Pensioners packed into a meeting to call for police officers to do more to stop cycling on pavements.Wow, I didn’t think the police rode bikes any more, never mind on the pavement!
Oh. Wait. It’s not the police themselves. They are just not doing anything about it:
Jim Stagg, 79, said: "They cycle on the pavement to get around quicker, avoid traffic lights, signs and everything else. The police do nothing. I have drawn their attention to this in Broadmead. The police walking the streets see these things and don't do anything about it."It’s a common complaint.
Alan Pratley, of Ashton Vale, told police officers at the meeting: "You should be upholding the law and the law is that cyclists should not be cycling on the pavement, but the police are turning a blind eye when they see it."
Afterwards, the 64-year-old said: "One of the worst places for me is the Centre because it is shared space and cyclists are allowed on the pavements. There should be proper marked out lanes for them so everyone knows where they stand."A bit pointless marking out lanes for them if there’s no sanction when they fail to stick to them, though?
Naturally, this goes down like a cold cup of sick with the cyclist lobby:
But John Usher of cycling charity Sustrans defended cyclists.
"There are irresponsible cyclists in the same way there are irresponsible motorists and irresponsible pedestrians," he said. He pointed out that in all but one case, pedestrians killed on Bristol's roads were the result of incidents involving motor vehicles rather than cyclists. He admitted there was not data available for injuries suffered by pedestrians as a result of irresponsible cyclists.
"We should be working towards getting the council to put more investment into making cycling safer," Mr Usher said to the meeting.For whom? For the cyclists, or for the pensioners perturbed by the whoosh of air as another lycra-clad kamikaze sails past them at 30mph?
Chris Pratley, 62, said: "We have complained about cyclists riding on the pavements in Bedminster.
"I don't think they should be spending any more money on helping cyclists when there are cuts."
Another woman said: "What we want is for irresponsible cyclists to get off their bikes and walk on the pavement."No doubt, but it’s unlikely to happen.
Chairwoman of Bristol Older People's Forum, Judith Brown, said: "If it is illegal to ride on pavements, I'm old-fashioned and don't think they should be doing it.
"I think if you have to register a car it is fair to register a bike."I can foresee a campaign looming, and though the cyclists may squeal (and the libertarians join them in solidarity) it’ll be purely their own fault, won’t it?
The police response? Oh, yes:
PC Roger Ibrahim told the meeting that cycling on pavements was considered at the discretion of officers but that if people had particular concerns they should raise them at their neighbourhood policing forums.People do have concerns, they are raising them here, with you – why don’t you write them down in your little book and take them to your colleagues yourself? If it's good enough for court, surely it's good enough for your chums?