Mixed feelings as Bridge Street cycling starts to come down

A cyclist in Bridge Street
A cyclist in Bridge Street

At last! Progress on enforcing the Bridge Street cycling ban finally appears to be working, but there are many disgruntled cyclists who feel they are being unfairly fined for riding through the city centre.

The number of people seen cycling through Bridge Street between 9pm and 6am has dropped markedly, with the Peterborough Telegraph counting nine on Tuesday afternoon in a 30 minute period, with 25 instead walking alongside their bikes.

A cyclist on Long Causeway

A cyclist on Long Causeway

However, the ban continues to divide opinion with enforcement officers patrolling the busy city centre street and handing out £80 fixed penalty notices following the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich, who has promised a crackdown on illegal Bridge Street cycling, said: “If it hurts them in the pocket they will learn the law is the law.

“It has decreased a tremendous amount - at one time we had people counting 70 cyclists an hour.

“We can’t be there the whole time, but trust me you will be caught in the end.”

Cllr John Holdich

Cllr John Holdich

There were 314 fixed penalty notices issued in June for unauthorised cycling.

Matthew Barber, head of partnerships (Midlands and East) at charity Sustrans, which promotes safe cycling, said people had been calling in having been issued with a penalty notice which they were looking to challenge.

One person was new to Peterborough and was caught near Poundland having not seen a ‘no cycling’ sign.

Mr Barber said: “He feels intimidated and said he will not cycle in the city centre again. For us that’s desperately sad to hear.

“People who have contacted us in recent weeks are law abiding citizens. One said he was caught cycling along at a few miles per hour whilst other people cycled past him.

“We do not have a clear strategy for how cyclists can get through the city centre.”

Mr Barber also said it was not clear where cycling was allowed going onto, and leaving, Long Causeway.

Cyclists are banned from riding on the pavement on Long Causeway, but part of the street is entirely filled by pavement.

A spokeswoman for the city’s Prevention and Enforcement Service, which patrols the city centre alongside enforcement officers from private agency Kingdom, said: “To be clear, cycling is not allowed on any pavement unless signs show it is dual use.”

Long Causeway is covered by the council’s PSPO. The spokeswoman added: “Our PSPO clearly states that if someone is cycling in a wanton and furious manner they will be asked to dismount by an authorised officer. This decision is at the discretion of our Prevention and Enforcement officers and would include behaviour such as wheelies and weaving quickly between pedestrians, for example.

“Failure to dismount would then result in a fixed penalty notice. To date no fines have been issued for failure to dismount in this area.”

Cllr Holdich said he would look at the signage on Long Causeway if it was not clear what cyclists are allowed to do.