Cy­clists face street crack­down

The Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil leader has called for fixed penalty no­tices to be is­sued out by the author­ity’s of­fi­cers af­ter they were granted new pow­ers to tackle anti-so­cial be­hav­iour. Joel Lamy re­ports...

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News -

Cy­clists who flout the bike ban on Bridge Street in the city cen­tre are to face a new crack­down. Peter­bor­ough coun­cil leader John Holdich has called for zero tol­er­ance and a fine for ev­ery­one who ig­nores the re­stric­tions.

Ev­ery per­son caught il­le­gally cy­cling in Bridge Street will be fined, ac­cord­ing to the leader of Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lor John Holdich is push­ing for a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach when coun­cil of­fi­cers re­ceive new pow­ers, cur­rently used by the po­lice, to hand out fixed penalty no­tices of £50 next month.

A crack down on ag­gres­sive beg­ging is also be­ing promised to make vis­it­ing the city cen­tre a more en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cllr Holdich said: “There’s no point in hav­ing the pow­ers un­less you use them. If you look at other towns that have gone down this route, it’s con­tro­ver­sial for a lit­tle while but it all goes away.

“I have been push­ing for this for more than two years. I will be more than happy when this comes in and we can take some ac­tion.

“We need to have some dis­ci­pline back in our city cen­tre. It’s a pedes­trian area and peo­ple should not ride bikes in it. Peo­ple should obey the rules of the land.

“The only way to stop it is to fine peo­ple. We have done all the warn­ings and we have got to put a stop to it.”

Cllr Holdich added that many cy­clists did not go at a “re­spectable speed” but in­stead were weav­ing in and out of peo­ple.

The coun­cil leader has been a vo­cal critic of cy­cling in Bridge Street which is pro­hib­ited ev­ery day be­tween 9am and 6pm.

How­ever, the ban is fre­quently ig­nored and last week the Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph clocked 10 cy­clists rid­ing through the key city cen­tre route in just 10 min­utes.

Cllr Holdich’s pre­de­ces­sor as leader, Cllr Marco Cer­este, was also ea­ger to en­force the Bridge Street ban af­ter his son was nearly hit by a cy­clist.

But Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lor Dar­ren Fower, mem­ber for Gun­thorpe, la­belled the zero tol­er­ance ap­proach as “ridicu­lous.”

He said: “They are go­ing to try and en­force some­thing that can­not be en­forced. The po­lice have said they can’t en­force it.Is there an age limit? If you have a four-year-old on a bike with sta­bilis­ers, is he a prob­lem?

“They should make a safe cy­cling route. It will make it safer for cy­clists and safer for pedes­tri­ans. I think it could eas­ily be re­solved.”

Labour and Co-op­er­a­tive mem­ber for Raven­sthorpe, Cllr Ed Mur­phy, said: “I do think this is over the top. They should try and im­prove the sit­u­a­tion to avoid ac­ci­dents by hav­ing a des­ig­nated cy­cling area or a proper cy­cling route.

“En­force­ment of­fi­cers are bet­ter be­ing de­ployed to deal with fly-tip­ping and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.”

Matthew Bar­ber, head of part­ner­ships, Mid­lands and East, at Sus­trans, which pro­motes sus­tain­able trans­port, ques­tioned whether the ban could be prop­erly en­forced.

He added: “We firmly believe, and the ev­i­dence agrees with us, that pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists can get on har­mo­niously in pedes­tri­anised ar­eas.

“And we would still like to see a tem­po­rary lift­ing of the Bridge Street ban and a sur­vey con­ducted to un­der­stand pedes­trian and cy­clists be­hav­iour and in­ter­ac­tions. Other ci­ties have tri­alled the re­moval of bans and few re­turned to them.”

New Com­mu­nity Safety Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Scheme pow­ers, which are is­sued by chief con­sta­bles, will al­low coun­cil of­fi­cers in the Pre­ven­tion and En­force­ment Ser­vice to fine peo­ple en­gag­ing in anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

The en­force­ment ser­vice is a collection of of­fi­cers from the coun­cil, po­lice, fire ser­vice and pri­vate sec­tor.

Cllr Holdich has al s o backed clamp­ing down on ag­gres­sive beg­ging in the city cen­tre, with the new pow­ers for coun­cil of­fi­cers al­low­ing them to fine or cau­tion ag­gres­sive beg­gars or take them through the courts.

The coun­cil leader warned that the city cen­tre could be “over­run” by beg­gars if ac­tion was not taken.

He said: “Peo­ple from out of town email me and write to me to tell me the city cen­tre has got a lot bet­ter but there are still beg­gars around.”

Cy­clists caught on their bikes in Bridge Street last week

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