‘We just want to ride to work and be safe’

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A Polish resident is protesting about being made late for work by a police swoop on pavement cyclists in Spalding.

Holding a £30 fine ticket and a doctor’s prescription totalling £42 for pain relief and depression after previously being hit by a car while riding on the road, Monika Nowak came to the Lincolnshire Free Press office to object on behalf of about 20 other work colleagues who she claims were also made late for work as a result of Operation Oatmeal on Thursday.

Monika (37), of Love Lane, said she and her colleagues were on their way to work at Morrisons Abattoir in Brunel Road, Pinchbeck, when whey they stopped by the police along Pinchbeck Road at 5.30am.

She said: “This was very traumatic for me because the police told me I had to ride on the road.

“Look, this is my prescription for £42. I was hit by a car two years ago and still have to take all this for pain and depression. I don’t feel safe on the road – it’s very busy along there.

“We were caught on a stretch of pavement along Pinchbeck Road between two cycle ways. I don’t believe we were doing any harm at 5.30am in the morning when there is no-one about.

“We Polish want to go to work and pay our taxes and be respectful of the law.

“But I am sorry, we care about being safe, too.”

Riding on the pavements in Spalding is the second biggest concern of residents after street drinking.

Operation Oatmeal was run in response to priorities set by the town’s community panels. As well as Pinchbeck Road, other locations for the spot checks were Winsover Road, Hawthorn Bank and Halmer Gate.

Sgt Stuart Hurst said: “Here we have a person to lives and works in Spalding and has a view on the action taken by police to stop pavement cyclists.

“I can make no apology for upholding the law - that’s out job - and cycling on pavements is a concern that has been brought to our attention as a priority at community panel meetings.

“But at the same time I am also pleased to see a member of the Polish community come forward with their concerns. What they should do is come on board and join our community panels and make their concerns known.”

PEDALS cycle action group has been campaigning for more routes to be joined up.

Roger Smith, one of the members, said perhaps it was time residents became more tolerant of cyclists on pavements.

He said: “There is a feeling along some roads that it is safer to ride on the pavements but it is illegal and I am not going to comment on the police doing their job and enforcing the law.

“However, in London there is a beautiful sign that says considerate cyclists are welcome and asks pedestrians to watch out for cyclists.

“As a group we have been campaigning for more of the town’s cycle ways to be joined up so, as in this case, riders could travel all the way to work.

“A solution for the riders travelling to the abattoir would be if the old railway line track that goes around the back of the hospital was cleared. But I can understand people not using it because it is overgrown, gets puddled and is dark.”