by DAN GRIMMER
Monday, July 2, 2012
The number of fines dished out to cyclists for riding on Norfolk’s pavements has plummeted over the past three years, new figures have shown.
The statistics, which were revealed through a Freedom Of Information request to Norfolk police show that in 2011, just 26 cyclists were hit with fines after being caught riding on pavements, of which 25 were paid.
In 2009, 172 cyclists were issued with fines for riding on pavements, of which 160 were paid, eight were cancelled and four were prosecuted.
The figure fell in 2010, with 46 offences, of which 44 were paid, one was cancelled and one was prosecuted.
But Norfolk police insisted they were still targeting the issue, with a number of crackdowns on cyclists launched following concerns raised by members of the community – particularly in the Norwich area.
Police said there have been a number of near-miss incidents reported where pedestrians have almost been knocked over by passing cyclists riding on the pavement.
A police spokesman said: “It is important to make sure cyclists are aware of the law and that cycling on pavements can be dangerous for other users.
“Where issues are raised we will continue carry out high-visibility patrols in order to educate and increase awareness among cyclists about the dangers of such behaviour.
“Those found to be breaking the law can expect to receive a warning and safety advice and if they are persistent they will be issued with a £30 fixed penalty notice.”
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith earlier this year urged cyclists to stick to the roads after complaints from families over cyclists on pavements.
She said Salhouse Road, near the Open Academy, and the pavements around the roundabout at the Brickmakers pub in Sprowston Road were particular trouble spots.
She started a campaign calling for safer cycling in Norwich, based on five key points - that cyclists must respect pedestrians; that they should demand respect from drivers; that they should get confident enough to cycle on roads and seek training if needed; that cyclists should wear a helmet and that they should use lights when it is dawn, dusk or dark.
Labour councillors earlier this year organised a protest in Magdalen Street in Norwich, over cyclists who ride on pavements, despite signs which warn them doing so could land them with a £30 fine.
Following that demonstration, Sewell ward city councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton told the Evening News: “The statistics we got showed that this is a dangerous problem.
“We found 33 cyclists on the pathway and 21 cyclists going the wrong way down a one-way street in little over an hour. We now plan to do this on a regular basis in the future.”
Suffolk police issued 70 fixed penalty notices in 2009, but that number fell to 22 in 2010 and 12 in 2011.