Police have launched a “purge” on cyclists who ride on pavements in Spalding, with the risk of a £50 on-the-spot fine.
The Spalding Guardian joined police during a “morning of action” around the town yesterday, when cyclists were stopped for either not riding on the road or not having lights and reflectors while cycling in the dark.
South Holland Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Gareth Boxall and a team of officers were out in force along Winsover Road, Sheep Market, Hall Place, New Road, Westlode Street, Pinchbeck Road, Holbeach Road and Queens Road.
In total, 15 on-the-spot fines of £50 each were issued during the campaign, which followed recent reports of “near-misses” where cyclists have nearly collided with pedestrians in Spalding.
One of the cases involved a worker at the Rumblings to Go takeaway in Francis Street who was knocked to the ground last month.
Insp Boxall said: “Fifteen tickets were issued on Wednesday morning for a mixture of cycling without lights and cycling on pavements.
“Both issues are important for different reasons and they have been raised with us as of significant concern to the community.
“Whilst it may seem petty and relatively minor, the consequences of cycling without lights could be severe and riding on a pavement through the town can make people feel intimidated and unsafe.
“There have been some incidents across the country where cyclists and pedestrians have collided that have unfortunately resulted in some people being seriously injured.
“We have lots of other things that often come above operations like this, but it’s important to have a purge on these types of offences now and then.
The consequences of cycling without lights could be severe and riding on a pavement through the town can make people feel intimidated and unsafeInspector Gareth Boxall, South Holland Neighbourhood Policing Inspector
“The message is clear, ‘put lights on your bike and get off it when you’re on the pavement or you may be fined’”.
A number of those fined were from Spalding eastern European community and Insp Boxall said: “For some time, police in South Holland Police have given out warnings and also concentrated on education where our staff have engaged with the eastern European community to promote cycling laws in a variety of ways.
“But it should be pointed out that this is not something exclusive to cyclists from the eastern European community as we dealt with British-born people too yesterday morning.”
Figures published by a national newspaper last month showed that the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured after collisions with cyclists in Great Britain had more than doubled from 50 in 2006 to 111 in 2016.
However, Cycling UK produced figures earlier this month which showed that 3,828 cycle/pedestrian collisions took place in Britain between 2007 and 2016, compared to 255,384 over the same period that involved cars and other motor vehicles.
PC Karl Cinavas, beat manager for Spalding town centre, said: “I’ve been in both situations, firstly as a motorist where I’ve come upon somebody cycling without lights and had to react.
“But I’ve also been in the situation where I’ve been cycling and the lights have failed.
“I’d want somebody to tell me something is wrong, even if that means learning the hard way, because it’s for the cyclist’s own good and the good of other motor vehicles users as well.”
David Jones, chairman of Spalding’s bicycle action group Pedals, said: “We have made it clear that we are opposed to any illegal cycling and, indeed, we are disappointed by inconsiderate and thoughtless behaviour by cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
“However, I think our main concern is with cyclists who do so without lights we would like the police come down heavily on such cyclists.
“We would also like the police to encourage cyclists, for their own safety, to wear high-visibility clothing as bicycle lights will hardly light up the road ahead and serve the cause of visibility.”
• What do you think of the “purge” against “inconsiderate cyclists? Email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org