Cycle training in schools and big hair

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Philip Benstead
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Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Philip Benstead »

How does the UK become inclusive regarding cycling in schools when the requirement to wear helmets is impossible when girls have big hair eg

https://www.google.com/search?newwindow ... =687&dpr=1
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
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Jdsk
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Jdsk »

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pjclinch
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by pjclinch »

Jdsk wrote: 4 May 2024, 9:06am Who have you already asked for advice?

How about:

Cycle Sprog:
https://www.cyclesprog.co.uk/helmets/af ... s-helmets/

Black Girls Do Bike:
https://www.blackgirlsdobike.org/chapters
https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackgirlsdobikelondon/
That gives one a range of coping mechanisms but doesn't really answer the question. If trainees with certain hairstyles/hair types have to jump through more hoops to do Bikeability than those without then it is not as inclusive as it should be.

Suggested strategies also look rather like a box-ticking exercise of "just get it on and it'll be fine!". One of the few things that isn't at all contentious regarding helmets is that if they're going to work properly they need to be correctly fitted, and it's at least arguable that some of the strategies suggested do not amount to "correctly fitted".
There's been an increasing awareness in recent years of how many products are designed not for anyone but for a default assumption who tends to be a white man, and this may be one of them. Cycling enthusiasts in countries that are big on helmets tend to be demographically dominated by white men, and they also tend to have relatively uninteresting hair...

Moving on from hair to turbans, British Cycling's Go Ride clubs have a mandatory helmet requirement, but with religious and medical exemptions allowed, specifically noting Sikh riders wearing turbans being allowed. Should a turbanned Sikh rider show up at one of my sessions I would have to do a risk assessment and based on the outcome I'd give a yae or nae. I asked BC why I can't do such a risk assessment on any other rider, since we've established that cycling without a helmet is not necessarily too dangerous or there wouldn't be such a loophole for Sikhs? No answer beyond I can't was forthcoming.

Back to hair, my sister taught at a London primary school with a significant Nigerian demographic and lots of the girls had elaborate hairstyles from their cultural backgrounds that were important to them. They didn't work with helmets and were given the choice of change their hairstyle or don't do Bikeability. My impression was the cycling tended to be second choice, and that's within a primary school where there is significantly less image consciousness than at secondary schools. If we drum in to children and their carers the idea that you can only cycle "properly" in a helmet then when presented with an ultimatum of wear a helmet or stop cycling as a teenager the cycling will tend to fall by the wayside. Force even more hoop jumping, including making life particularly awkward with a hair type and style that defines self image to a significant degree, and it will just turn people off.

So back to the original question, and we leave it to the child's main carers rather than assume the delivery organisation (most typically a council) knows best. I note The Association of Bikeability Schemes are keen to show a mixture of styles on their facebook page
Image
though they could improve matters a lot by getting some girls in to their title picture!
Tucked away in the gallery is this one which is a better mix of kids, but would actually work better for diversity if at least one had a lid on... Image

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Audax67
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Audax67 »

So they can either squash the hairdo or walk. No problem.
Have we got time for another cuppa?
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Philip Benstead
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Philip Benstead »

Audax67 wrote: 15 May 2024, 8:45am So they can either squash the hairdo or walk. No problem.

squashing does not work, also some children even primary school children have very large heads.
Philip Benstead | Life Member Former CTC Councillor/Trustee
Organizing events and representing cyclists' in southeast since 1988
Bikeability Instructor/Mechanic
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pjclinch
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by pjclinch »

Audax67 wrote: 15 May 2024, 8:45am So they can either squash the hairdo or walk. No problem.
Not a problem if you're happy with a box-ticking exercise, but very much a problem if the long term goal is a healthy cycling culture 🤷‍♂️

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cycle tramp
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by cycle tramp »

pjclinch wrote: 14 May 2024, 8:12pm
Jdsk wrote: 4 May 2024, 9:06am Who have you already asked for advice?

How about:

Cycle Sprog:
https://www.cyclesprog.co.uk/helmets/af ... s-helmets/

Black Girls Do Bike:
https://www.blackgirlsdobike.org/chapters
https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackgirlsdobikelondon/
That gives one a range of coping mechanisms but doesn't really answer the question. If trainees with certain hairstyles/hair types have to jump through more hoops to do Bikeability than those without then it is not as inclusive as it should be....
.....my sister taught at a London primary school with a significant Nigerian demographic and lots of the girls had elaborate hairstyles from their cultural backgrounds that were important to them. They didn't work with helmets and were given the choice of change their hairstyle or don't do Bikeability

Pete.
I'm pretty sure that branches the current laws of diversity - indeed I'm surprised that bikeability haven't been threatened with legal action.
Obtaing a more comfortable riding position https://www.rivbike.com/blogs/news/how- ... p-bar-bike
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Psamathe »

cycle tramp wrote: 15 May 2024, 10:04pm
pjclinch wrote: 14 May 2024, 8:12pm
Jdsk wrote: 4 May 2024, 9:06am Who have you already asked for advice?

How about:

Cycle Sprog:
https://www.cyclesprog.co.uk/helmets/af ... s-helmets/

Black Girls Do Bike:
https://www.blackgirlsdobike.org/chapters
https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackgirlsdobikelondon/
That gives one a range of coping mechanisms but doesn't really answer the question. If trainees with certain hairstyles/hair types have to jump through more hoops to do Bikeability than those without then it is not as inclusive as it should be....
.....my sister taught at a London primary school with a significant Nigerian demographic and lots of the girls had elaborate hairstyles from their cultural backgrounds that were important to them. They didn't work with helmets and were given the choice of change their hairstyle or don't do Bikeability

Pete.
I'm pretty sure that branches the current laws of diversity - indeed I'm surprised that bikeability haven't been threatened with legal action.
Without commenting on the merits of such an action (my lack of good appreciation of the issues), such an action would be expensive and for a parent, easier for their child to skip formal training and just go cycling. When I was a child I never had formal cycle training so why risk the legal costs bills. Parent would have to be very determined for their child to have formal cycle training.

And for any charity they'd be asking themselves if it would be good use of their limited funds.

My guess.

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pjclinch
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by pjclinch »

cycle tramp wrote: 15 May 2024, 10:04pm
pjclinch wrote: 14 May 2024, 8:12pm
Jdsk wrote: 4 May 2024, 9:06am Who have you already asked for advice?

How about:

Cycle Sprog:
https://www.cyclesprog.co.uk/helmets/af ... s-helmets/

Black Girls Do Bike:
https://www.blackgirlsdobike.org/chapters
https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackgirlsdobikelondon/
That gives one a range of coping mechanisms but doesn't really answer the question. If trainees with certain hairstyles/hair types have to jump through more hoops to do Bikeability than those without then it is not as inclusive as it should be....
.....my sister taught at a London primary school with a significant Nigerian demographic and lots of the girls had elaborate hairstyles from their cultural backgrounds that were important to them. They didn't work with helmets and were given the choice of change their hairstyle or don't do Bikeability
I'm pretty sure that branches the current laws of diversity - indeed I'm surprised that bikeability haven't been threatened with legal action.
The Bikeability curriculum has no need for a helmet. A local council delivering that curriculum in a school and acting in loco parentis is going to be far harder to sue and given the degree to which helmets on kids are assumed to be "essential" is unlikely.

To take on a school acting beyond their legal power is a total pain, I can't see anyone in a hurry to do it for a few cycling lessons when the great majority of parents would think you were mad to not want a lid on your sprog (I gave up teaching Bikeability Scotland when I got anonymous parental complaints that I set a bad example by not wearing one, it was hard work and damaged my relationship with the school to have my kids ride in without lids even though it's totally beyond the LA's/school's power to insist, and I am stubborn, don't shy away from confrontation and have lots of evidence at my fingertips to back up what I say).

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Carlton green
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Carlton green »

Teachers are to some extent between a rock and a hard place; the kids can be challenging, the parents worse and the paper-work a nightmare. Then we have risk assessments, gold plating, security checks, ofsted and the school management team. Honestly, it’s a mess. I’ve met a few teachers who just are so used to telling their pupils what to do that they can’t manage to work well with adults or hold reasoned discussion that’s open to them changing their view. Work with what you’ve got or quietly move on …
Don’t fret, it’s OK to: ride a simple old bike; ride slowly, walk, rest and admire the view; ride off-road; ride in your raincoat; ride by yourself; ride in the dark; and ride one hundred yards or one hundred miles. Your bike and your choices to suit you.
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by pjclinch »

Carlton green wrote: 16 May 2024, 7:14am Teachers are to some extent between a rock and a hard place; the kids can be challenging, the parents worse and the paper-work a nightmare. Then we have risk assessments, gold plating, security checks, ofsted and the school management team. Honestly, it’s a mess. I’ve met a few teachers who just are so used to telling their pupils what to do that they can’t manage to work well with adults or hold reasoned discussion that’s open to them changing their view. Work with what you’ve got or quietly move on …
All this, plus helmet requirements for cycling tend to be imposed on them from above in any case. The people who should be getting the grief about it are the people deciding the policy rather than those like teachers nearer the front line who don't really have much say.

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Jdsk
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Jdsk »

Psamathe wrote: 15 May 2024, 11:21pm
cycle tramp wrote: 15 May 2024, 10:04pm
pjclinch wrote: 14 May 2024, 8:12pm That gives one a range of coping mechanisms but doesn't really answer the question. If trainees with certain hairstyles/hair types have to jump through more hoops to do Bikeability than those without then it is not as inclusive as it should be....
.....my sister taught at a London primary school with a significant Nigerian demographic and lots of the girls had elaborate hairstyles from their cultural backgrounds that were important to them. They didn't work with helmets and were given the choice of change their hairstyle or don't do Bikeability
I'm pretty sure that branches the current laws of diversity - indeed I'm surprised that bikeability haven't been threatened with legal action.
Without commenting on the merits of such an action (my lack of good appreciation of the issues), such an action would be expensive and for a parent, easier for their child to skip formal training and just go cycling. When I was a child I never had formal cycle training so why risk the legal costs bills. Parent would have to be very determined for their child to have formal cycle training.

And for any charity they'd be asking themselves if it would be good use of their limited funds.
The legal starting points would include:

1 Identification of the service provider and what sort of body it is and how it relates to the alleged discrimination.

2 Checking the protected characteristic, including the EHRC guidance on hair discrimination:
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/gui ... on-schools

3 Establishing whether the defence intends to use "objective justification": that their action is “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”:
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/equ ... uality-act

Jonathan
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by pjclinch »

Psamathe wrote: 15 May 2024, 11:21pm
Without commenting on the merits of such an action (my lack of good appreciation of the issues), such an action would be expensive and for a parent, easier for their child to skip formal training and just go cycling. When I was a child I never had formal cycle training so why risk the legal costs bills. Parent would have to be very determined for their child to have formal cycle training.

And for any charity they'd be asking themselves if it would be good use of their limited funds.

My guess.
I think you're right, and as the curriculum itself has no helmet requirement it's entirely possible and reasonable for a determined parent to find a provider happy for the parent to make the choice. Sustrans' lessons, for example, allow no helmet as long as they have permission from a carer in writing.

Beyond that it is the case that some providers have helmets as an insurance requirement to teach Bikeability, and that's down to the insurer and the body selecting them (British Cycling have an insurance-based helmet requirement, CUK don't, Sustrans don't, LAs seem to vary). And while on the one hand you can say "well just get a more flexible insurer!", on the other I suspect that's considerably easier said than done. There is considerable fear of litigation, there are considerable funds tied up in insurance and I doubt something like a LA wants to individually underwrite every activity it insures with a different company. That Wee Billy doesn't like helmets for the Primary 6 cycling class as his dreads don't fit is not really enough to budge a council that's almost certainly sure it's doing "the right thing" in any case.
And when it comes to fear or harm and/or litigation there's nothing new here. I didn't get to do my Cycling Proficiency in the 70s because the year I was due to do it at school Bexley decided cycling was "too dangerous" and just canned the whole course. Until cycle training is part of the curriculum as a life skill like swimming councils will just dump it rather than have too many headaches about it.

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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by Audax67 »

Philip Benstead wrote: 15 May 2024, 9:08am
Audax67 wrote: 15 May 2024, 8:45am So they can either squash the hairdo or walk. No problem.

squashing does not work, also some children even primary school children have very large heads.
Yeah, corn rows & so forth. So what? If they want to ride and helmets are obligatory they either find one that fits or lose the hairdo. There's no legal obligation to square the circle.
Have we got time for another cuppa?
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Re: Cycle training in schools and big hair

Post by pjclinch »

Audax67 wrote: 17 May 2024, 9:47am
Philip Benstead wrote: 15 May 2024, 9:08am
Audax67 wrote: 15 May 2024, 8:45am So they can either squash the hairdo or walk. No problem.

squashing does not work, also some children even primary school children have very large heads.
Yeah, corn rows & so forth. So what? If they want to ride and helmets are obligatory they either find one that fits or lose the hairdo. There's no legal obligation to square the circle.
It depends what you want to do. If you want to tick boxes that everyone who turned up at training with a helmet got training then that's a solution, but I'd suggest that the actual point of the exercise is to underpin a long term increase in cycling modal share. If getting rid of obligatory helmets can help to achieve that then irrespective of any legal obligation you're actually doing what you set out to do (boost cycling) more effectively.

If you're going to impose a H&S obligation it should be justified with good evidence. "We've been doing it this way for years" isn't good evidence. The fact that the Association of Bikeability Schemes seem keen to stress that helmets are not fundamental to Bikeability in their choice of images suggests that people actually in the business of providing cycle training aren't all wedded to the idea that helmets are a must-have, so why upset people and put them off riding by forcing them to be used?

Pete.
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