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14th Nov, 2019

Kenilworth parents win road safety measures and create 'school cycle bus' backed by Olympian Sir Chris Hoy

Les Reid 11th Oct, 2019 Updated: 11th Oct, 2019

CAMPAIGNING Kenilworth parents have won road safety measures on a busy main route between Warwickshire and Solihull borough – and created a ‘school cycle bus’ backed by Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.

We reported in February families and headteachers were lobbying politicians for traffic calming measures to tackle dangers in Clinton Lane and Beehive Hill, to protect children at Priors Field and St Augustine’s primary schools and three nurseries.

The residential roads on the town’s outskirts towards Burton Green, Balsall Common and Birmingham have become rat-runs for often speeding commuters and heavy goods vehicles, data shows.

Warwickshire County Council has now confirmed measures including speed-activated flashing signs for over 20mph during school drop-off and pick-ups, and 30mph at other times.

A ‘chicane’ on Beehive Hill will narrow the road to slow traffic. They’ll be more school signs, parking changes and some pavement renovation.

The campaign has been led by mum-of-three Dr Morag Jarvis, of Clinton Lane, who said the detailed plans represented a “great success”.

She has also become the first Warwickshire Safer School Champion.

Pedal-powered parents from St Augustine’s School in Hollis Lane have also created ‘Warwickshire’s first school cycle bus’.

Lead cyclists pick up children along the way and the group cycles to school together. The concept has already been successfully adopted in London, Oxford, Glasgow and Galway in Ireland.

Twenty children and their parents from St Augustine’s School joined the inaugural ride today (Friday, October 11), alongside Kenilworth town councillors Andrew Milton, Rob Barry, John Dearing and Alix Dearing.

It is hoped parents at other county schools will follow suit.

The idea came from parents and trained ride leaders Adam and Aurélie Tranter, who run a cycling-focused communications agency.

They started by cycling their five-year-old twin boys to school using an electric cargo bike.

They say 81 per cent of children at St. Augustine’s are driven to school according to the last School Travel Census, while nationally just two per cent of children cycle to school, many citing a lack of safe cycling infrastructure and traffic.

Many of the group ride the HOY brand of children’s bikes on the cycle bus and the Olympic cyclist is passionate about getting more children cycling to school.

Sir Chris said: “Cycling to school is an amazing way for children to keep fit and be focused in the classroom. There’s no better way to travel to school and it’s great to see children from St Augustine’s School in Kenilworth showing others what is possible.

“I remember cycling to school as a lad and without my childhood love of cycling, I’d not have achieved the success I did on the track. It’s essential that we give our children the opportunity to cycle or walk to school and not lose sight of the benefits it brings everybody.”

Adam said: “Kenilworth is a town that, on the face of it, supports cycling. We have the men’s Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour visiting us and the size of the town makes it perfect for short cycling journeys.

“Planning the route has been very difficult and has taken a lot of time and consideration. Kenilworth’s cycle network is patchy, at best, and many needless barriers stop people considering cycling for their everyday journeys.

“Take the ‘No Cycling’ byelaws in Abbey Fields, we can see from the Greenway and other areas that shared usage between pedestrians and cyclists is totally possible with a bit of will from all sides.”

Adam and Aurélie Tranter say they will be campaigning to Warwick District Council, which manages Abbey Fields, to reconsider its feasibility study in 2016, which they say showed three options to facilitate cycling.

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