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.
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".
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.