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Council planning to set up its own company to collect the fines

Over a thousand people have been fined for cycling in Peterborough since the introduction of a city centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) last year. The enforcement firm patrolling the area, Kingdom, will keep the £80,540 collected as part of its contract with the city council.

The fines were collected from 1,119 cyclists between June 12, 2017, when the Kingdom contract began, and June 30, 2018. We previously reported that almost 915 were fined within the first three months, but that figure is not directly comparable as not all of those were necessarily collected.

The PSPO sees fixed penalty notices issue for a series of offences. As well as unauthorised cycling in certain areas, they are issued for littering, dog fouling, spitting, failure to disperse, cycle dismount, urination and defecation.

A freedom of information request by Peterborough Today revealed that, 5,715 fines were collected worth £419,505.

£284,485 of that came from littering with £1,420 from ‘cycle dismount’. You’ll no doubt be interested to hear that there was a single fine for defecation too. (There is a theory here at road.cc that the person responsible decided against riding to get to the nearest loo on the grounds that the cost of taking immediate action to resolve their situation was exactly the same.)

Council leader John Holdich, who pushed for the PSPOs to be introduced, said: “It’s working, it’s tidying the city up. Now we want to spread it across Peterborough.”

He added: “Now we know that it works and how it works, we can set up our own company to do it, but the money collected will be ploughed into services.”

PSPOs remain controversial. Duncan Dollimore of Cycling UK has equated them to geographically defined ASBOs and expressed incredulity that they are being used to "restrict the use of public space and criminalise behaviour not normally regarded as illegal... [like] the pernicious pastime which undermines the very fabric of our society: cycling."

Two cyclists travelling through Peterborough on their journey from Southend to Bridlington said they considered the fines unfair after being stopped while riding their bikes down Bridge Street.

Writing to Peterborough Today, Mark Booker described the circumstances: “After several diversions, we find the centre of Peterborough, walk over a pedestrian crossing following a marked cycle path. Get back on our bikes, going at walking pace as we are looking for somewhere to park our bikes and bottoms.

“We are approached by two policemen – that’s what they look like anyway – who take down our details and fine us £80 each for cycling where we shouldn't be cycling. No discount for prompt payment.

“Going back to the street furniture by the pedestrian crossing, there was indeed a no-cycling sign. Right above the sign for the cycle path which we had honed in on.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.