St Albans school imposes compulsory helmets rule and ban on pavement cycling for pupils

Sandringham School head, Alan Gray. Photo: FRASER WHIELDON

Sandringham School head, Alan Gray. Photo: FRASER WHIELDON - Credit: Archant

Students cycling to a St Albans secondary school have been warned they face exclusion if they ride on the pavements during rush hour.

The letter sent to David about students cycling. Picture: David Stacy

The letter sent to David about students cycling. Picture: David Stacy - Credit: Archant

Sandingham School has imposed the restrictions after receiving a barrage of complaints from pedestrians encountering fast-riding pupils on pathways.

Any student who fails to comply may be temporarily excluded. They must also wear helmets for safety or be banned from cycling to school.

Concerned father David Stacy, 52, who has three children at the school, was shocked to receive a letter about the new rules - and believes the “harsh” restrictions will discourage cycling, increase polluting school-run cars, and endanger lives.

“I am worried for a couple of reasons. Without wishing to be overdramatic, I am concerned there will be some tragic accident as a result of the children cycling on the road.”

David wrote to headteacher Alan Gray to object to the restrictions, and said: “A cyclist-motor vehicle conflict is significantly riskier than a cyclist-pedestrian one. And now, with fewer children cycling, there will be even more traffic on the road dealing with the resultant extra car journeys.

“Fewer, more dangerous cycling trips; more traffic; more pollution. This does not strike me as being a decision in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of the school’s pupils.”

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He highlights the number of cars blocking cycle paths around the school and thinks there will be complaints from commuters about the sudden increase of teenage riders on the road.

To tackle the problem David believes teenagers should be taught to be respectful to walkers, getting off or slowing down when passing by.

“Yes cycling on the pavement is breaking the letter of the law. Police however take a tolerant view where children cycle on the pavement for their own safety.”

Adding: “It is immensely harsh, particularly for children who just live too far away to walk to school.”

Headteacher Alan Gray highlighted that cycling on pathways is illegal and said he is working with Herts county council: “The welfare of our students is of paramount importance to us and by enforcing these rules more robustly, we are ensuring that all of our students who cycle to and from school do so in a way that is both safe for them and for other travellers.”