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

Parents angry over 'eco-school' decision...

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.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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