Leave your bike unlocked in Boston & police will lock it up for you

Anti-theft measure accompanies crackdown on cycling in pedestrian areas

Police in Boston, Lincolnshire are to crack down on cycling in pedestrianised areas of the city but in an attempt to extend an olive branch to the town’s cyclists they will also chain up unlocked bikes so they can’t be stolen.

Reacting to an increase in bike thefts, Boston police are urging cyclists to use a good lock and leave their bikes in plain sight, but they’ve got a further tactic if that doesn’t work.

In their “We locked it so you don’t lose it” campaign, police will securely lock unlocked bikes and leave a note for the owners to report to the police station to have their bike released.

But Boston police and Borough Council are also worried about cyclists riding in pedestrianised areas of the town and a crackdown is imminent.

A statement from Lincolnshire police said: “There have been some collisions and close calls recently.

“One particular problem area is St Botolph’s footbridge over the river. It is used by lots of pedestrians and at busy times can be quite congested.”

Cllr Derek Richmond, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “Some cyclists persist in trying to ride their bikes through the pedestrians, weaving between them. Often they approach at speed from behind. It only needs an unsuspecting pedestrian to alter their course at the wrong time and they can end up being badly hurt.”

Cllr Richmond, who claims to be a cyclist himself, added: “Cyclists are to be applauded. They brave the traffic and all weathers to travel in the most environmentally-friendly fashion and help reduce congestion, but they must show consideration for others, especially pedestrians.”

No cycling - in five languages

One explanation for the lack of compliance with Boston’s ‘no cycling’ signs could be the lack of clarity of the classic British bike-in-a-red-circle sign.

Lincolnshire police said: “Although signs in a red circle indicate something that is prohibited, the absence of a diagonal bar across the picture of the bicycle has often caused confusion to visitors from overseas who, on occasion, have even thought the sign denoted a cycle path.”

The solution: a new sign with text in no fewer than five languages:

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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