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Two in three Advertiser readers want fines for pavement cyclists

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CYCLING may be a more environmentally friendly and healthier way to travel, but riders' presence on pavements seems to have left you in a spin.

The Advertiser posted a poll on our website, asking if you felt police plans to issue £50 fines to cyclists who ride on pavements were fair.

More than two thirds of people who voted said yes, citing riders' disregard for other pavement users as a main reason for the fine's necessity.

Our Facebook page and comments section have remained lively, with readers fighting tooth and nail on both sides of the debate – some believing pavement cycling is often justifiable, and others claiming the punishment is long overdue.

On the Advertiser's website, 'squired' said: "As a cyclist myself I find this interesting. I've often attempted to stop cyclists on the pavement to ask why they aren't in the road. Quite a few genuinely tell me that they are simply too scared to ride on the road."

In a similar vein, 'angus_h' said: "I don't think anyone cycles on the pavement out of choice – aside from being illegal, it's slow, there are pedestrians and street furniture everywhere, and you have to stop at every side road. Why would anyone do that if they felt safe on the road?"

However, the vast majority supported police coming down hard on pavement cyclists. On the website 'oudinot' commented: "I agree that any adult choosing to ride a bike on the pavement ought to be fined."

Even some cyclists are in favour of the fines. Paul Watson, on Facebook, said: "I'm a cyclist and yes 100 percent!!! Your bike should be on the road NOT on the pavement!"

Fellow cyclist 'a_odriscoll' commented: "What gives cyclists the right to put others at risk just to make themselves feel safer? If traffic on a stretch of the road scares you so much, simple solution – stop being so selfish, get off your bike and walk."

Sergeant Diane Hill, from the Crystal Palace Triangle safer neighbourhoods team, last week told the Advertiser her team would issue £50 fines to those caught cycling on pavements.

This week, following our poll, she said: "I still would stand by the fact that the problem will be dealt with proportionately. We are not looking to fine every single cyclist on the pavement.

"It is certainly not a war against cyclists. It is a case of dealing with local priorities and dealing with them proportionately."

Austen Cooper, co-ordinator of the Croydon Cycling Campaign, believes poor road design to be a major factor in cyclists' decisions to mount the kerb.

"We're against one-way systems because they – as Croydon Council has acknowledged – allow motor-traffic to go faster and unnecessarily disadvantage people who want to cycle," he said.

"I frequently cycle on the pavement. Croydon Council have legalised it in many places, although it would be better if they made space for cycling on the roads."

Croydon Cycling Campaign key members Kristian Gregory is currently pursuing an appeal against being ticketed for pavement cycling on New Kent Road after he briefly strayed from the shared-use path to avoid a phonebox.

Mr Gregory said: "We believe roads enforcement should be based on harm caused. Pedestrians in Croydon are much more likely to be killed on pavements by cars than harmed by cyclists. Law enforcement should reflect this.

"The roads here are dangerous, aggressive and speeding is now a problem, and the one-way system pushes cyclists well out of their way. The resulting pavement cycling was predictable."

Earlier this year the minister for cycling, Robert Goodwill MP, reiterated guidelines on fixed penalty notices for cycling, saying they should not be used to reprimand considerate cyclists who use pavements to avoid dangerous roads.

Mr Cooper said: "We'd like to see the local police follow the spirit of this guidance, and use their discretion. We'd also like to see them focus their efforts on tackling behaviour on our roads that poses the greatest risks to people – speeding motor vehicles.

"Pedestrians, cyclists and residents face problems from dangerous drivers and badly-designed roads. Inconsiderate pavement cycling can be a pain, but dangerous driving is the real killer."

Two in three Advertiser readers want fines for pavement cyclists


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