Police in Lancashire are cracking down on cyclists riding on the pavement while road closures are in place, after the local authority claimed the footpath-using cyclists were “causing risk to public safety” by riding at “breakneck speed”.
Preston’s Riverside has been closed to traffic since April to enable the construction of new flood defences, as part of the city council’s Flood Risk Management scheme. According to Lancashire Police, since the road was closed there have been “several reports” of cyclists riding on pavements and failing to follow the Guild Wheel diversion route.
Preston City Council has also claimed that “the ongoing failure to follow the diversions is causing risk to public safety after many reports of people being injured or near misses” involving cyclists and pedestrians.
Earlier this week, local councillors, Lancashire Police, and staff from the Environment Agency spent the morning in the Riverside area, speaking to cyclists about the need to dismount on the pavement or use the diversion route.
The council added that the local Police Community Support Officer will also be increasing patrols on the Riverside, with the aim of taking “appropriate action” – such as issuing Fixed Penalty Notices – against cyclists failing to adhere to the diversions.
Preston City Council also says it will use its online channels to promote the diversions, as well as “responsible” cycling etiquette in the area.
Councillor Carol Henshaw, who has campaigned on behalf of residents in the city centre to put a stop to what she calls “irresponsible cycling”, said in a statement: “Residents are concerned for the safety of the more vulnerable in the community, young children, or older residents with poor mobility that are at risk of getting hurt.
“Some cyclists using the path go at breakneck speed and there’s not enough time for people to get out of their way. It is only a small section of pathway, and it is very narrow. We are urging cyclists to be respectful of other users and to dismount for the short section.”
“Public safety is a priority,” added Preston’s cabinet member for environment and community safety, Freddie Bailey. “The pavements along Riverside are too narrow for cyclists and there have been a couple of accidents, which is not acceptable.
“It will only take a dismounted cyclist a couple of minutes to walk from Miller Park to Penwortham Old Bridge, where they can start cycling again. If a cyclist doesn’t want to dismount, then they can use the diversion route along South Meadow Lane and through Andy’s Bee Meadow.”
The crackdown on “irresponsible” cycling during roadworks in Preston comes a few months after Bristol’s mayor promised to reassess a diversion on one of the city’s main cycle routes, which redirected cyclists onto what councillors and local campaigners have described as a “risky” and “unsafe” main road, as well as forcing them to walk their bikes along a stretch of narrow pavement.
Concorde Way, a flagship cycle route which connects the north of Bristol to the city centre and is used by 1,000 cyclists a day, will be closed for at least a year to make way for the construction of a new railway station and a diversion put in place. Bristol Cycling Campaign has claimed that the plans are rushed and that the 500-metre stretch of Muller Road used by the diversion is unsafe.
However, Labour mayor Marvin Rees insisted that the “temporary closure” of the Concorde Way cycle route will not bring pedestrians into conflict with cyclists, and that the council is comfortable that “there is no better solution” to the current diversion.
Rees also refuted a Green Party councillor’s suggestion that private motorists belong at the “bottom” of the hierarchy of road users included in the Highway Code, claiming that the councillor’s language “betrayed” his attitude towards drivers and that “everyone in the road user hierarchy must share space in a safe way”.
Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.