A promised crackdown on illegal cycling in Bridge Street yielded just five tickets in two days with dozens of people continuing to ignore the ban.
Despite calls from the leader of Peterborough City Council for all cyclists to be fined following the launch of a landmark scheme on Monday, the Peterborough Telegraph counted 45 people illegally cycling on Bridge Street in one hour without being stopped.
But council leader Councillor John Holdich hit back when asked if five tickets was an acceptable total, telling the Peterborough Telegraph: “I do think it’s a negative way of looking at it. We need some support. It’s your job to help us cut down low-level crime in this city.”
He added: “Five tickets being handed out is five more than before. We can’t be there the whole day.
“The message will get out. We have cut it from 70 cyclists an hour, and once it is publicised that this is happening it will disappear as has happened in other towns.”
The new scheme follows the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) from Monday which allows members of the city’s Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES) to hand out fixed penalty notices for a number of offences, including cycling on Bridge Street between 9am and 6pm when it is prohibited.
The fines are £80, reduced to £60 if paid within a week.
The PSPO also aims to clampdown on littering, spitting and public urination and defecation, but it is the enforcement of the Bridge Street ban which has drawn the most attention with Cllr Holdich making it one of his key policies.
A spokeswoman for the PES said: “These fines were given to all people caught cycling along Bridge Street within the unauthorised hours while our PES officers were out on patrol.
“PES officers will be using enforcement as a last resort and are educating people before they commit an offence where possible, for example, stopping cyclists before they enter the no cycling area.”
Two fixed penalty notices were handed out on Monday and another three on Tuesday.
The PT monitored Bridge Street from 4.30pm to 5.30pm on Tuesday. During that period 45 people were seen cycling, with another 30 walking with their bikes.
Adrian Chapman, service director for adults and communities at the council, said: “The additional powers of our PES officers through the introduction of the PSPO demonstrates our commitment to cracking down on those who act in an anti-social way.”
The PSPO covering the city centre prohibits a number of offences. Conditions include:
. No spitting or littering
. No urination or defecation in a public place
. Complying with Peterborough City Council’s code of conduct for busking.
Begging is also an offence, but for beggars breaching the PSPO, “options such as legally requiring them to access support services would be considered, rather than fines and subsequent prosecution for non-payment,” according to a PES spokeswoman.