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School Cycle Provisions

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by fossyant, 22 Apr 2008.

  1. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    Our kids school has, commendably, decided to install lockable & covered cycle stands.

    Great idea, but a couple of major flaws…

    The facility isn’t yet in place, and won’t be for a few weeks. The school has decided the kids can cycle/scoot in and leave their bikes outside next to a classroom this week.

    Now few issues – some of the kids aren’t big enough to be allowed to cycle in on their own, but see other kids with bikes so want to. As you all know peer pressure means that many of the kids are bringing scooters in, even though they have been dropped off locally by car – because the Head has allowed then to play on their scooters at lunch.

    My son want’s to cycle in, but has forgotten that we also need to get my 4 year old daughter into school at the same time. Other issue, there is not one single quiet road on the way to the school – it’s surrounded by some busy and heavily congested roads.

    Oh and there has been no ‘cycle training’ at the school in years, nor any proposed with the new government scheme.

    We are, unfortunately, one of those families who park down the road, to drop the kids off, as my wife has to get to her part time job 10 miles away. The compromise has been that she drops the kids off, they then scoot down the lane to school, then in the afternoon my wife walks to school and the kids scoot home.

    We don’t feel that my son, of 7, is yet old enough to cycle the couple of miles to school along heavily congested roads – it’s not him we don’t trust, it’s the motorists.

    This is all on top of the fact that there is still a Paedo doing the rounds trying to pick up kids going to and from school – the fella hasn’t been caught yet, despite regular abduction attempts…. And he’s targeting all ages up to mid teens….. Hence not wanting a 4 and 7 year old make their own way to school !

    I can see it all turning to chaos, it’s a great idea, let down by road infrastructure and lack of any cycle awareness training.

    Anyone got any solutions ?
     
  2. tdr1nka

    tdr1nka Taking the biscuit

    A trail gator or tagalong for your 7 y/o and a child seat for the 4 y/o?

    I take Ms. tdr1nka to school along a section of the A2 that is either a race track or at a standstill in the mornings, thankfully it is pretty much gridlocked for the return journey and we have a clear run of bus lane too.
    But it is a major road transport route and a hive of impatient drivers.

    Have you looked into side roads etc. that could possibly relieve you of riding in the motorscrum? I'd even advocate riding on the pavement if need be.
    It's a tricky one fossyant, more especially if there are abduction attempts going on.

    Are your kids at the same school?
     
  3. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    Could you arrange some Bikeability training separately?

    There's a list of contacts here.
     
  4. Maz

    Maz Guru

    We've got the same problem (roads etc, not the sicko). Bike shelter was put up about a year ago, but the road infrastructure, close proximity of other schools and very high volume of traffic make it impossible for junior school kids to negotiate the roads. On top of all that, kids just aint spacially aware/road savvy at that age to ride on roads, imho.
    One fella I've seen has a tagalong for his kid. Other kids cycle on the path while parents walk alongside. That's about it. Suits some folk but not others.
     
  5. ChrisKH

    ChrisKH Shorts Adjustment Expert

    Location:
    Essex
    Yes, I have the same problem. My son would like to (he's eight) but the roads are just too busy and her can't go there on his own. I'm speaking to the school about Bikeability as it would seem they pay for several parents to be trained up to teach the children en mass. Can't see it happening meself as the head is very much anti-cycling and berated some poor chap who cycled across the playground to park his bike in the bike stands (three in total, all uncovered).
     
  6. OP
    OP
    fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    I'm already in work before the school run - my wife starts at 9.30 - so it's kids drop off, then the 10 mile dash. Both kids are at the same school.

    Don't think my wife would be too keen on a tag along and a seat (daughter too big now) - she likes the occasional pootle, but that's it, and she's not confident on the roads.

    As folk have said, it's the kids that are cycling along the paths - I don't have a problem with that. We have a local rail line that cuts through the area, and of course limits the number of roads that pass over it - both main roads.

    I'd be happy in a year or two to let my son cycle along the pavement, but he's not had training yet, only the advice I've given.

    Ah well - it's just the 'internal' politics at home with one son keen to do it, but logistically it's not easy.
     
  7. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    My kids cycle to school along the path - and the youngest has done since the age of 4, but our school is vaguely pro-cycling (I'm on the Safe Routes to School team). If the path is very busy I occasionally tell him to drop down onto the road but he's on a 16" bike so I feel he is too low to be in the motorists view really. Also the car drivers around our school don't seem to have a problem with using the path or doing strange manovers just to get "little Thomas" dropped off as close as possible to their seat in their classroom. I think all the car drivers would prefer that the kids would be cycling on the path ... as it is I slow them down (parked up on one side, and not wide enough to pass me (some do!)... and somehow I always run out of energy on that last 200 m to the school and go nice and slow.

    Could the younger child use the scooter at the same time as the older child cycles, as long as he understands he is only allowed to cycle if he is willing to go at the pace of the younger child? I assume that if he is used to stopping at the junctions on route ... if that is the case I would say the thing he needs to be most aware of, is of cars reversing out of driveways, and learning to be polite and give way to pedestrians on the path.

    The bikes in school will need to be cordoned off to prevent other children playing with them during school time, and far from the boundary - we have had a couple of incidents of yobs jumping over the 6 ft fence to get to our bike shed and see if they can take any bikes.

    I don't know what age I would let either of these two do it on their own.. my eldest went home from school on her own from year 5, but the next one down currently in year 6 doesn't look before crossing the road so I still won't let her go on her own. And the youngest - well he's 7 now and it won't be in the next year anyway but he wouldn't want to go on his own.
     
  8. Mrs Mickle has just had a swish new bike shed installed at her school in Filton, when she asked the whole school yesterday to put their hands up if they wanted to ride to school about 80% did! School of 250, ten bike spaces. Ooops.
     
  9. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    Also ask them what size racks they are putting in - we didn't think about the fact it would be mainly kids bikes so the Sheffield stands could of been smaller - as it is often the distance between the wheels hit the bottom of the toast rack bits.

    And we haven't got any where to lock up scooters so they use the bike shed and generally manage to take up 2 spaces by lying them down.
     
  10. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    And there's the rub, isn't it?

    The bike user group where I work at the moment is trying to sort out stuff for Bike to Work Day. Estates have raised the question of what happens if we are successful, and everyone needs a parking space for their bike, wants to have a shower following the ride etc, not unreasonably, because facilities are fairly limited.

    Sorry for the thread hijack. Back to the point, I think Sumerdays' ideas sound pretty good - I used to take my nippers on weekend and evening rides, and that assuaged the desire for taking the bikes to school somewhat...