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Cyclists' safety highlighted as dog walkers face fines for using long leads near cycle paths

From April, Teignbridge District Council will enforce a new public space protection order requiring dogs walkers to use leads shorter than a metre near cycle paths and highways, or face a fine

Dog walkers in the Devon area of Teignbridge District Council will soon risk on-the-spot fines of £100 if they use leads longer than one metre near cycle paths.

The new rule is part of a public space protection order (PSPO) which will come into force from April and cover some areas next to highways and cycling infrastructure.

Owners who walk their dogs on leads longer than a metre can be fined £100, or face prosecution, with maximum fines reaching £1,000.

The rule does not apply for parks and beaches but is an extension of the Teignbridge District Council PSPO, first introduced in 2019 to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.

The council has pledged to improve signage to communicate the changes to members of the public before it comes into effect in the spring.

Dog walkers will also be required to pick up faeces in public places, carry sufficient poo bags, avoid certain beaches during the summer months, and avoid exclusion areas, such as children's play parks.

Councillor Alistair Dewhirst welcomed the extension of the order, saying: "I think it has worked well so far and we want it to continue."

In 2017, a London cyclist wrote to Mayor Sadiq Khan after suffering slashes to his face, back and clothes due to an "almost invisible" dog lead stretched across a path in Blackheath.

Robert Perkins and the dog's owner were injured by the leash, which he did not see as it was "so thin it was almost invisible and it was so long".

"I am likely not the first cyclist that has been involved in such an incident, and fear I will not be the last," Perkins warned at the time.

"While I realise that the green spaces must be shared by many users, my understanding is that dog owners are legally obliged to keep their dogs under control at all times in public – something which is effectively impossible with the use of these types of leads."

In 2015, a man knocked off his bike by an out-of-control dog on a retractable lead won a £65,000 payout from the animal's owner after it leapt into his path while he was training for a Coast to Coast event.

Anthony Steele was riding in a ten-rider group and rang his bell to warn a group of pedestrians moments before the dog leapt into his path, causing the cyclist to crash and fracturing his skull.

Dan joined 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, 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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