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Cyclists warned city's new e-bike ban will be "clamping down on any cases of reckless behaviour"

The controversial Public Space Protection Order was approved last month, councillors saying e-bike and e-scooter riders were "too fast" and making pedestrians "scared for themselves" and for "the safety of their children"...

A controversial ban on e-bikes in certain pedestrianised parts of Coventry city centre has come into force, the deputy leader of the council warning that riders can expect strict enforcement.

The new ruling, which prohibits e-bikes and e-scooters being ridden through sections of the city centre, was approved last month, Coventry City Council passing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) despite protestations from the West Midlands' walking and cycling commissioner Adam Tranter who argued such a ban would "discourage cycling and penalise responsible cyclists".

> Proposed city centre e-bike ban will "discourage cycling and penalise responsible cyclists", says cycling and walking commissioner

Following an education period, during which Coventry Live reports officers from city organisations have been visiting "a large number of takeaway businesses in the city centre and spoken to delivery riders on e-bikes", enforcement is now expected to be ramped up.

Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, who argued in favour of the PSPO as a means of tackling people riding "too fast", confirmed that enforcement will now "be increasing".

"There has been an indication that the message is getting across to riders," he said. "But enforcement action will be increasing. It is a partnership effort, all with the aim of protecting pedestrians in the city centre.

"We want to encourage different forms of sustainable transport across the city, but every traffic user needs to take responsibility, and not be a risk to others. We will also be clamping down on any cases of reckless behaviour on both manual cycles and scooters."

On top of the outright ban on riding an e-bike in certain areas, potentially resulting in a fixed penalty notice if caught, the PSPO also states that "any person riding a pedal cycle, skateboarding or riding a manual scooter must do so in a careful and considerate manner and must dismount if requested to do so by an enforcing officer when continuing to ride would cause a danger to the public or public offence. Failure to comply will leave them liable to enforcement."

The council has been keen to stress that disabled people using bicycles as mobility aids will not be impacted, but walking and cycling commissioner Tranter has argued that prohibiting the use of e-bikes – and not just illegally modified or non-pedal-assist forms of electric bike – will also "bring unintended consequences for active travel overall".

Coventry Bicycle Mayor Adam Tranter cycling past the city's cathedral

"But throughout this process, I have been clear that the council and police already have the powers to enforce against this as the existing PSPO states that any person cycling or skateboarding must do so in a careful and considerate manner," he said.

"The police have powers to deal with any person riding illegal vehicles, such as e-scooters or powerful e-bikes which do not conform to the Electrically assisted pedal cycle regulations 1983, and which are likely to be the cause of much of the public's concern.

"I am grateful to the council for taking some of my feedback on board as part of the consultation… The exemption from the PSPO of people using standard cycles and those using cycling as a mobility aid is welcome, however, the current recommendation for the approval next week will still ban the use of all e-bikes in the city centre core."

The ban came despite the council's own director of transport Colin Knight admitting that "ideally we would have" provided a "clearly defined network of paths that are suitable for cyclists" before banning e-bike riders from a large section of the city centre.

However, he said, "this is a serious public safety issue so we've absolutely got to address that" as well as working to offer "alternative routes" with funding from Active Travel England.

Such PSPOs are nothing new of course, last February cyclists in Bedford staged a protest ride aimed at a "discriminatory" town centre bike ban, while this summer Hammersmith and Fulham Council introduced an e-bike and e-scooter ban along part of the Thames Path.

A pensioner in Grimsby also made headlines when he told the council to stick its £100 fine for cycling in the town centre "up your a***", saying he would "rather go to prison than give them £100".

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

Last month, police in Nuneaton said they had asked the council to introduce a no cycle zone to cut out "really dangerous" cycling and "anti-social behaviour" in the shopping area, saying that "we get a lot of kids wheelie-ing through and it sets the wrong tone".

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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36 comments

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JimTheGlawsFan | 2 months ago
1 like

Delivery riders aren't on ebikes (in the incredibly vast majority), they're on illegal home made motorcycles.
They are not pedal assist, they are motorised. They are not taxed, insured, MOTd, ridden by license holders.
Make delivery riders use legal vehicles and the problem is much reduced.

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peted76 | 2 months ago
1 like

I can attest that in Coventry in particular, scooters and delivery bikes can be an absolute menace. Every town has it's issues with them obvs.. but it is bad in Cov. However saying that if Tranter is against the ban then I support his view. 

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Born_peddling | 2 months ago
1 like

The biggest problem with delivery riders is the vast majority have come from countries that don't have our cycle proficiency course (such recognized that our own cops can't ride a bike as a cop without that piece of paper!). When I was a kid it was pretty standard for year 6 to start this course being taught traffic rules and laws and understanding of signs and drivers made children aware of the dangers. The biggest issue is the delivery companies not realizing they're forcing workers to operate outside the law in the greyiest capacity. I've seen many a delivery rider hammering the wrong way down a one way street, to be completely miffed why there's an angry driver shouting at them. Chastising those whom are responsible will only result in Coventry becoming a ghost town... again

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chrisonabike replied to Born_peddling | 2 months ago
1 like
Born_peddling wrote:

The biggest problem with delivery riders is the vast majority have come from countries that don't have our cycle proficiency course (such recognized that our own cops can't ride a bike as a cop without that piece of paper!).

While I would applaud a much more comprehensive approach to road education* I don't think this is the biggest problem - or even in the top three, say.

Born_peddling wrote:

The biggest issue is the delivery companies not realizing they're forcing workers to operate outside the law in the greyiest capacity.

Au contraire - I think the biggest issue is that the opposite applies!  If we're talking about the well know recent food delivery ones (cycle couriers are a different game) it's not ignorance.  At best they don't care about these niceties.  I think we can be confident about this as their whole business model appears to involve them working around the fringes of the law on "employees / not employees".  This is handy for them as it saves them tons of money on payroll / providing appropriate benefits and protections.  It probably helps them distance themselves from any bad behaviour by staff also.

Without their staff being full employees the temptation to set policies which effectively rely on lawbreaking is going to be great.  That is an issue for the delivery sector as a whole of course - you're primarily judged on getting it there fastest, for cheapest.

* Starting early and continuing through childhood.  Of course cycle training isn't terribly useful their parents aren't keen on them cycling to school or with their friends because it doesn't look safe.  Or if they reach teenage years and there are no role-models - or anyone really - cycling - and it's all about the car.

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Stephankernow replied to Born_peddling | 2 months ago
0 likes
Born_peddling wrote:

The biggest problem with delivery riders is the vast majority have come from countries that don't have our cycle proficiency course (such recognized that our own cops can't ride a bike as a cop without that piece of paper!). When I was a kid it was pretty standard for year 6 to start this course being taught traffic rules and laws and understanding of signs and drivers made children aware of the dangers. The biggest issue is the delivery companies not realizing they're forcing workers to operate outside the law in the greyiest capacity. I've seen many a delivery rider hammering the wrong way down a one way street, to be completely miffed why there's an angry driver shouting at them. Chastising those whom are responsible will only result in Coventry becoming a ghost town... again

You have it spot on, but expect a backlash from Grauniad readers

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Dicklexic | 2 months ago
7 likes

Instead of banning ALL e-bikes, why don't they actually enforce the existing laws to prevent the use of unrestricted electric bikes, almost always being used with throttles and massively overpowered motors? I guess that would take more effort and input from the Police, who are already struggling to cope due to lack of funding and excessive bureaucracy.

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wtjs replied to Dicklexic | 2 months ago
4 likes

I guess that would take more effort and input from the Police

Which you're not going to get, from most forces. As a result of information from HoarseMan, it looks like Northamptonshire is one of the good forces- despite the Chief Constable being suspended for what looks like inept fraud in his CV. The bad forces are only interested in pretending to be interested in inceased effort and enforcement. Near, or at, the top of this blacklist I am, of course, nominating Lancashire Constabulary who have today issued some misinformation via the Beeb. This is hilarious, and comes on a day where the reporting of the government's response to the aged Hillsborough Report includes a statement from somebody or other that the duty of candour (admitting fault) applies already to the police. Meanwhile, in the real world, LC is fighting the usual battle over refusing to say what happened to offenders 'because of GDPR' when (according to me) they lied about what happened to an offending bus driver in actually doing nothing at all. I'm still waiting to hear if I can take the case to the Upper Tier Tribunal.

The good bit, for those interested, in the BBC article above is: And on the other side of it with the new dedicated roads policing unit is greater actual enforcement 24/7

I described WU59 UMH which I saw again yesterday despite the absence of MOT, insurance and VED for over 6 years which LC and Lancashire PCC refuse to do anything about, and I am absolutely certain there will be no response whatsoever to the report of this very close pass on a single lane one-way street. In the police, shameless lying and hypocrisy rule!   Edit: upRide now available (so still image removed), along with another unrelated new close pass

https://upride.cc/incident/gk68uzv_peugeotboxer_closepass/

https://upride.cc/incident/po22yxa_hrv_closepass/

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 2 months ago
1 like

First one - they couldn't work out you needed to avoid all the pot holes.

Second one - is that a hot spot, as the road layout looks familiar.

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brooksby | 2 months ago
3 likes
Quote:

… the PSPO also states that "any person riding a pedal cycle, skateboarding or riding a manual scooter must do so in a careful and considerate manner and must dismount if requested to do so by an enforcing officer when continuing to ride would cause a danger to the public or public offence. Failure to comply will leave them liable to enforcement."

I wonder how they are objectively defining "causing public offence"?  Seems to me likely that their Enforcement Officers will simply tell all cyclists to dismount, just in case...

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
10 likes
brooksby wrote:
Quote:

… the PSPO also states that "any person riding a pedal cycle, skateboarding or riding a manual scooter must do so in a careful and considerate manner and must dismount if requested to do so by an enforcing officer when continuing to ride would cause a danger to the public or public offence. Failure to comply will leave them liable to enforcement."

I wonder how they are objectively defining "causing public offence"?  Seems to me likely that their Enforcement Officers will simply tell all cyclists to dismount, just in case...

They just use a skin colour chart

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grOg replied to hawkinspeter | 2 months ago
0 likes

how far left are you..

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Hirsute replied to grOg | 2 months ago
2 likes

Not that you've ever made racist comments on here and the mods had to remove them...

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hawkinspeter replied to grOg | 2 months ago
3 likes
grOg wrote:

how far left are you..

Hold on a minute - are you saying that wanting racist police is a right-wing policy?

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ROOTminus1 | 2 months ago
2 likes

Commendations to Cov city Council for identifying and trying to tackle a legitimate problem.
Shame they went about it by trying to polish the turd that is PSPOs.

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Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
14 likes
Quote:

"any person riding a pedal cycle, skateboarding or riding a manual scooter must do so in a careful and considerate manner"

So why not just add that condition for ebikes as well? As it stands (as far as I understand it) I could ride my ebike through at 5 mph and still be sanctioned, but I could ride my road bike through at 25 mph and only be sanctioned if I was riding in a careless or inconsiderate manner. I wonder what the deal will be if people want to ride through on an ebike with the power turned off?

As with most anti-ebike restrictions, this seems very much formulated to deal with the problem of illegal electric motorcycles that go faster than 15 mph under power and don't require pedalling. It would be fairer and more logical for the police to launch a crackdown on those machines and see if there's still a problem after that, 99% sure there wouldn't be.

As ever for those who want to sneer at people who ride legal ebikes, remember that this is the thin end of the wedge, once they've banned the ebikes there is no guarantee they'll stop there.

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wycombewheeler replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

It would be fairer and more logical for the police to launch a crackdown on those machines and see if there's still a problem after that,

But we already heard from the police that it is impossible for them to take action against users of illegal escooters. If only they had been legalised they would be able to do something.

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NOtotheEU replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
4 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

As with most anti-ebike restrictions, this seems very much formulated to deal with the problem of illegal electric motorcycles that go faster than 15 mph under power and don't require pedalling. It would be fairer and more logical for the police to launch a crackdown on those machines and see if there's still a problem after that, 99% sure there wouldn't be.

Gwent police seem to know the difference. I expected this article to be the usual anti-cycling nonsense but it seems they are actively targeting the illegal e-bikes/e-motorbikes.

https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2023-12-05/gwent-police-tackle-illegal-e-...

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Rendel Harris replied to NOtotheEU | 2 months ago
5 likes
NOtotheEU wrote:

Gwent police seem to know the difference. I expected this article to be the usual anti-cycling nonsense but it seems they are actively targeting the illegal e-bikes/e-motorbikes.

That does look good, but they are very much dealing with the problem of full on e-motorcycles, Surrons and suchlike, that look exactly like standard dirt bikes except for having electric motors. The real problem comes with people with illegal kits on their bikes, i.e. ones that allow throttle-only operation and speeds in excess of 25 km/h but in appearance are pretty similar to legal ebikes. Mind you, the police really ought to be able to tell the difference, high-powered illegal ones often have rear hub motors the size of dinner plates, and it doesn't take much to work out whether somebody is pedalling or just riding on the throttle.

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grOg replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes

They are differentiating between ebikes and normal pedal bikes and frankly, I don't have a problem with that in pedestrianised areas, as ebikes should only be used on roads, away from pedestrians.

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Rendel Harris replied to grOg | 2 months ago
1 like
grOg wrote:

They are differentiating between ebikes and normal pedal bikes and frankly, I don't have a problem with that in pedestrianised areas, as ebikes should only be used on roads, away from pedestrians.

Why is an ebike being ridden at 15mph more dangerous to pedestrians than an unpowered bike being ridden at 25mph?

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Hirsute replied to grOg | 2 months ago
2 likes

Makes complete sense as it's literally impossible to ride a normal bike beyond 25 kph. Plus ebikes are heavier.

Hang on, does that mean people over a certain mass should also be banned ?

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grOg | 2 months ago
1 like

Good on them; about time there was differentiation between human powered and electrical motor assist bicycles; I knew when they first came in with their assurance of being speed restricted and primarily pedal powered, that there would be people 'unrestricting' and custom building higher speed ebikes, which should be confiscated and crushed.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to grOg | 2 months ago
14 likes

An eBike is human powered. It can't move unless the rider pedals. Illegal eBikes (throttles, 'chipped', etc) are a different matter. But a blanket ban on eBikes is a negative thing. 

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Muddy Ford replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 months ago
1 like
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

An eBike is human powered. It can't move unless the rider pedals. Illegal eBikes (throttles, 'chipped', etc) are a different matter. But a blanket ban on eBikes is a negative thing. 

An ebike with a throttle and doesnt require pedalling is legal if it was built prior to 2016. I had until recently a Giant e-bike with a throttle. It was heavy, the motor would kick in rather than blend in and when you hit that back to the future speed of 15.5mph it would cut out and drag you back down to 11mph then repeat the process.

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Rendel Harris replied to grOg | 2 months ago
15 likes

About time there was differentiation between legally driven and illegally driven motor vehicles; I knew when they first came in with their assurance that there would be speed limits that there would be people who would drive faster than the speed limit, they should have their cars confiscated and crushed.

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grOg replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes

I completely agree; anyone caught speeding should have their vehicles confiscated and crushed.

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CyclingGardener | 2 months ago
3 likes

My sister lives in 'Cov', and seems to be regularly cycling to work atm. She's been muttering for a while about the increasing numbers of obviously illegal food delivery bikes in the city, and says she is 'swarmed' every day as she sets off from work on the new segregated cycle route.
I asked about the Precinct - where the ban is, and where she does also cycle (carefully!) - and she says the illegal bikes genuinely are a problem, zooming around randomly amongst pedestrians, riders often on their phones etc. and would be very happy to see them removed. So, unusually, this does seem to be an attempt to solve an actual problem without banning cycling outright.

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Car Delenda Est replied to CyclingGardener | 2 months ago
7 likes

Seeing as illegal ebikes were already illegal but unenforced I don't see a possibility of this being used to do anything other than harass legal bike users.

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HoldingOn replied to Car Delenda Est | 2 months ago
5 likes
Car Delenda Est wrote:

Seeing as illegal ebikes were already illegal but unenforced I don't see a possibility of this being used to do anything other than harass legal bike users.

Exactly this - this always confuses me when they announce bans on eScooters. Why would you ban something that is already illegal? (same for the eMotorbikes as you point out)

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CyclingGardener replied to Car Delenda Est | 2 months ago
0 likes

Or just being seen to do something? I totally agree re use of existing powers - was just providing some local info. And they don't seem to mind legal bikes - sister says when she's seen police they've just glanced at her and moved on.

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