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Peterborough ignores consultation responses as shopping street cycling ban extended to Sundays

Vast majority of responses were against the proposals - only one in ten in favour

Peterborough City Council has extended a ban on cyclists riding on Bridge Street at certain times of the day from Monday to Saturday to include Sundays too. The move, described by a council cabinet member as “one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make,” followed a consultation in which five in six respondents opposed the proposal.

The existing ban on cycling from 0900 to 1800 Monday to Saturday on the busy shopping street has been in force for two decades. In July the council launched its consultation to put it in force seven days a week.

The council says it received 200 replies, with 167 respondents saying they were against its plans, including the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans.

Its eastern regional director, Nigel Brigham, said that people on bikes and on foot should be allowed to share space on the pedestrianised street, reports Peterborough Today.

“The problem with Peterborough is there are no alternative routes through the city north to south,” he said.

“There are irresponsible cyclists, but they are in the minority.

“We want to see a positive campaign that welcomes cyclists and pedestrians who behave responsibly in the city centre.”

The council however says that it is pressing ahead with a week-round ban, likely to come into the force in the new year, in recognition of now being a main shopping day.

That’s despite only 22 parties responding to the consultation, including the police, Peterborough Age UK and Peterborough Association for the Blind, supporting the proposals, with another 11 making comments that were general in nature.

Councillor Lucia Serluca, the city council’s cabinet member for city centre management, said: "This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make.

“On the one hand objectors have pointed out that restricting cycling on Bridge Street conflicts with our environment capital aspiration, but on the other supporters have highlighted the danger that some irresponsible cyclists cause to pedestrians, and particularly children and the elderly, in this vibrant shopping street.

"Following significant investment, Bridge Street is one of the busiest in the city with pavement cafes, children's rides and entertainment.

“We have taken our time to very carefully consider all of the responses from residents and organisations on this important issue and have decided that public safety must ultimately outweigh what is a relatively small inconvenience to cyclists.”

Peterborough was previously one of Cycling England’s cycling demonstration towns, but the council came under criticism from Sustrans last year when it emerged that the planned remodelling of Long Causeway made no provision for replacing award winning cycle racks there.

But, Councillor Serluca insisted the council is in favour of cycling, saying: “I would stress that we remain fully committed to supporting cycling in Peterborough and we will continue to work with organisations like Sustrans to improve facilities for cyclists in the city.

“The restrictions are the most responsible action to take to keep our residents safe.

"As well as extending the restrictions to Sundays, we will also ensure that it is properly enforced throughout the week,” she added.

“Many people have reported or witnessed near misses between shoppers and irresponsible cyclists, and as well as enforcement we will be displaying better signage to highlight the restrictions."

Nick Sandford, Liberal Democrat leader on the city council, which has no overall controlling party, was critical of the decision to extend the ban to Sundays.

“I am not sure what the point in carrying out a consultation and ignoring what people have told them,” he said.

“The ban is not enforceable. I get people saying they have seen irresponsible cycling on Bridge Street, and it is always when the ban is in place,” he added.

Last month, Peterborough’s Conservative MP, Stewart Jackson, said that there should be a “three strikes and out” rule for people caught cycling on the pavement or in pedestrian zones.

He wrote in a newspaper column that on the third offence, their bike should be confiscated and only returned if they paid a fine equivalent to its value.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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