I AM writing to draw attention of the power of schools to make rules about wearing of hi vis for pupils who are cycling.

Section 89 (5) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 confirmed schools’ power to make rules about behaviour on the way to and from school.

Because hi vis vests for cycling are now standard school uniform and stocked in school uniform shops, it is time for local heads to make this part of the uniform code and part of the school’s travel plan.

In fact, I would go so far as to say, that if a school is encouraging pupils to cycle to school and the uniform is dark, then if a pupil has an accident, the school is partly responsible for encouraging them to cycle in a dark clothing.

The big problem is that even when parents insist on a child leaving school wearing hi vis, fear of bullying will make them take it off as soon as they are out of sight.

Yes, we all want more cycling to keep children fit and reduce congestion and pollution, but not at the expense of their safety.

As a society we have a duty to protect children. As people in a position of trust, the school community of governors and teachers have a legal duty of care to keep pupils safe when on the school grounds. When they are not on the school grounds, but travelling to and from school the duty is less clear.

I would urge everyone associated with schools, whether parents or pupils to deal with the current threat to children’s safety of bullying over wearing of hi vis.

Schools have anti bullying policies, and they have power to make children wear hi vis for cycling to school. I hope they will not hesitate to use the latter power given the state of the roads locally.

A school out in the middle of no where with very little traffic and excellent road lighting everywhere, might not be reasonable within the legislation to make a compulsory hi vis for cycling rule.

This is not the case in the BCP conurbation.

Cycling without hi vis is dangerous for cyclists, for pedestrians and for car drivers who may be injured when having to make a sudden move through not seeing a cyclist sooner.

Wearing hi vis means cyclists are complying with the Highway Code, not legally enforceable on its own.

However, if there is an accident, the cyclist, and therefore the parents, may be held liable for any injuries caused.

Dangerous cycling is also an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 ss28 and 29.

Whether someone has broken the Highway Code is a factor in deciding whether they have committed this offence. s29 makes it an offence to be riding without due consideration for other users of the road.

Being less visible by wearing dark school uniform without hi vis when cycling is inconsiderate to other road users.

Public opinion would be easier to harness in favour of cycling locally if it were easier to see cyclists.

This in turn would allow more funding to go into cycle lanes and other safety measures supporting cycling, which I am in favour of whole heartedly.


Britannia Road, Poole