Round-the-world cyclist Josh Quigley has been handed a £75 fine for riding his bike in Bedford town centre. The Livingstone cyclist, who is just a week into his trip, tore up the ticket and says he won’t pay. He argues that local councils should be encouraging people to get on their bikes, not punishing them.
Bedford is one of a number of towns to have imposed a cycling ban using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). Cycling is not permitted in certain parts of the town centre between 9am and 6pm.
PSPOs have drawn criticism from Cycling UK for the way in which they target cycling as a whole rather than only those who cause a danger or nuisance through the manner of their cycling.
Quigley said: “I must have been going about 3mph; like walking pace; literally just on the bike, but not really pedalling; just going through the town centre so I can get to the other side to continue cycling.
“I just stopped at Tesco to get something to eat, and as I was doing that an officer approached me and said, ‘Stop the bike, sir.’
“And I got off – and I was calm and I never argued with him once – and he said, ‘Do you know you can’t cycle here?’ and I was like, ‘Oh no, I didn’t know that. I’m not from this area, just passing through.’”
Quigley was asked to produce ID and then, with no further questions, he was handed the ticket.
The cyclist was somewhat taken aback. “I thought, ‘Seventy-five fucking pounds for riding my bike through a town centre?’”
He added: “If they’re doing this to me, who else are they doing this to? If somebody’s just riding their bike through a street and they punish them with a £75 fine? For cycling a fucking bike?”
I GOT A £75 FINE
I got fined for riding my bike through Bedford town centre.
No warning or telling off.
Bedford Council, you can shove your fine up your arse!!
Don’t punish people for cycling.
Let’s create a culture that encourages people to be more active!!
— Josh Quigley (@JoshQuigley92) February 14, 2019
The Bedford Independent reports that Quigley is currently making his second attempt to ride around the world after aborting a 2016 attempt after 10,000 miles.
Quigley attempted to take his own life in 2015 and says cycling has helped him address mental health issues and ‘saved his life.’
On a video uploaded to YouTube, he tore up the ticket, saying: “I don’t think we should be punishing people for riding their bike. I think we – local councils, police, government – should be supporting people in getting onto bikes and getting out walking and doing anything that’s going to be a bit more active.”
A Borough Council spokesperson said: “We encourage cycling in Bedford as a green method of transport and a great way to keep fit, with numerous cycle routes and cycle paths across the Borough.
“However, cycling in Bedford town centre is a major concern for local residents following collisions with cyclists and reports of injuries. The Council was asked by shoppers and businesses to introduce a restriction on cycling in the town centre to keep pedestrians safe.
“The order restricting cycling in our town centre pedestrianised area has been in place for over two and a half years and signage is in place at the entrances to the pedestrianised area of the town centre to make people aware of this restriction.
“We have this restriction in place to help keep pedestrians safe whilst visiting Bedford and this is reducing the number of offenders. Anybody who does not agree that a fine should have been issued can decide to have the case heard in court.
“If anyone is aware of any mitigating factors for why a fine should not have been issued, we would encourage them to contact the Council and this will be looked into on a case-by-case basis.”
Other towns to have imposed PSPOs targeting cyclists include Mansfield and Peterborough, where a great many cyclists have faced fines.
The enforcement firm tasked with patrolling the latter raked in £80,000 in fines for unauthorised cycling in just over a year as part of its contract with the council.