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Derby school threatens to ban pupils from cycling

Head teacher at Lees Brook Community School says efforts to educate students over road safety aren't working...

The head teacher of a school in Derby has threatened to ban pupils from riding their bikes in the school grounds.

The Derby Telegraph reports that Zoe House, head teacher at Lees Brook Community School in Chaddesden, wrote to parents following an unspecified number of incidents “involving students travelling to and from school on bikes.”

She said that several students had been left with cuts and bruises, with the school responding by holding assemblies about road safety, staff patrolling the street outside, and meeting local police to take advice.

In her letter, Mrs House said: “Unfortunately, these steps have not had the impact we hoped for.

"We have received an increased number of phone calls from the local community, as well as parents, contacting the school about students riding their bikes inappropriately and dangerously.”

Some individual students have already been banned from riding bicycles on school premises, however Mrs House, who urged parents to speak to their children about “the importance of road safety while cycling,” said that it could be extended to all pupils,

“Despite regular reminders, the majority of students are not wearing cycle helmets,” she wrote.

"Most have them, but they stay in bags or on the handlebars of their bikes.

"Students have been banned from riding their bikes in the school grounds but some continue to ignore this rule.

“The safety and welfare of all of our students is of paramount importance to us.

“If we do not see a rapid reduction in the number of incidents, we will be forced to ban all students from bringing their bikes onto the school grounds.”

The Derby Telegraph reported that Mrs House had not disclosed how many of the school’s students ride bikes to get there.

Recent months have seen a number of schools around the country seek to ban children from cycling or impose conditions on them such as being required to wear a cycle helmet and high-visibility clothing.

> Cycling UK urges: “Stop making cycling to school difficult”

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at the charity Cycling UK, told “Judging by media reports, this ban follows reports regarding the behaviour of a few young people.

“It’s interesting that the head teacher has not disclosed how many pupils currently cycle to school, but presumably there are those who do so sensibly and safely.

“Banning them from bringing their bikes into the school grounds is effectively a ban on cycling to school, unless they’re happy to lock their bikes to railings outside the school, and all because of concerns, whether justified or not, regarding the behaviour of some of their peers."

He added: “A fine message to send to young people: we’ll stop you all from doing something which is healthy, and which schools are obliged to promote through a school travel plan, because the adults can’t be bothered to deal with issues raised about individuals – and because we can.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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