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“Fining is one of the few options left”: Council proposes charging cyclists £100 for riding on High Street

“I am a keen cyclist and am pro-cycling but I walk my bike through the high street,” said Southend Council’s deputy leader

Southend Council has launched a consultation to impose stricter no-cycling rules in the town centre that could see cyclists being ordered to pay £100 for riding on the High Street.

Cycling is already banned in Southend’s city centre, however Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, insists that the rule is frequently broken and that fining cyclists is one of the few options left and a way to completely stamp it out.

The consultation is set to be part of a plan to strengthen a public space protection order (PSPO), which was first introduced in Southend in July 2019 to tackle anti-social behaviour.

> More cyclists fined for riding bikes through town centre – months on from rider ordered to pay £1,100

Councillor Terry, who’s also the deputy council leader said: “We’ve had a lot of complaints about cyclists and escooter users riding dangerously in the high street.

“Older people are worried about it and there’s been a number of people struck and quite badly injured by dangerous riders. We get people riding at a ridiculous speed and people find it unnerving.

“The tougher rules cover all the pedestrianised areas in the high street. I am a keen cyclist and am pro-cycling but I walk my bike through the high street.”

Southend Police has already taken actions and fined cyclists under the PSPO, after alleged complaints about reckless cyclists and the illegal riding of e-scooters.

Last April, town centre officers stopped 19 people on their bikes and issued three with Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs), along with a fine of £100 after they ignored the directions to get off their bikes and walk with it, in just one day.

In October, another cyclist from Southend received a fine of £100, £150 in costs, and a £40 victim surcharge for the single offence of cycling.

> Council “escalates war on cycling menaces” with new town centre ban, saying: “We will not stop until we eradicate this behaviour”

This marks another episode in councils using the PSPO to implement a “zero-tolerance policy” for cyclists riding bicycles in pedestrian areas in the city centres across the country. Just last week, a 60-year-old cyclist was ordered to pay £500 in Grimsby, with a councillor hailing the hefty fine as “a great result for our enforcement teams”.

North East Lincolnshire Council further added that it had fined 85 people last year for cycling in “prohibited areas”.

The same council had come under criticism previously, after locals accused officers of targeting “old and slow” cyclists after a pensioner was fined for riding through the town in 2022.

And in December, its neighbouring governing body, North Lincolnshire Council announced a PSPO for Scunthorpe and Brigg, saying it has “escalated” and “intensified” its “war on cycling menaces” by implementing a complete ban on riding a bike in pedestrianised zones, as part of a wider crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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51 comments

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Willie B | 2 months ago
0 likes

There seem to be so many holes in this conviction if this cyclist got a good lawyer. For a start, where's the signage? https://maps.app.goo.gl/85AhLYPLT3K8JmpV9

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essexian | 2 months ago
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“Fining is one of the few options left......"

I have another option for Southend, especially if my ex still lives there...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCbfMkh940Q

 

(Bitter...me...?)

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qwerty360 | 2 months ago
2 likes

So a few suggestions on this:

  1. Statutory requirement to prove safe alternatives. ANY serious incident on alternative route between bicycles and cars requires that either the road is redesigned or the driver successfully convicted for dangerous driving (yes, dangerous - infra should allow for carelessness without serious injury).
  2. Maximum penalty for cyclists proportional to penalties for drivers - if you are fining drivers £35 (mentioned below) for driving through bus gates then you should only be fining cyclists what, £3.50 for riding through pedestrianised areas); Yes, this amount becomes so low as to be uneconomical to enforce. But the solution is to bring driving fines up to sane amounts...
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Keith Newton | 2 months ago
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After living in europe for many years I find that cyclist are more relaxed and considerate  the share the pedestrian spaces with scooters, joggers etc the do not ride fast through the town as if they are on a speed trial there a completely different mentality.  Cyclist in the uk are aggressive impatient and lack social skills. Your reader my disagree but I can only go by the daily experiences and observation. Uk cyclist don't seem to think rules apply to them. The fact the cycles are not registered and insured I feel goes to some of the issue if lack of responsibility.  Its time bicycles scooter e scooters ebike where all registered and people have to have insurance to use. We €1 a month to insure the bike and e scooter. That gives use liability cover incase of an accident.  Before you go on about cycle paths they are few and far between just like the uk. it's the attitude towards others thst different if it says no cycling they get off if it says slow speeds they domut the delivery  cyclist are also very well behaved. As a child we had to do cycle proficiency test before we could cycle to school its time this was brought back and cycle registration and insurance.  If people have responsibility they behave better.

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chrisonabike replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
3 likes

Welcome to road.cc - you've come to the right place to discuss some of your interesting observations.  There are lots of people here with experience of different countries, many of whom have for much of their lives been carefully studying the nitty-gritty of roads, rules, cops and culture trying to understand how these all interact.

I'd agree that there needs to be some kinds of feedback to manage people's behaviours e.g. when they are using modes of transport - and in many circumstances this is lacking [1] [2] ...

Meanwhile:

"cyclists" ... speeding racers ... aggressive, impatient, lack social skills ... registration ... insurance ... don't follow rules ... more training ... lack of responsibility...

House!  House!

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Rendel Harris replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
8 likes

Keith Newton wrote:

Uk cyclist don't seem to think rules apply to them. The fact the cycles are not registered and insured I feel goes to some of the issue if lack of responsibility. 

Well you are clearly wrong on your own terms there because you just said that cyclists in Europe are much better but there is nowhere in Europe where bicycles have to be registered or insured, so clearly being unregistered/uninsured is not a contributor to irresponsible cycling.

Any other regular readers reminded of the appearance of "Sorry my English not so good" Rakia?

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perce replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
6 likes

Ah, Domut the delivery cyclist- I seem to remember that was one of Martin Scorsese's less celebrated earlier efforts. 

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Hirsute replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
5 likes

"Cyclist in the uk are aggressive impatient and lack social skills."

Even a child knows this.

Would that be a failure to doff their caps to every driver ? Or to ride in the gutter even where the driver is on the wrong side of the road ?

 

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wycombewheeler replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
0 likes

Keith Newton wrote:

After living in europe for many years I find that cyclist are more relaxed and considerate  the share the pedestrian spaces with scooters, joggers etc the do not ride fast through the town as if they are on a speed trial there a completely different mentality.  Cyclist in the uk are aggressive impatient and lack social skills. Your reader my disagree but I can only go by the daily experiences and observation. Uk cyclist don't seem to think rules apply to them. The fact the cycles are not registered and insured I feel goes to some of the issue if lack of responsibility.  Its time bicycles scooter e scooters ebike where all registered and people have to have insurance to use. We €1 a month to insure the bike and e scooter. That gives use liability cover incase of an accident.  Before you go on about cycle paths they are few and far between just like the uk. it's the attitude towards others thst different if it says no cycling they get off if it says slow speeds they domut the delivery  cyclist are also very well behaved. As a child we had to do cycle proficiency test before we could cycle to school its time this was brought back and cycle registration and insurance.  If people have responsibility they behave better.

I'm sure in Europe you also have fast dangerous cyclists, but they don't stand out amongst the throngs of reasonable cyclists. In the UK, only the least risk averse will continue cycling.

I am insured on my bike thanks, but insurance does no confer liability, in fact it indemnifies the cyclist against an already existing liability.  Do you think drivers would be more or less careful if they had no insurance and had to pay the costs of their actions themselves?

Bikability exists to train children to cycle, where schools will engage.  

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qwerty360 replied to wycombewheeler | 2 months ago
3 likes

wycombewheeler wrote:

I'm sure in Europe you also have fast dangerous cyclists, but they don't stand out amongst the throngs of reasonable cyclists. In the UK, only the least risk averse will continue cycling.

I am insured on my bike thanks, but insurance does no confer liability, in fact it indemnifies the cyclist against an already existing liability.  Do you think drivers would be more or less careful if they had no insurance and had to pay the costs of their actions themselves?

Bikability exists to train children to cycle, where schools will engage.  

 

My understanding is that there is also the issue that if you ban riding the lawful/careful obey. The dangerous riders continue riding.

New riders tend to copy what is already happening.

 

As a result banning riders from wider pedestrianised areas can actually make things worse if you don't provide a good, clear, safe alternative (because the only riders left are either actively dangerous or copying those actively dangerous...)

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OldRidgeback replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
5 likes

Belgium and Switzerland abandoned registration for bicycles some time ago on the grounds that it wasted time and effort and achieved nothing. As far as I know, only North Korea still requires bicycle to be registered. As for European cyclists being more relaxed and considerate, you might like to try walking into a cycle lane in Amsterdam (or Munich or Berlin) during rush hour to test out your claim.

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Steve K replied to Keith Newton | 2 months ago
9 likes

Keith Newton wrote:

After living in europe for many years I find that cyclist are more relaxed and considerate  the share the pedestrian spaces with scooters, joggers etc the do not ride fast through the town as if they are on a speed trial there a completely different mentality.  Cyclist in the uk are aggressive impatient and lack social skills.

Keith Newton wrote:

The fact the cycles are not registered and insured I feel goes to some of the issue if lack of responsibility. 

Which countries in Europe did you go to where cycles were registered and insured? 

And, as the answer must be "none", your argument is self-evidently rubbish,

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Jonnie | 2 months ago
4 likes

Why is a PSPO needed? Wanton and furious cycling has been an offence for a very long time, and surely that would apply to the 'reckless cyclists' mentioned, whilst not penalising people who remain mounted, but proceed at walking pace, which, whilst not complying with the letter of the law, poses no greater threat than mobility scooters!

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john_smith replied to Jonnie | 2 months ago
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A lot more irritating than mobility scooters though.

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LeadenSkies replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
4 likes

How insightful from someone who is telling others to grow up.

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miekwidnes | 2 months ago
6 likes

Fine - as long as they actually tackle the problem

i.e. fine the people riding bikes and e-scooters recklessly

and not just fine the people riding slowly through and being careful - but are law abiding and stop when asked

 

Now even sure how you go about stopping a dangerous rider without needing several Police Officers and probably a couple of vehicles - which is probably too expensive

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Seastars | 2 months ago
3 likes

Resist. Dont pay. Dont give details to the police. They are not on your side. They let motorists literally get away with murder.

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john_smith replied to Seastars | 2 months ago
0 likes

Grow up.

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BigBear63 | 2 months ago
7 likes

Much of this lies with particular Local Authorities (LA) and their general attitude towards cyclists.

In Richmond Upon Thames and Kingston Upon Thames, cyclists & pedestrians share many thoroughfares including KUT's pedestrianised town centre and market square. Theses LAs take a sensible pro-cycling approach and even with the huge number of tourists visiting both towns I never hear of any complaints. E-scooters are a different matter as they do get alot of bad press. I believe much of stems from the lack of formal training though the same can be said about cycling, too. I'd be interested to hear if LAs and schools still provide cycling proficiency courses for pupils. CPCs should be a legal requirement for LAs & LEAs & schools should insist all pupils on bikes & e-scooters pass the course. Courses would be a better route than ridiculous fines. We need to encourage the use of 2 wheels & not put people off.

I can't speak for Southend town centre but it appears to me that some councils are run by people who see cyclists as the "lefty woke" minority and pedestrians and drivers as the blighted conservative majority. Its a wrong headed view. We are all pedestrians. We are all cyclists. Many of us are drivers. With the right attitude, LAs can provide shared spaces where all three groups can come together harmoniously.

IMO, LAs need to keep politics out of the issue and allocate more resources to ensure spaces can be shared in a safe way.

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hawkinspeter replied to BigBear63 | 2 months ago
9 likes

BigBear63 wrote:

Much of this lies with particular Local Authorities (LA) and their general attitude towards cyclists. In Richmond Upon Thames and Kingston Upon Thames, cyclists & pedestrians share many thoroughfares including KUT's pedestrianised town centre and market square. Theses LAs take a sensible pro-cycling approach and even with the huge number of tourists visiting both towns I never hear of any complaints. E-scooters are a different matter as they do get alot of bad press. I believe much of stems from the lack of formal training though the same can be said about cycling, too. I'd be interested to hear if LAs and schools still provide cycling proficiency courses for pupils. CPCs should be a legal requirement for LAs & LEAs & schools should insist all pupils on bikes & e-scooters pass the course. Courses would be a better route than ridiculous fines. We need to encourage the use of 2 wheels & not put people off. I can't speak for Southend town centre but it appears to me that some councils are run by people who see cyclists as the "lefty woke" minority and pedestrians and drivers as the blighted conservative majority. Its a wrong headed view. We are all pedestrians. We are all cyclists. Many of us are drivers. With the right attitude, LAs can provide shared spaces where all three groups can come together harmoniously. IMO, LAs need to keep politics out of the issue and allocate more resources to ensure spaces can be shared in a safe way.

The problem with these PSPOs is that they criminalise non-criminal behaviour i.e. cycling carefully. What should happen is that the police are asked to actually do their job and protect the public from any "hooligan" cyclists/e-scooterists etc.

I'd like to see the police set up random days of monitoring the area. They could set up a couple of temporary cameras or drones and keep a watch on the area. When there's a sudden outbreak of dangerous cyclists, they could then swoop in and deal with them.

Maybe the LAs are trying to do something as they know that police have been hobbled by their lack of resources.

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bikeman01 replied to hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

...police have been hobbled by their lack of resources.

Or other priorities or just plain lazyness. 

Weren't PCSOs created to tackle low level issues such as this? Why don't they patrol and deal with bad behavour?

As usual the problem is not dealt with. They just piss off law abiding citizens. 

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Muddy Ford | 2 months ago
14 likes

Are they as thorough with motorists who routinely exceed speed limits, close pass cyclists, ignore lights etc.? Could they demonstrate how they have clamped down on these, because I bet there is significantly more injuries and complaints about drivers than cyclists. Cyclists get a £100 fine for riding at 12mph and posing very little risk of killing someone, but motorists get a 'talking to' if they miss a cyclist by inches when travelling in excess of the speed limit. And only if there is a 3rd party who saw it happen, or the cyclist has multiple camera angles captured on video. Tbh I am suprised I am not expected to sit at the back of the bus, use a different entrance for restaurants, or use different toilets if I happen to be recognisable as a cyclist. 

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CyclingGardener | 2 months ago
11 likes

Southend High Street is a massively wide pedestrian area. Plenty of room to bung a cycle route down the middle and just penalise those who stray off it.
Or, of course, allow sensible cyclists and use existing rules to deal with stupid riding, illegal e-bikes etc.

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LeadenSkies replied to CyclingGardener | 2 months ago
2 likes

The whole High Street area is, or was last time I visited, a bit of a mess. Pedestrians, already distracted by phones and other things, have to weave in and out of rows of shop advertising boards, bollards, bins, seats, etc. And iirc it has that odd bit in the middle that isn't pedestrianised at all. Not sure a cycle path down the middle would work but probably not an issue for me as I mentally filed it under shopping streets with nothing to draw me back.

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eburtthebike | 2 months ago
14 likes

"........and there’s been a number of people struck and quite badly injured by dangerous riders."

Names, dates, times, places?  While I'm not suggesting that these incidents didn't happen, without evidence there is no proof that they did.  And "a number" could be anything from 1 to infinity.

The evidence shows that cyclists and pedestrians usually mix without problems, so why councils need to implement PSPOs is beyond me, unless they have a vastly exaggerated view of the risks, which is no justification for banning something.

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stonojnr replied to eburtthebike | 2 months ago
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I dont know that theres evidence cyclists and pedestrians  mix without problems, most cyclist/pedestrian mixing in places where sensible cyclists wouldnt be riding, generally doesnt get reported as a rule.

for instance just walking into my local town yesterday, I saw multiple riders on bso's and e-bso's riding on pavements where they shouldnt be, riding wrong way up streets, riding through pspo spaces, none of them were giving a flying f about pedestrians who happened to be in their way, did any of them get reported ? or did the people around them just think typical bloody cyclists ?

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eburtthebike replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
6 likes

stonojnr wrote:

I dont know that theres evidence cyclists and pedestrians  mix without problems, most cyclist/pedestrian mixing in places where sensible cyclists wouldnt be riding, generally doesnt get reported as a rule.

About 20 years ago, DfT did a report on it, which said that it generally worked well and they could find no valid reason to oppose sharing.  There is also the overwhelming evidence from abroad, France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Denmark etc, etc, where peds and cyclists mingle 24/7/365.

stonojnr wrote:

for instance just walking into my local town yesterday, I saw multiple riders on bso's and e-bso's riding on pavements where they shouldnt be, riding wrong way up streets, riding through pspo spaces, none of them were giving a flying f about pedestrians who happened to be in their way, did any of them get reported ? or did the people around them just think typical bloody cyclists ?

Do you think those riders will give a flying flamingo about a PSPO?

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stonojnr replied to eburtthebike | 2 months ago
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but its chicken and egg, if no one is documenting all the occurences of pedestrians and those riders in conflict, then any report at a high level is going to be missing data to back up any conclusions it draws, its almost absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

and do those riders give a flying flamingo, no because much like their equivalents in cars, when theres little to no enforcement of it, it becomes normalised as acceptable.

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Andrewbanshee replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
1 like

Egg came first

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chrisonabike replied to stonojnr | 2 months ago
6 likes

Another side here is normally councils are happy to build in conflict with "shared use".  Even if they make marginally more effort than just sticking up the blue sign on an existing footway, they will funnel people on foot and on bike through the same spaces in multiple places *.

I sometimes imagine council officers must have two "design cyclists" in their heads - a) cute kids up to age 12 wobbling about and b) slavering hordes of Bloody Cyclists - who could be hoodies delivering drugs and abuse or lycra-clad chippy men who only care about their speed.

A special case of Schroedinger's cyclist again?  They're both very slow and wobbly (so where it's not that important just lump them in with pedestrians) and they're like motorcyclists (so keep must keep them from killing pedestrians - and why can't they mix it with the cars and take their chances if they're keen on racing?).

* Because "our streets are too narrow" and "there isn't space for separate routes" - because we allocate almost all the space to motor vehicles first, and only then think about what to do with the scraps that are left (for the unimportant modes).

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