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"We get a lot of kids wheelie-ing through": Police claim danger of "anti-social behaviour" should be tackled with town centre cycling ban

The police force has now called upon the council to extend the pedestrianisation rules to also prohibit cycling through the town centre

Police in one Warwickshire town have 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".

Inspector Kris Shore of Nuneaton's police force told a council scrutiny meeting that officers want more power to stop anti-social cycling in the town, Coventry Live reports, with "kids wheelie-ing around" and cyclists apparently "just rifling though the town".

While the town centre is already a pedestrianised zone, those on bicycles are still allowed access, the local police now calling upon Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council to extend the pedestrianisation rules to also prohibit cyclists from riding through the area.

This could be pursued through the use of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which allows councils to crack down on anti-social behaviour by enabling officers to issue fines to those who break rules on matters such as dog control, street drinking or in this case cycling in a pedestrianised area.

One such controversial PSPO, in Grimsby, has seen over 1,000 fixed penalty notices issued since 2019, with council officers accused of targeting "old and slow" cyclists and one woman ordered to pay £1,100 after refusing to pay the fine for riding her bicycle through the town centre.

> "Stick it up your a*se", 82-year-old tells council officer after being fined £100 for cycling in town centre

In Nuneaton, Insp. Shore said he wants to see the town centre "fully pedestrianised" also and called for the council to approve the measures to grant officers "extra powers to stop" cyclists.

"We did a lot of engagement around the Knife Angel [a sculpture in Nuneaton], we were in the town centre quite a lot and we had people on push bikes just rifling though the town," he said. "For me, it is a pedestrianised area of town, and it is really dangerous to be riding straight through there.

"We get a lot of kids wheelie-ing through and it sets the wrong tone. It is ASB (anti-social behaviour) in itself for me. We have asked the council to see what the scope is, from our point of view, to ask them to make it a proper pedestrianised area. So if you are on a push bike, riding it through the town, you have to get off your bike until you get to the other side of the limit of the pedestrian zone.

"As you know, a lot of the kids are wearing bandannas across their faces, so this would give us those extra powers to stop them and find out who these kids are and it leads on to us tackling the anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

"I want the town centre to be a safe place, not kids wheelie-ing around people while they are trying to do their shopping. It is something that is on my mind, I have asked the question about making it a pedestrian zone only and having bikes pushed through it and the same with scooters as well."

Responding to the comments, town councillor Keith Kondakor said it was important that any changes were "sensible" as any ban could prevent "responsible cyclists" accessing parts of the town by bike, while "the non-responsible ones don't care anyway" about their actions being prohibited.

Cycling UK's Duncan Dollimore has also previously raised concerns about town centre cycling bans, saying that "some councils have used PSPOs as a geographically defined version of an ASBO to restrict the use of public space and criminalise behaviour not normally regarded as illegal".

Last year cyclists in Bedford protested a "discriminatory" town centre cycling ban, with more than 3,200 tickets handed out to people, including around-the-world cyclist Josh Quigley, caught breaking the rules.  

Elsewhere, the aforementioned ban in Grimsby caused outrage after an 82-year-old man was fined £100 for riding his bike through the Lincolnshire town. Barrie Enderby made headlines and won admirers by telling the the council it could stick the fine "up your a*se" and insiting that he would rather go to jail than pay it.

Unhappy locals have accused the council's officers of targeting "old and slow" cyclists while ignoring youths "racing up and down".

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

In July, a female cyclist was ordered to pay over £1,100 in fines and costs after refusing to pay the fixed penalty notice for riding through the town centre.

Then, in September, campaigners called for clearer signage to reduce "risk of confrontation" with pedestrians who may incorrectly believe that the ban includes prohibiting those who use bikes or adapted cycles as a mobility aid. Responding to questions from road.cc, North East Lincolnshire Council insisted that no disabled cyclists would be fined under the PSPO.

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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38 comments

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miekwidnes | 5 months ago
2 likes

Great

So another pedestrianised area where decent cyclist tootle trhough slowly and respectfully and get asked to stop by an enforcement officer - and do so and get fined

And the local lads do circuits through it "for a laugh" and never stop when told to do so

After all - how exactly do they expect to stop a 14 year old on a bike if he (normally a he!) just rides off and you have no way to identify him??

Oh - yes - you could employ several otehr people with better powers (i.e. Police Officers) to block the exits - but even then if he gets onto a road then a car would be needed and they are not going to knock him off his bike - and eventually he will just turn up a one way street with an opening at the end and get away

In the meantime - 5 other respectful cyclists have been fined again

 

or is that just me??

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David9694 replied to miekwidnes | 5 months ago
0 likes

Gosh wait til you hear about cars, Inspector Shore.

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chrisonabike replied to miekwidnes | 5 months ago
3 likes
miekwidnes wrote:

Oh - yes - you could employ several otehr people with better powers (i.e. Police Officers) to block the exits - but even then if he gets onto a road then a car would be needed and they are not going to knock him off his bike - and eventually he will just turn up a one way street with an opening at the end and get away

Well if he has a water pistol and is black the Met police would have no issues doing just that.

UPDATE - the Met have investigated themselves and said him being black had nothing to do with anything and they acted entirely appropriately. Because the water pistol looked like a pistol. Albeit a colourful one, which fired water. So obviously ignore my last statement.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-67148208

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Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
3 likes

Also worth noting that the lad on the bike had been reported by another officer as a firearms suspect when playing with plastic water pistols with his sister (he had a blue one, she had a pink one), when the firearms unit arrived he didn't even have the water pistol on him, he was just riding his bike, but this didn't stop them deliberately knocking him off his bike, surrounding him and pointing firearms at him with laser sights switched on. But as you say, their own investigation has found they were absolutely in the right so that's fine.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
4 likes

He was lucky he wasn't misidentified as a Brazilian electrician.

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exilegareth | 5 months ago
1 like

The problem here is that you can get to be a Police Inspector with no idea of the difference between anecdote and data, or how to do evidence based decision making. So Inspector Knacker turns up at the local liaison meeting and proposes that all residents should plant pampas grass outside their houses to keep rogue elephants away, because he's got it and he's never been troubled by a rogue elephant, and local politicians defer because he's Knacker of the Yard...

As someone who has to do evidence based decision making, I despair of these dimwitted loons who play to the crowd at these sorts of meetings.

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mattw | 5 months ago
0 likes

Serious Question.

Can PSPOs actually be enforced against minors?

IIRC in Grimsby that was the stated reason, and they found they could do nothing so ended up pulling pensioners.

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Tom_77 replied to mattw | 5 months ago
2 likes

mattw wrote:

Serious Question.

Can PSPOs actually be enforced against minors?

IIRC in Grimsby that was the stated reason, and they found they could do nothing so ended up pulling pensioners.

The age of criminal responsibility is 10 years (12 in Scotland), so a PSPO can be enforced on anyone over that age. However, special procedures are usually required for under-18s so it's more difficult.

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Global Nomad | 5 months ago
5 likes

if there are a few pedestrians behaving in an anti-social manner will they ban all pedestrians? 

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hawkinspeter replied to Global Nomad | 5 months ago
3 likes

Global Nomad wrote:

if there are a few pedestrians behaving in an anti-social manner will they ban all pedestrians? 

Is that like closing a road to motor vehicles when there's consistent speeding?

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Deja_vu160 | 6 months ago
7 likes

As a not so proud Nuneatonite who lacks the skills to "pop wheelies", I do wonder about the council and police's ability to tackle ASB cycling when they can't even enforce the rules regarding drivers in the pedestrianised zone. They've got automatic raising bollards that simply lower to let any vehicle and driver in 🤦‍♂️

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ROOTminus1 replied to Deja_vu160 | 6 months ago
1 like

Someone else who admits to being from sunny-nunny, my sympathies that you haven't made it out yet.

Applying for a PSPO insinuates that there's anything left in Nuneaton town centre to protect. Surely the council can't be that concerned that the kids are going to scratch the diggers which are ripping everything up.
Not to mention the failure of the police to prevent triple-parked cars up the top end of Abbey street

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bensynnock | 6 months ago
7 likes

Here in Southampton we have a pedestrianised high street on which cycling is permitted. In fact it's still classified as a road, except it's blocked off at both ends. The problem is that a lot of people don't know that cycling is permitted and you will sometimes be confronted by pedestrians, or even by the police demanding that you dismount. The local paper published a letter calling for the rules about cycling in the pedestrian area to be enforced, but there are no rules to enforce as cycling is permitted.

Personally, I will only ride down there if it's quiet. People are stupid and unpredictable and it just takes too long to get through if it's busy.

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Car Delenda Est replied to bensynnock | 5 months ago
2 likes

It really shows that journalism has declined when local news fact checking doesn't even include googling if the basic premise of the article is true.

Another good example is Brighton's local got very concerned about 'vandalism' of council signage. The 'signage' in question was stencil graffiti saying 'no cycling' on a cycle path...

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HoarseMann | 6 months ago
7 likes

If the problem is cyclists pulling wheelies, can they not just ban wheelies?

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Tom_77 replied to HoarseMann | 6 months ago
2 likes

HoarseMann wrote:

If the problem is cyclists pulling wheelies, can they not just ban wheelies?

Local byelaws are often phrased something along the lines of "No person shall [do X] in such a manner as to cause danger or nuisance..."

I don't see why PSPOs cannot be written along these lines, rather than the more usual "No person shall [do X]".
 

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mattw replied to Tom_77 | 5 months ago
0 likes

That requires thought, and Captain Mainwaring is a plank.

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Rendel Harris replied to HoarseMann | 5 months ago
3 likes

HoarseMann wrote:

If the problem is cyclists pulling wheelies, can they not just ban wheelies?

That would suit me fine, I'm shit at them, "Oh I could do a Sagan no-hander but unfortunately they're banned, you see..."

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cyclisto | 6 months ago
10 likes

It is a right measure banning cycling from pedestrian zones. Just look at how many hundreds of pedestrians are killed by speeding cyclists in UK every year.

I haven't seen the exact stats, but given that hundreds of pedestrians are killed in public roads by motor traffic, I am sure they must be at leasts hundreds or even thousands. Could it be possibly be millions?

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chrisonabike replied to cyclisto | 6 months ago
11 likes

cyclisto wrote:

It is a right measure banning cycling from pedestrian zones. Just look at how many hundreds of pedestrians are killed by speeding cyclists in UK every year.

I haven't seen the exact stats, but given that hundreds of pedestrians are killed in public roads by motor traffic, I am sure they must be at leasts hundreds or even thousands. Could it be possibly be millions?

You never see these figures because there are no witnesses left.

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brooksby | 6 months ago
7 likes

I didn't think that "power to stop anti-social cycling in the town" was the same as "power to stop ALL cycling in the town, whether antisocial or not".  Am I being dense?

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mattw replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
2 likes

The thing you are flagging up there is that the current Govt took sensible checking of PSPOs back 2014, and objections to PSPOs are deliberately made difficult and expensive.

So Councils have carte blanche to do whatever they dream up, and holding to account is massively difficult.

The upshot is that we end up with Dogs' Breakfasts as recently created in Hammersmith and Fulham where they have banned things that do not exists ("E-Bikes"), and their officers will be abusing people perfectly legally riding pedal cycles. 

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eburtthebike | 6 months ago
5 likes

TBH, I thought that Inspector Kris Shore must have a case, after all, the police wouldn't waste the time of an inspector on such minor things when they have shoplifting, speeding, burglary, assault and RTAs to deal with would they?

Or more likely the good inspector is rabidly anti-cyclist.

To bring in an ASBO surely demands some sort of proof, and saying that kids are wheelie-ing around the place hardly constitutes that.  If the inspector can't provide such proof, they should go back to inspector school until they understand that you can't just bring in new rules because you want to, you have to demonstrate need, with facts.

As Cllr Keith Kondakor points out, it won't affect the kids doing the wheelies who will be encouraged even more by defying the rule.  The only people it will affect are the responsible cyclists, and they will be deterred from riding and will become contemptuous of the police and the council. 

So the ASBO won't achieve its sole aim and will bring the council and police into disrepute.  Possibly not quite the win-win the inspector should be looking for.

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mattw replied to eburtthebike | 5 months ago
2 likes

A PSPO is not an ASBO, and does not require much proof - it's more based on assumptions and alleged likelihoods.

https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/10.21%20PSPO%20gu...

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Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
17 likes

Really poor reporting here, you've omitted to mention the number of people that have been killed, seriously injured or slightly injured by these terror cycling gangs. Clearly it must be a very significant figure for the police to justify calling for such draconian action?

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bensynnock replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
10 likes

Countless people have been almost killed by cyclists. It's an epidemic!

I nearly killed three old ladies and their 17 dogs after riding past them on Southampton common at the unsafe speed of 6mph.

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eburtthebike replied to bensynnock | 6 months ago
3 likes

bensynnock wrote:

Countless people have been almost killed by cyclists. It's an epidemic! I nearly killed three old ladies and their 17 dogs after riding past them on Southampton common at the unsafe speed of 6mph.

Three!  Amateur.

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tootsie323 | 6 months ago
14 likes

One stretch of road near my place gets a few boy racers popping their big-bore exhausts and squealing their tyres. Perhaps we should ban drivers from that specific stretch...

Edit: by 'few,' naturally I mean 'quite a lot.'

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Pedal those squares | 6 months ago
4 likes

Just a question ... how many are "kids wheelie-ing around" are there?  My guess is about 4 or 5.  Deal with them problem sloved. 

If they are "kids" what are the consequinces for them if cycling is band?  Told not to do it again?  Because it would not be (AND should not be) detention for x months.

How many cars are "Wizzing down the roads" above the speed limit just 100 yards away?

Why not just ban wheelies in the town centre?

Why ban granny cycling to the shops, so the world is a better place for the grandchildren?

*Monday rant over

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Boopop | 6 months ago
4 likes

Does anyone in power who's considering this measure have any evidence that such PSPO's actually reduce the occurence of dangerous cycling in the areas where they're enforced? I doubt it. I'm sure they'll go ahead with it anyway, and then as the trope goes in a few months there'll be some seventy-something year old lady getting her groceries copping a £100 fine.

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