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Councillor slams cyclists riding “at breakneck speed” on pavement, as police officers increase patrols targeting people on bikes during road closures

According to the council, there have been “many reports of people being injured or near misses” due to cyclists failing to follow diversion signs

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.

> Questions asked after another police force keen to highlight crackdown on cyclists jumping red lights

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.

> "We introduced him to rugby": Police boast of tackling cyclist who jumped red light

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.”

> Mayor promises to reassess “risky” cycle route diversion on busy “unsafe” road – but says making cyclists use narrow pavement will not create conflict with pedestrians

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.

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40 comments

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Muddy Ford | 2 months ago
0 likes

Are these same police clamping down on motorists who exceed speed limits and drive dangerously close to cyclists? Yep, did'nt think so...

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wtjs replied to Muddy Ford | 2 months ago
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Are these same police clamping down on motorists who exceed speed limits and drive dangerously close to cyclists?

Definitely not to the latter, and don't know to the former. I do know for sure that they do nothing whatsoever about blatant red light offences, 'because everybody does it'. The latest 2 offences to receive the Lancashire Constabulary 'offence? what offence?' No Response Special are

https://upride.cc/incident/pj23vmc_honda125_redlightcross/ and this 44 Tonner G16 DHT of Hartley's Transport and Training, Lancaster

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Bigfoz | 7 months ago
4 likes

What is the actual definition of "Breakneck speed"? Is it 10mph? is it 20mph? Is it 30mph? No. Actually it's a speed that when you try to stop, you roll over the front of your penny farthing and break your neck. Good to see politicians with their fingers on the pulses of modern tech.  Also, technically, you could break your neck off a penny farthing (or more correctly an "ordinary bicycle") at really slow speed - in fact it might be more likely!

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chrisonabike replied to Bigfoz | 7 months ago
3 likes
Bigfoz wrote:

What is the actual definition of "Breakneck speed"?

The formal definition is "when you cover more than the length of a piece of string in the blink of an eye".

Or alternatively "The speed someone else is going which I think is too fast - which bears no relation to speeds I might go myself, or the 'safe' or 'appropriate' speeds for that person to go in that environment (also open to debate)".

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brooksby | 7 months ago
1 like

So they'll put a dedicated team in place because of "several reports" of inconsiderate cycling?  Does "several" mean "a F of a lot!" in Preston?

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wtjs | 7 months ago
6 likes

I thought it was the law that 'breakneck speed' and 'irresponsible cycling' must be accompanied by 'lycra-clad'?

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chrisonabike replied to wtjs | 7 months ago
1 like
wtjs wrote:

I thought it was the law that 'breakneck speed' and 'irresponsible cycling' must be accompanied by 'lycra-clad'?

There is an alternative - "masked" / "hooligan" / "hoodie" (must be an update on that, that's Cameron-era?) - some reference to low-status criminals, generally young.  (Fixie / alleycat subgenre as well?)

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HoarseMann | 7 months ago
2 likes

Is this the right place: https://goo.gl/maps/MYfVKdEAbvGR4hbz9

If so, my understanding is the lower cycle track has been closed for the flood works. This cycle track appears to be narrower than the higher level footpath, yet it's shared use. How can it be ok to have pedestrians mixing with cyclists on the low narrow path, yet not on the wider upper path?

Surely the solution here is to make the lower path pedestrians only and the wider upper path shared use, or even better, a two-way cycle lane.

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to HoarseMann | 7 months ago
0 likes

The lower path is the cycle path, it is part of the Guild Wheel. It isn't narrower than the upper path, they're both about the same width. But many pedestrians don't walk on the upper footpath, but walk on the lower cycle path. The upper path is also currently closed off at that point in the photo. It would not work to swap the paths over, as the lower cycle path joins the road on either side whereas the upper path is pavement from the cobbled bridge all the way to the Continental pub, hence why the cycle path is marked as a cycle path, not that many people take notice. 

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HoarseMann replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 7 months ago
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Fair enough. I guess if flooding is an issue here, then the council could consider making a properly signed alternative route, with road markings etc. that avoids that low section.

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Rik Mayals unde... | 7 months ago
7 likes

I ride this path regularly. Until the flood defence works, it was part of my daily commute. The cyclist diversion has only in the past week or so been put in place. Before that the sign asked cyclists to dismount and walk through the works, the only thing cyclists could do anyway as the remaining path is too narrow to cycle on.

The diversion is a joke, the signage is very poor. The first time I rode it, I ended up at the end of a greasy moss filled back alley behind a row of houses, and had to ride between trees over long grass to get back on the diversion, getting badly stung by nettles in the process. I rode it again today, making sure that I did not miss any signs the previous time. I did not, the signs are very poor. As this is part of the busy Guild Wheel, and is used by hundreds of cyclists each week, the diversion should be much clearer. It simply is not good enough.

Far andf away, the greatest danger through the park and along the river comes from dog walkers with 100 ft invisible leads, people walking whilst wearing earbuds, oblivious to anyone around them, and the regular park runs, where hundreds turn up and take over the park paths, stopping anyone on two wheels from getting through, these idiots also run along the aformentioned path at speed. Are the complainers not complaining about them too?

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perce replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 7 months ago
4 likes

Wow! It's almost as though Nigel doesn't know the area at all and is in fact talking out of his bottom. Who'd have thought it?

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Brauchsel replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 7 months ago
4 likes

"the regular park runs, where hundreds turn up and take over the park paths, stopping anyone on two wheels from getting through, these idiots also run along the aformentioned path at speed."

Come on, parkrun takes place at 9am on a Saturday morning only and lasts no more than an hour. Don't be the guy tooting his horn at someone travelling slower than him, or pretending that a well-advertised and time-limited event is going to seriously inconvenience him. 

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chrisonabike replied to Brauchsel | 7 months ago
1 like

I agree ... but I'm not reading about drivers complaining about parkrun events.

Back to our old chicken and egg of "not worth the effort of proper cycling provision because barely anyone cycles."

Of course it's a massive task but if those making the routes - or indeed diversions - aren't providing leadership and vision (building it well enough *so* they'll come) makes you wonder why they're doing it at all...

https://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2010/08/road-works-vs-dutch-cyclis...

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Off the back replied to Brauchsel | 7 months ago
1 like

And since park runs are always at the same time, you kind of know its going to happen. Maybe best thing would be to avoid the area at that time?!? It is a bit like complaining about all the kids walking on the paths at 8.30 near schools. Who'd of thunk it? 

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to Off the back | 7 months ago
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Well, I could ask my boss if I could start work at a different time? 
I have no problem with people using the park for fitness, but when they don't care about other park users, then I do. 

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HoarseMann replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 7 months ago
2 likes

The official diversion looks to take you the wrong way up a one-way street!

https://goo.gl/maps/7KS3E2C22kRH4ayp9

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perce replied to HoarseMann | 7 months ago
2 likes

I'm surprised Nigel didn't know that. 

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to HoarseMann | 7 months ago
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No it doesn't. It brings you out after the two one way roads. 

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HoarseMann replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 7 months ago
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Biker Phil wrote:

No it doesn't. It brings you out after the two one way roads. 

It just looks a bit like it on the maps, but maybe google maps needs updating.

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dolphy | 7 months ago
10 likes

And another thing. I know this area well, it's part of my Sunday afternoon jaunt from Essex to Berwick on Tweed. This is obviously a plot by the left wing cycling militia to scare people into staying within their fifteen minute ghettoes. As responsible cyclists we need to help stamp this out before it becomes a nationwide problem. Don't forget to salute drivers when they pass you

Over and out.

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Mungecrundle | 7 months ago
10 likes

Link to Lancashire RTA stats for 2021 and provisional figures for 2022.

https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/lancashire-insight/community-safety/road-c...

To quote a line.

"In the Lancashire-12 area, there were 2,068 reported road traffic collisions during 2021. Regrettably 32 people were killed, and 717 people were seriously injured"

So fuck me, but those breakneck speed cyclists in Preston must be maiming at least a dozen people every week to have Police resources allocated and prioritised for enforcement actions.

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eburtthebike | 7 months ago
11 likes

"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."

"“Public safety is a priority,” added Preston’s cabinet member for environment and community safety, Freddie Bailey."

Strange how the most vulnerable only become a priority when the danger is posed by cyclists, not drivers.

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Muddy Ford | 7 months ago
12 likes

Are there genuinely many reports of people being injured by cyclists on this path? Must be hundreds of incidents if the police prioritise time and effort to be on the scene to talk to and possible fine cyclists. Because despite thousands of reported close passes and cyclists being injured or killed every day, the police don't think there are enough incidents to warrant being on the roads to prosecute dangerous drivers. I'm not condoning cyclists who crash into pedestrians when they have been asked to take another dedicated cycle route, but it seems when the shouty gammons eventually get out of their cars and walk somewhere they only have to complain a couple of times about close passes from cyclists and the police are all over it.  

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to Muddy Ford | 7 months ago
6 likes

No there isn't. It must be bollocks, I read all the local blog sites and news site daily, and have never read a story about anyone getting 'mown down' by a cyclist through the park or local area.

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Global Nomad | 7 months ago
11 likes

always thought the request to dismount slightly odd - takes up much more space and makes it harder for others to pass on narrow paths.....riding slowly or considerately is actually what's needed, or as noted in the comments, providing suitable space for everyone even with roadworks.

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Oldfatgit replied to Global Nomad | 7 months ago
5 likes

In circumstances like this, it's not about taking up more space, it's about appearing to be less intimidating, and more considerate and respectful to other users of the pathway.

To someone unstable of their legs, or unable to move quickly, a cyclist *can* appear threating, especially in a narrow space.
Dismounted, the cyclist is merely a pedestrian, and as such easier to avoid.

I don't know the area, but there is mention of a route that does not involve dismounting; as a disabled rider, I would be more likely to use that than a clearly marked zone where there is a high potential for conflict.

In before ... No, they wouldn't ask drivers to get out and push their vehicle,BUT we get asked to ... yep, and? Basic physics. You can push you <25kg bike.

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Adam Sutton replied to Oldfatgit | 7 months ago
0 likes

That sounds like common sense. I doubt it will fly well here then!

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Lycra Lout replied to Oldfatgit | 7 months ago
3 likes

Honestly, I don't care. I cycle slowly if need  be but I'm not going to dismount, sorry. If they want people to feel less intimidated they can make the path wider. It's their problem. This never applies when it is drivers that cause intimidation, for example with bad crossings.

"In before ... No, they wouldn't ask drivers to get out and push their vehicle,BUT we get asked to ... yep, and?" That's a completely valid point though. It's a cycle route, not a walk-with-your bike route. And as a disabled rider you'd think you'd understand why it is more than an inconvenience to some.

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Bill H replied to Global Nomad | 7 months ago
1 like

@Global Nomad - You will reach an age where the worst three words in the English language are "had a fall". Whatever the cause, losing balance can have very serious consequences for older people.

People on the pavement may prefer to be inconvenienced by making room for bike and owner to squeeze past, than risk being struck.
Riders, like drivers, are people convinced of their own abilities. Others may not share our confidence and experience backs them!

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