determined parent to challenge this when their child is threatened with disciplinary sanctions and possibly exclusion.

"Rather than looking at the bigger picture and benefits to their pupils health, many schools have decided banning things is much simpler," he added.

In recent months we have reported on several schools that have introduced restrictions on pupils who want to ride there.

 

Those include a school in St Albans, Hertfordshire, that made it a requirement for students to wear cycle helmets when travelling to and from the site by bike, and a school in

> Academy school makes cycle helmets compulsory and says it will suspend pupils who ride on the pavement

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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