Disabled cyclist ordered off trike as confusion reigns over London South Bank cycling ban

Lambeth Council bans cyclists but is the ban legal?

by Mark Appleton   January 28, 2011  

South Bank No Cycling sign.jpeg

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.

14 user comments

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Is this a case of someone in Lambeth Council having a problem with Borris bikes and cycle "Superhighways" but can't do anything about them so is being vindictive? Or is it a legit response to growing conflict between pedestrians and cyclist in the area? If it's this though you would expect the council to have highlighted the problem as back up to their actions? It does seem to be a very arbitrary action.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [448 posts]
28th January 2011 - 17:19

1 Like

This is the result of a campaign led by Kate Hoey (spelling?), and the typical knee jerk reacion to a few cyclists that were not too kind to pedestrians. Also, what really gets to me is how fast the powers that be react when there is a complaint about cyclists. Same happened in Clapham Common. We cyclists have been complaining about cars parked on cycle lanes and vehicles using the ASL to no avail. It goes to show the place that cycling occupies in our society: bottom of the food chain.

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
28th January 2011 - 17:30


The ban is not enforceable, because no traffic management order has been issued. The black signs have no legal validity. (I think a legal ban requires the DfT design-standard white circle with red border, with a cycle sumbol in it). PCSOs are not supposed to stop people cycling, let alone those with disabilities, but instead are supposed to have a word with any cyclists abut considerate behaviour.

I have written to Hoey - twice - and she claims it is not her decision, so interesting to read that she supports the ban. She tells me that "pedestrians have no "organised" [her quote marks] lobby like cyclists in London, and so tend to get ignored. Well, if this is what a "disorganised" lobby does for you, maybe that is what we need!

posted by Paul M [336 posts]
28th January 2011 - 17:45

1 Like

Interesting - I go to the South Bank a good deal and often with my kids at the weekend when it's busy - rarely have any issues with cyclsits. We've even taken our own bikes or my kids take their mini scooters. Are those banned also? And what about the BMXers at their regular area? For that matter, what about skateboarders? Those things don't even have brakes. It strikes me as an ill thought out policy.

If Lambeth Council really wanted to deal with a health hazard at the South Bank it would do well to enforce existing rules to get rid of all the many unlicensed fast food food sellers supplying digestive ailments to unwary tourists, rather than addressing a problem that isn't there. As for its safety attitude, Lambeth Council is also removingfunding for lollipop ladies/men from schools to save money, which shows you just how short sighted and ill informed its road (lack of) safety policy can be.


posted by OldRidgeback [2492 posts]
28th January 2011 - 17:46


It must be AWESOME to be a PCSO. I reckon I'd have a more-or-less permanent boner if I had such power. I've got a promising semi just thinking about ordering disabled women off their tricycles. Cool

posted by BigDummy [309 posts]
28th January 2011 - 18:06

1 Like

Plastic Plod are a waste of tax-payer's money. Know nothing, and you are right, in it for the uniform and getting off on arresting three year old kids for playing out in a gang (over two kids together). I am the proud grandad of a three year old grandson with a yellow slip banning order.... for going to the sweet shop with his dad and his mate.....

posted by pjd1203 [4 posts]
28th January 2011 - 18:24


Even as an avid cyclist, I have to say that I welcome this ban.

The South Bank has become a rat-run for large numbers of inconsiderate cyclists who show no consideration at all for the pedestrian users of the path and this ban is long overdue.

posted by harthacanute [7 posts]
28th January 2011 - 18:31

1 Like

Also, the comments about the ban not having any legal validity because of incorrect signage are, to put it bluntly, nonsense. Very little of the South Bank is public highway and there is no public right of way along most of it - the vast majority of it is private property with negotiated permissive access.

posted by harthacanute [7 posts]
28th January 2011 - 18:41

1 Like

harthacanute wrote:
Also, the comments about the ban not having any legal validity because of incorrect signage are, to put it bluntly, nonsense. Very little of the South Bank is public highway and there is no public right of way along most of it - the vast majority of it is private property with negotiated permissive access.

So what are PCSOs doing on it? I didn't realise that they enforce arbitrary rules on private land.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1401 posts]
28th January 2011 - 18:53

1 Like

cat1commuter wrote:
So what are PCSOs doing on it? I didn't realise that they enforce arbitrary rules on private land.

1) They aren't arbitrary rules
2) There is permissive access, managed by the local authority, so the space is policed as any public space would be. Trafalgar Square is a permissive access space - would you think it strange to see a police officer or PCSO there?

posted by harthacanute [7 posts]
28th January 2011 - 19:02

1 Like

There should by 'Pedestrian Priority; Considerate Cycling Permitted' signs here and enforcement action against reckless cyclists, not against all cyclists.

To support this send an email saying this to cycling@lambeth.gov.uk

Look through the Thames Path posts on my Kennington People on Bikes blog to see the path at different times and on different days. And you can check out the quality of the on-road alternative.


posted by Charlie Holland [1 posts]
28th January 2011 - 20:08

1 Like

The trike, presumably set-up for riding with a disability fully complies with the criteria set out for a Class 1 Invalid Carriage - the PCSO should have been told that this was the case and thus the user was legitimately using her mobility aid, preventing her from doing this could be considered as discrimination against a disabled person - could the PCSO provide his details so this could be reported....

There is an 'alternative' wording for PCSO which I'm trying to remember, that highlights their not quite a real polis position and the issues it delivers.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [539 posts]
29th January 2011 - 1:22


I'm a Lambeth resident. I'll contact my MP.


posted by OldRidgeback [2492 posts]
29th January 2011 - 18:41

1 Like

The problem has arisen as a result of the increase in commercial activity along the South Bank. This has hugely increased the numbers of pedestrians, unlicensed food vendors, human statues, skateboarders etc on the Thames path. I have cycled along this stretch of the Thames for around fifteen years. It would be a shame to no longer be able to do so, because Lambeth Council are unable to deal with the conflict-in-use in a constructive manner. Why single out cyclists rather than acknowledge that the increase in pedestrian traffic is the main culprit? Considerate cycling (and walking), allowing the path to be shared, would be a far more civilised solution.
Perhaps Kate Hoey would support cyclists if they agreed to hunt down foxes while cycling along the South Bank?

posted by LondonCommuter [1 posts]
31st January 2011 - 14:26