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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 is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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38 comments

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CyclingInGawler | 7 months ago
11 likes

Hmmmmm....... were I a resident of Nuneaton I think I'd just be extremely grateful that the police have reduced the incidence of murder, rape, violent theft, death from motoring offences, and, obviously, even dangerous and anti-social motoring to such a low level that the local inspector has time to devote to the menace of some cyclists riding in a perceived anti-social manner through the town centre. I can only assume that he has reams of data to justify his current focus on this issue, to the extent of asking the council to become involved. Based on the report it sounds like sledgehammer meets nut.

 

Avatar
EM69 replied to CyclingInGawler | 7 months ago
3 likes

Steady on, talking facts like this on sites like this could now be classed as hate crime.

Avatar
KDee replied to EM69 | 7 months ago
2 likes

Which facts? The only fact I can deduce from CyclingInGawler's post is that they do not live in Nuneaton. The rest seems like well aimed parody to me.

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belugabob replied to CyclingInGawler | 7 months ago
2 likes

If (when) the ban comes in, the kids will have to resort to wheelying around the ring road, instead.
Then, due to the poor signage on that ring road (if you follow the "through traffic" signs, you'll just end up where you started) then they'll be on it until they are no longer kids, and can happily Wheely through town to their destination.

Disclaimer - the situation may have improved, since I moved away from the Midlands, 30 years ago.

Avatar
ROOTminus1 replied to belugabob | 7 months ago
0 likes
belugabob wrote:

Disclaimer - the situation may have improved, since I moved away from the Midlands, 30 years ago.

It is different now, but improvement is wishful thinking

Avatar
belugabob replied to ROOTminus1 | 7 months ago
0 likes
ROOTminus1 wrote:
belugabob wrote:

Disclaimer - the situation may have improved, since I moved away from the Midlands, 30 years ago.

It is different now, but improvement is wishful thinking

Different better, different worse, or just a different kind of bad?

Avatar
ROOTminus1 replied to belugabob | 7 months ago
1 like

belugabob wrote:

Different better, different worse, or just a different kind of bad?

Around 20 years ago there was a big improvement, Queens arcade was removed and replaced with the Ropewalk centre which brought in bigger name stores, but felt very inward facing, so despite improvements to pedestrianisation didn't feel as effective as it could have been.

Over the last 10 years though, the blight on the high-street thats been felt nationwide has been accelerated by bad decisions in Nuneaton, especially when in stark contrast to the investment and effort that has gone into reviving Hinckley's town centre. Now, whilst theres a bustling town centre the other side of the A5, Nuneaton can't keep charity shops, vape stores and pound shops open. The half of the town that was Co-op buildings has been torn down for redevelopment, the former Debenhams stands ominously empty, Abbeygate is a ghost, the infamous arse-print fountain went in the last 12 months, Ropewalk barely keeps stores occupied, and the Kingsholme and Bingo hall are still rotting away, breeding rats and pigeons.

The premises with most provenance now are Iceland, the Felix Holt (Wetherspoons) and McDonalds.

Funeaton, where dreams go to die

Avatar
Cugel replied to ROOTminus1 | 7 months ago
0 likes

ROOTminus1 wrote:

Ropewalk barely keeps stores occupied, and the Kingsholme and Bingo hall are still rotting away, breeding rats and pigeons.

The premises with most provenance now are Iceland, the Felix Holt (Wetherspoons) and McDonalds.

Funeaton, where dreams go to die

Give it another ten years and, assuming everything isn't reduced to irradiated rubble by Pukin or his ilk, broken Blighterland will be full of favelas, periodically visited by "policemen" who keep the population down by not just arresting children for bicycling inappropriately but murdering them, as the latest version of Pishi Rishi copycats various South Americn banana republic procedures.

Many are hoping for a wunnerful revival of Blighter Golden Age (around 1951, apparently) by Sir Bollard but current events have an immense vector and an even more immense momentum ....... .

Apprenticeships in picking over landfills for leftovers before the seagulls get 'em seem appropriate.

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