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A new cycling policy for schools in Richmond-upon-Thames

We’ve been working with Pedalup on a proposed template cycling policy for schools in the borough. We’ve tried hard to write something which is clear, helpful and correct. We’ve shared it with the council and with some schools, but we also recognise there are other things going on right now, so will be looking at it again later in the spring. 

If you have any comments, please share them.

A Proposed Template for Schools in Richmond to use for their ‘Cycling to School’ Policy 

(Insert School’s Name) Responsibilities

Our school supports active travel choices. We recognise that cycling to school has many health benefits for our community and that students arrive at school more alert and energised, ready to start their day of learning. Choosing to cycle also reduces congestion and air pollution around our school. We want to make it easy for students, staff and all visitors to cycle to our school. 

  • We will regularly consult with our school community to identify any barriers to cycling and to seek to remove or reduce these barriers where possible.
  • We will provide secure bike storage. Cyclists will need to bring their own locks and be responsible for locking their bikes up safely
  • We will provide somewhere for cyclists to change out of any cycling/wet weather gear.   
  • Arriving by bike you should come to [entrance]
  • You can park your bike [list of locations] 

Cyclists’ Responsibilities

  • Make sure your bike is roadworthy. 
  • The core legal requirements for your bike are that your brakes work, and that if riding between sunset and sunrise you must have working lights, a white front light and a red rear light fixed to your bike. Additionally you need a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors on the front and back of each pedal.
  • Cyclists, like all road users, should cycle responsibly and within the law. Make sure that you understand and follow rules of the road for both your safety and the safety of others. Cycle training can help with this.

Parents of Students who cycle –  Responsibilities

You can help your children to cycle to school in a number of ways:

  • Make sure your child’s bike is in good condition and has working lights for low light situations.
  • Make sure your child’s bike is the right size and the saddle is the correct height.
  • Consider refresher cycle training for your child.
  • Ride with your children. We recommend cycling behind your child. You will be better placed to see whether they are making decisions independently. 
  • Consider getting refresher training for yourself. You will be then better placed to support your child whilst you cycle together..
  • Support your children on their journey – help them plan safer cycling routes.
  • Ask your local elected officials for safe places for your children to cycle.

Parents/Staff/Visitors that Drive to School – Responsibilities

(Insert School’s name) recognises that not everyone will choose or is able to cycle to school. If you choose to drive to school, we would ask that you keep everyone’s journey safe by:

Giving cyclists space – Being close passed by a vehicle is intimidating and dangerous. You should give cyclists the same amount of room when overtaking as you would a vehicle – as a rule of thumb at least 1.5m. If there isn’t room, please wait until you can overtake safely. Imagine that is your child on the bike in front of you.  

Understand the need for cyclists to ride mid-lane – Cyclists may often cycle in the middle of their lane for their own safety – for visibility, to avoid potholes, car doors opening, or to deter other road users from overtaking where it is not safe to do so. Please be patient and only overtake when it is enough room to do so safely

Slow down – Keep your speed low around the school. 

Car doors – Please make sure that you and your passengers do not open car doors unless you have parked and you check the road for cyclists first

Parking – Please park away from school to avoid congestion and be considerate of our neighbours

Making the School Journey Safer for All – Routes for Action

As a school and parent body, there are other things we can do. We recognise not all our children have ideal routes to be able to cycle to school. We can ask councillors for crossing points, safe space for cycling, and other changes which will make our environment better. 

Supporting Documents

Barriers to Cycling to School

  • Perception that roads are too dangerous and/or busy – 1-1 or family training 
  • Lack of cycling infrastructure – ask local councillors to support safe cycling initiatives 
  • Driver behaviour – ask local councillors for driver education initiatives
  • Weather – water-proof clothing/layers for the cold. Somewhere to dry/store wet clothes in school?
  • Clothing – school skirts can be an issue. Somewhere for students to change in school? 
  • Lack of skills and/ or confidence – training. 
  • Perception that cycling would take to long or is too far – practise routes/training
  • Bike security – secure storage in schools
  • Don’t own a  bike – bike rental schemes/second-hand shops
  • Nowhere to keep a bike at home  – ask local councillors for on-road bike-hangers

Tips for cycling safely and confidently: 

Visibility

  • Start your journey where you can see and be seen
  • Use lights for when there is low light
  • Consider using reflective clothing if you are cycling at night
  • Correct road position will ensure that you are visible to other road users. Avoid cycling close to the kerb, and do not weave in and out of gaps between parked cars

Riding Position

  • You should avoid cycling close to the kerb to avoid debris, potholes and to improve your visibility to other road users.
  • You may need to cycle in the middle of your lane (primary position) if you need to avoid a hazard or if the road is narrow and it would not be safe for cars to overtake you safely. 
  • You may ride two abreast, and it is often safer to do so, but remain considerate of other road users and switch to single file if you consider it safe to allow drivers to overtake you. 
  • When passing parked cars, cycle more than a car door’s width away to avoid getting hit by someone opening a car door without looking first.

Communication

  • Make your intentions clear by looking behind in plenty of time before changing position on the road. 
  • Get eye-contact with other road users, particularly at junctions, to ensure that they have seen you.
  • If turning at a junction, look behind you and signal if it is safe for you to do so.

Observation/Anticipation

  • Look behind your right shoulder regularly so that you know what’s going on behind you.
  • Continually assess what’s going on around you so that can anticipate any hazards – potholes, pedestrians about to cross without looking, other road users turning in front of you. 
  • Always cycle covering your brakes so that you can apply them quickly if necessary.

Large Vehicles

  • Avoid undertaking (passing on the inside/passenger side) of large vehicles, especially at junctions even if you are on a cycle lane. Larger vehicles like lorries and buses can have blind spots and may not be able to see you. Stay behind large vehicles until they have passed.
  • Remember that if a large lorry wants to turn left, it will often have to swing to the right first. Do not be tempted to cycle into this gap. Hang back until the vehicle has turned.

Training

  • Cycle training can really improve your on-road confidence. Richmond Council provides free Bikeability training for all Year 6 students at borough schools. They also provide free dedicated 1 to 1 cycle training sessions for everyone that lives, works or goes to school in the borough. This is an excellent opportunity to refresh existing on-road skills, practise a route to school or work and become empowered to cycle on busier roads.
  • If you missed out on Bikeability training or would like to do a Level 3 cycling course, Pedal Up offers holiday and weekend courses as well as 1 to 1 training. 

Useful links:

TFL online cycle training:

https://cycle-skillsonline.tfl.gov.uk/#registerIndividualModal

Paul Robison’s  – CEO of Bikeability short clip on commuting – (still works for school commute)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3PAzwpqvkg&ab_channel=BBCNews

Richmond Road Safety Education – https://www.richmond.gov.uk/services/roads_and_transport/road_safety

London Cycling Campaign – https://www.lcc.org.uk/pages/contact-us

Richmond Cycling Campaign – https://richmondcycling.org.uk 

Cycling UK – https://www.cyclinguk.org/

Pedal Up Cycle Training – www.pedalup.co.uk

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