Pavement bikers face police fines

JON WELCH Cyclists who ride on the pavement, do not stop at red lights or ride at night without lights will be fined as part of a police crackdown starting this week.

JON WELCH

By JON WELCH

Cyclists who ride on the pavement, do not stop at red lights or ride at night without lights will be fined as part of a police crackdown starting this week.

From Thursday, police and community support officers will be issuing £30 fixed penalty notices to cyclists caught riding through pedestrianised areas of Norwich city centre.

Cyclists riding on the pavements within the inner ring road will also be targeted in the crackdown.

Police said they were taking the action in response to a number of complaints from pedestrians.

Most Read

Insp Kevin Clarke said: "We're looking at pedal cycle offences as anti-social behaviour. A number of people have reported near-misses and being clipped by pedal cycles and that's something we are very keen to stamp out across the city."

For the past five months, police community support officers and "cycle cops" PCs Matt Spillman and Craig Brooke have been handing out warning letters to cyclists riding in prohibited areas at prohibited times, including the busy shopping streets of London Street and Gentleman's Walk.

Numerous cyclists have received warnings since the campaign began in September. In the last three weeks, officers have handed out 22 letters. From Thursday, however, the warnings will stop and offenders will be fined.

Insp Clarke confirmed that the fines would also apply to red-light jumpers and those riding after dark without lights, but denied that the force was victimising cyclists or acting disproportionately.

"This is not to penalise pedal cyclists," he said. "This is really a safety issue for road users and pedestrians as well. We don't want to see pedestrians and pedal cyclists injured or killed."

The rules on cycling are dictated by city bylaws, but can be confusing. While it is banned completely in some parts of the city centre, including London Street, cycling is allowed at all times in neighbouring streets such as Bedford Street and St Andrew's Hill.

In other parts of the city centre, cycling is allowed at certain times but the rules vary street- by street. In some places, no signs are displayed.

Richard Bearman, chairman of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, welcomed the crackdown, but said clearer rules were needed over where cyclists could legally ride.

"If they are going to stop people cycling on streets where it is prohibited, that's something we would support. The campaign supports legal cycling through the city centre," he said.

"We'd like to see them taking a similar tough line against motorists who abuse advanced stop lines, particularly at the Exchange Street and St Andrew's Street junction.

"Trying to legislate precisely to the minute when and where people can cycle is a nonsense. Ultimately we'd like to see cautious cycling allowed anywhere within the city centre."