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'Small minority' of Kesgrave pupils wear helmets when cycling to school

PUBLISHED: 19:10 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:10 30 July 2019

Kesgrave High School has one of the highest proportions of children who cycle to school in Europe  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Kesgrave High School has one of the highest proportions of children who cycle to school in Europe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A school has revealed its "constant concern" over whether students cycling to school wear helmets - after it was revealed only a "small minority" do so.

Kesgrave High School, near Ipswich, has the highest rate of children who cycle to school every day of anywhere in the UK, with between 700 and 800 students preferring two wheels to a lift with mum and dad.

The large number - also one of the highest rates in Europe - is largely driven by the strong network of cycle paths in the Grange Farm area, which allows pupils to ride safely to and from school largely without using roads.

But while hundreds of young people get health benefits from cycling to school every day, deputy headteacher Tim Legg said: "A small minority wear helmets."

Mr Legg said insisting on students wearing headgear is a "double-edged sword", as while it may protect youngsters in the event of a fall it may also put many off cycling in the first place

"It is not cool for some of them," he said.

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"There is a constant concern about whether students wear helmets. We'd love all students to wear helmets."

However he added: "Ultimately it's a parental conversation with their son or daughter."

The safe network of cycle paths around Grange Farm also reduces the risk of students having an accident, he added, particularly as many can cycle the whole route without coming into contact with cars.

"As Grange Farm has grown, planners have been very good at putting in cycleways," Mr Legg said.

"People can get pretty much anywhere by bike, without having to go anywhere by roads."

Mr Legg added that the "health benefits are clear for us to see", adding: "For some of our students, if they are doing 20mins walking or cycling at the start of the day, they tend to be more switched on and ready to start the day."

■ Do you think it should be compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets? Comment below, vote in our online poll or write, giving your full contact details, here.

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