London’s Lambeth Council is under fire for creating confusion over the right to cycle along the South Bank of the Thames, the most extreme example of which involved a Police Community Support Officer ordering a disabled cyclist off her trike.
The council has recently erected “No Cycling” signs along a wide path that runs beside the river, a path that has been used by cyclists for many years.
Those signs are thought to be the reason why a Police Community Support Officer stopped a disabled cyclist riding a tricycle and told her to dismount from the machine and walk. Anne Wright attempted to proved her disability by showing the officer the elbow crutch she uses, but apparently to little effect.
She chose to return home on the trike using a different route but informed the charity Wheels for Wellbeing of her experience who in turn earlier this week contacted both the police and Lambeth Council for clarification over the issue.
Mrs Wright is planning to meet her local councillor to seek advice and Roger Crosskey from Wheels for Wellbeing said the charity is hoping to resolve the issue amicably with both the police and Lambeth Council.
The London Cycling Campaign too, wants the confusion to be cleared up quickly. “The general feeling is that the ban is a sledgehammer to crack a nut and the case involving Mrs Wright seems to be proof of that,” a spokesman for the Campaign told road.cc.
He added: “The legal issue is up for debate and as far as we know, no-one has been fined but there is a de facto ban on cycling. This is a clear case where, if there is a problem with a few cyclists, then a considerate cycling order should be enforced and that is something that would take as much effort as enforcing an outright ban.
“But by putting up "No Cycling" signs the Council has immediately created a conflict between pedestrians and cyclists who might have been using this route for 12 years, whereas before there would probably have been very few negative comments.”
Road.cc has contacted both Lambeth Council and the MP for Vauxhall, Kate Hoey, who is said to support the ban, for a comment on the situation. We’ll update the story with their responses once we get them.