Children from a south London school have been told they will be banned from cycling if they do not put number plates on their bikes.
Teachers at Stanley Park High in Carshalton are introducing the plates on 1 October alongside measures to encourage cycling, including subsidised bike lights and maintenance workshops.
The number plate scheme, launched in response to incidents of children cycling in a way that ‘endangers themselves and others’, enables members of the public to report pupils who ride dangerously.
On the school’s website, headteacher Amit Amin wrote: “All students who cycle to school will be required to display a school-issued bicycle number plate when riding to and from school.
“Students without a number plate will not be permitted to cycle to school, or lock their bicycles on school grounds.”
Cycling UK has questioned why the school – which says the main aim is to keep pupils safe – ‘wants to make cycling to school more difficult’.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, told BBC News Mr Amin’s actions were ‘part of a trend of head teachers trespassing on parental responsibilities’.
Mr Dollimore said schools should focus on encouraging local authorities to adopt 20mph speed limits and traffic-calming measures instead of making ‘cycling to school more difficult’.
Another critic of Stanley Park High’s policy is Chris Boardman, former professional cyclist and Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner.
He posted on Twitter: “If I was one of the school governors, I’d be stepping in about now.”
Mr Amin added: “Our absolute priority is the safety of our students, and the aim of this initiative is simply to ensure their safety as they travel to and from school.”