Poll: Should cyclists who break the law in Norwich face tougher penalties?
A Norwich councillor has called for greater penalties for cyclists after spending an hour monitoring a notorious Norwich danger-spot.
Julie Brociek-Coulton was joined by prospective Parliamentary candidates Jess Asato and Clive Lewis to survey cycle safety at the one-way stretch off Magdalen Street during the morning rush-hour.
Together they spotted 18 cyclists using the road illegally – either cycling the wrong way into the direction of traffic or by cycling on the pavement, past pedestrians and shop doors.
Mrs Brociek-Coulton, who carried out a similar survey earlier in the year, said they had witnessed some near misses.
“We were shouted abuse by a few but some had earphones in, listening to music as they merrily broke the law,” she said.
“One of the cyclists not only broke the law going down the road the wrong way, but swerved around a car waiting at a red light and then had a very near miss as a Sanders bus came up Magdalen Street.”
Mrs Brociek-Coulton said more frequent fines were needed for cyclists, bringing punishments closer to those for drivers who flout the law. She added: “We would like tickets given out to every cyclist who goes down Magdalen Street the wrong way on the path and road.”
Calling for mutual respect between the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, she said: “This has been going on for three years now. It has to stop.”
Norfolk Constabulary said anyone committing an offence could expect a warning and safety advice, and risked a £30 fixed penalty notice. Where cycling problems have been made a local priority, high-visibility patrols are carried out to educate and advise cyclists.
Ms Asato, who will contest Norwich North against Chloe Smith at the next general election, said she had been “horrified” at the risks some cyclists took.
“Others swore at us and carried on recklessly cycling along the pavement, weaving in and out of pedestrians,” she said.
“One cyclist nearly hit a small child as he crossed a pedestrian crossing and on to the pavement.”
Ms Asato, who said she was a cyclist herself, added that “people who disregard the rules give all cyclists a bad name and put other road users and pedestrians at real risk.” Earlier this year Ms Smith urged cyclists to stick to the roads after complaints from families over riding on pavements.
Norfolk Constabulary figures show that 26 cyclists were fined for cycling on the pavement in 2011, down from 172 in 2009.