Student cyclists welcome police’s clampdown on dangerous drivers

By Conor de Smith.

Student cyclists have welcomed the news that local police are beginning to clampdown on drivers’ dangerous approach to passing those on bikes.

Leicestershire Police have adopted a “safe pass” initiative where plain-clothed officers will attempt to catch motorists who do not give cyclists enough room on the roads.

A 1.5 metre distance, just larger than a 2017 Infiniti QX30, is expected to be granted for bike users but that is continually found not to be the case.

Students at both De Montfort University and University of Leicester have welcomed the patrols with many feeling endangered whilst travelling to their respective place of study.

Chris Stanton, President of DMU Cycling, 21, cycles to university every day and says he welcomes this initiative as he has had multiple bad experiences in the city over the years.

“I absolutely welcome this initiative,” said the third year Marketing Management student. “It is a major issue on the roads.

“Cyclists very rarely get any respect on the roads due to drivers maybe having one bad incident with a cyclist so now they treat all of them badly.

“It is certainly an initiative that needs to be done, how they carry it out will be interesting to see.

“I’ve had several bad experiences while in Leicester but I’m sure this is not just a Leicester issue.

“For example, I have been pushed onto a curb by a car coming too close to me, cut up more times than I can count and have been hit by a car running a red light.

“The knowledge that you are safer on the roads is certainly beneficial as the risk is reduced.

“Making drivers aware of cyclists has been important for a while, especially in cities, so to have this initiative come in does help with that.

“This may be the start of more help for cyclists because room on the road is important, so whether this leads to better driving around bikes, cycle paths being built or just more concern over cycle safety, it is a step in the right direction.”

De Montfort University already does plenty to encourage more students to cycle to university.

With the unveiling of the new bike racks on Mill Lane last month, there is now room for 590 bikes on campus. Showers in four buildings on campus and facilities such as free inner tubes, puncture repair kits and lights are also available.

The new bike racks on Mill Lane.

The new bike racks on Mill Lane.

The news that police will be stricter when it comes to drivers is an added bonus for law student Sophie Llewellyn, 18, who said: “As a cyclist, who travels to and from uni using a bike, there have been a lot of times where drivers have gotten too close to me.

“I think it’s great that the police are clamping down on this because it needed to be done.”

James Parish, a 19-year-old Geography student at University of Leicester, added: “I don’t commute to university on my bike but do often travel to town on it as I’m quite some distance away.

“I’ve personally never been hit off my bike by a car but I’m aware that drivers show very little respect to cyclists.

“This needs to be stopped so I’m glad the local police are doing something about it but it should have been done sooner.”

Hot stuff as DMU music society storms to victory

IMG_1877by Ollie Heppenstall

De Montfort’s music society claimed victory in a battle of the bands held at Firebug last Monday night.

The battle, featuring the duos Timmas and Issy and Emma, The Excellent Adventures, Kait Baker-Smith and Alex Harrendence, entertained a packed-out Firebug and claimed a resounding, if unofficial victory.

Jack Cahill, frontman of The Excellent Adventures, said: “The first battle of the bands happened 2 or 3 years ago thanks to the efforts of the previous chairman, Adam Walker.

“It was his idea to have a battle of the bands, and it’s happened in some form or another each year since.

“We won by quite a margin in the end, our tactic was to build with variety; starting with accoustic acts and going from there.

“It wasn’t until Timmas took the stage that the atmosphere really started to develop. The Excellent Adventures closed the gig, playing to a completely full Firebug was absolutely incredible, definitely something you don’t see all that often.

“Last year’s battle was good, but this year’s was even better; the acts, the venue, the crowd, all outstanding. Both us and UoL will really have to bring it next year.”

Prince Harry shows support for Leicester pupils

Prince Harry Participating in Activities with Year 8 Pupils of Hamilton College

Prince Harry at Hamilton College (photography by Crown Weddings)

By Chantelle Roberts

Staff at a charity which helps school pupils with their self-confidence have spoken of the thrill of being visited by Prince Harry.

Prince Harry visited Hamilton College in the morning last Wednesday in support of Kainé Management Ltd: a small registered charity based in Leicester.

Kainé Management runs the Yes You Can and I Have a Dream programmes, the former running 20-week projects with Year 8 pupils referred by their school, the latter with primary pupils.

Maxine Chambers, an associate at Kainé Management, said Prince Harry was “very supportive of the work” and came across as “down to earth and considerate of all in attendance.”

The I Have a Dream programme uses the famous Martin Luther King Jr speech to motivate the primary pupils to work to achieve their dreams.

Harry showed his support by engaging in activities with the children, meeting with Greg Smith, manager of the two programmes, who was nominated to escort the royal visitor around the project.

Maxine reflected on Prince Harry’s visit to Hamilton College.

She said: “For our young people it was a great experience as they learn that anything can happen if you believe it, work hard and overcome your barriers.”

She added: “Getting to meet Prince Harry was probably the least thing they expected and so it was great for them to experience this.”

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Kainé Management welcoming Prince Harry’s visit (photography by Crown Weddings)

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Manager Greg Smith (centre) and Associate Maxine Chambers with Prince Harry (photography by Crown Weddings)

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Prince Harry with Year 8 pupils at Hamilton College (photography by Crown Weddings)

 

DMU Square Mile to take part in prison painting project

By Matthew Chandler and Oliver Senior

DMU Square Mile volunteers are helping thumbnail_IMG_6863 (edit).jpgto re-decorate Leicester Prison’s visitors’ hall as part of their collaborative work with the prison.

This week, about five students will visit the prison each day from Thursday onwards to make the place where prisoners meet their families look a little more appealing.

Jessica Bogic, Outreach and Projects Co-ordinator at Square Mile, was keen to stress the value of making the visitors’ hall a more aesthetically pleasing environment, describing it as previously being “very grim and horrible”, and that it needed some “extra love and care”.

She said: “There is a lot of research to suggest that if prisoners, males in particular, have a positive attitude during their visits while in prison, it can reduce re-offending rates.”

This has been an ongoing project between Square Mile and the prison, having started last winter, when the prison asked for the university’s support in re-developing the visitors’ hall.

This is the first year Square Mile have been working with the prison, with the re-development of the visitors’ hall just one of their interesting variety of projects.

Jessica added: “The DMU orchestra and gospel choir have taken part in a healthy eating project, while a senior lecturer in Arts and Festival Management, Jacqui Norton, has delivered a workshop for music industry and teaches them how to market themselves as a product.

“There are a lot of plans in the pipeline to increase activity and we hope to do lost more in the future.”

If you are interested in helping with the re-development of the visitors’ hall, please contact either Jessica at jbogic@dmu.ac.uk or Harriet Pole, Widening Participation Co-ordinator, at harriet.pole@dmu.ac.uk.

 

Award-winning rapper and poet Akala to be guest speaker at De Montfort University

By Chantelle Roberts

De Montfort University Student’s Union have organised rapper Akala, self-proclaimed ‘Shakespeare reincarnated’, to speak to students in an upcoming event to inspire black minority ethnic students.

The event will focus on giving advice to BME students on identity, higher education and leadership as well as discussing the need to liberate higher education.

Whilst this is a ‘BME inspired’ event, all students are accommodated for and are welcome to hear Akala speak.

Well known for his inspirational speeches and and lectures Akala will speak to students in the hopes of bridging the gap between minority ethnic students and the struggles faced whilst at university.

The event is completely free for students and will run from 1 to 5pm in the Hugh Aston building on campus.

Other guest speakers include: Aadam Muuse, National Union of Students’ (NUS) Black Students’ Officer and Mostafa Rajaai, National Union of Students’ (NUS) International Officer to name a few.

To reserve a place at the event students should visit the De Montfort student union website: