Portsmouth tells its cyclists to be more polite

Children get letters sent home in crackdown on pavement cycling

by Sarah Barth   July 19, 2012  

Southsea seafront bike lane (picture credit Hilary:Portsmouth Cycle Forum).jpg

Cyclists in Portsmouth are being urged to be more polite road users, as the police and council join forces to clamp down on pavement cyclists.

This summer alone, 66 cyclists have been stopped for cycling on the pavement, with 25 given £30 fixed penalties and 41 reprimanded.

Children under 16 had a letter sent to their parents at home, warning against their behaviour.

Councillor Jason Fazackarley, the council’s cabinet member for traffic and transport, told The Portsmouth News: "It’s great that people are being green and healthy and cycling.

"But we need to make sure they’re riding safely, in the interests of other people and themselves.

"Cycling on the pavement or in pedestrian areas is one of the most common concerns residents report to us.

"The council and the police are committed to tackling this problem.

"Many cyclists say they ride on the pavement because they feel unsafe on the road.

"Our advice is to get off your bike and walk on the pavement until you feel it is safe to get on the road.

"But please also tell us why you felt unsafe, and we will look at improving that area for cyclists.’

"We have plans to improve some important cycling links in the city, using new government money for sustainable travel."

The council is also running cycling courses for children in the area.

10 user comments

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I really don't get this antipathy and irrational hatred of cyclists despite that it is very real.

"Cycling on the pavement or in pedestrian areas is one of the most common concerns residents report to us."

But it's not a big problem statistically is it? So why aren't the police and the council educating the people who complain that it isn't a big problem, that cycles and pedestrians co-exist happily in plenty of places, and that there are much more serious problems to deal with?

Local cyclists should take the council at it's word "tell us why you felt unsafe...". Trouble is I expect they have been doing that for years with no effect.

posted by horizontal dropout [138 posts]
19th July 2012 - 19:51

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And how many drivers have been fined for parking on the pavement? After all they had to drive the car onto the pavement which as we all know is an offense under section 72 of the 1835 highways act, the very same act under which these notices will have been handed out

posted by spen [70 posts]
19th July 2012 - 19:52

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Didi they specially clear the bike lane of cars for the photograph?

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
19th July 2012 - 20:29

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It's just like the standard RLJ/cycling at night without lights issues. Shrewsbury's local paper periodically features headlines about a 'crackdown' or enforcement re. pavement cycling. A few old dears and full-time whingers turn up at local community (LJC) meetings to give their councillor and CSO some earache about a pet peeve. So the fuzz and politician both want to look like they are doing something about this 'issue'.

As a result the much more serious issues such as the safety of vulnerable road users are never discussed (not that the plod or stuffed shirts give a hoot about cyclists' safety anyway).

Will they be writing to all peds to ask them to keep the f..k off the clearly marked cycling side of the shared path?

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1779 posts]
19th July 2012 - 23:25

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As a pompey resident it was fascinating to read this on the day the government announced an alarming increase in deaths and serious injuries on the nation's roads. Don't worry - Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Constabulary have launched their latest hard-hitting road safety initiative. On the very day that a horrifying 31% rise in fatalities among young pedestrians is reported PCC announces its grand plan - Polite Cycling.

This is the same PCC that was very recently happy to close all pedestrian crossings on one of the busiest junctions in the city for upwards of 6 weeks. A busy junction that is right by Milton Cross school, and is depended upon daily by many hundreds of young pedestrians. The very people who most commonly fall victim to fatal accidents on our roads were left high and dry by PCC for weeks on end.

But never mind all that, because at least PCC is going to give us Polite Cycling. Don't worry about the traffic problems that seriously injured 143 people in Portsmouth last year - just lock up the uncouth cyclists. Forget about all that death and injury - much too messy, let's deal with the trivial irritations instead.

posted by sponican [57 posts]
20th July 2012 - 0:55

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OK, don't get me wrong - cyclists shouldn't be riding on the pavement. I don't, and neither should you.

But the fact that this is Portsmouth Council's primary road safety concern is bonkers. It's an interesting insight into how cycling is viewed in that city - a nuisance to be controlled, not a behaviour to be encouraged. As for the advice to "get off your bike and walk on the pavement until you feel it is safe to get on the road." - that's hilarious! Why not just walk instead? A stupid remark.

I can run through the usual litany of motorists on their phone, not indicating, not looking both ways at junctions, SMIDSY, carelessly opening car doors etc. etc. ad nauseam NEVER MIND carelessly mounting (fnar) the pavement to park or drop off. Punishments for them? Of course not! Never mind that it is this illegal behaviour (along with general nuisance road-hog lack of consideration) *inserts clause about 'minority' of motorists* that makes some cyclists feel forced onto the pavement.

Note to councillors everywhere - a good rule of thumb is to encourage healthy behaviours and discourage harmful ones. Not the other way round.

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posted by Ghedebrav [804 posts]
20th July 2012 - 9:23

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Pedestrians carelessly striding out into cycle lanes are the single most frequent hazard I face on a daily basis. But I don't blame them. Who looks at the ground? THere just aren't enough cyclists to make it clear. We need more people on bikes. Cheap point-scoring persecution by silly politicians won't help.

(N.B. I maintain the right to hold a contrasting opinion when actually riding my bike and faced by said hazard)

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posted by Ghedebrav [804 posts]
20th July 2012 - 9:28

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I've seen some pretty rubbish car driving when I've been in Portsmouth. Do offenders get a letter sent home as well? This move does rather smack of telling off the victims rather than addressing the actual problem.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
20th July 2012 - 9:29

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I'm a student in Portsmouth and I can see both sides of the story.

On the one hand the cyclists in Portsmouth are some of the worst I have ever encountered; red light jumping and weaving between traffic is definitely the norm.

However, the drivers I encounter in Portsmouth are definitely the worst I have ever had the displeasure to share a road with. On a regular basis I am verbally abused,gestured at and on occasion driven off of the road by car drivers who refuse to acknowledge my existence.

Although, poor behaviour by cyclists is inexcusable, I feel that Portsmouth City Council are completely missing the point with their new initiative. They should focus on reducing road traffic and increasing alternative methods of transport rather than pandering to the anti-cycling sentiment harboured by many a Portsmouth driver.

posted by hastings [25 posts]
20th July 2012 - 11:50

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i know that cycle path and its in fact kept like that all the time, but it doesnt run all the way down the sea front just a short section as we every other cycle path.

as for the the rubbish car driving in portsmouth look here

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/it-s-a-miracle-that-nobody-was-ki...

cant even stay on their side of the road!

and also get on the road when you dont feel harmed, its all the f****ng time round here!

posted by Bigchrismm [14 posts]
20th July 2012 - 11:56

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