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Anti-theft measure accompanies crackdown on cycling in pedestrian areas

Police in Boston, Lincolnshire are to crack down on cycling in pedestrianised areas of the city but in an attempt to extend an olive branch to the town’s cyclists they will also chain up unlocked bikes so they can’t be stolen.

Reacting to an increase in bike thefts, Boston police are urging cyclists to use a good lock and leave their bikes in plain sight, but they’ve got a further tactic if that doesn’t work.

In their “We locked it so you don’t lose it” campaign, police will securely lock unlocked bikes and leave a note for the owners to report to the police station to have their bike released.

But Boston police and Borough Council are also worried about cyclists riding in pedestrianised areas of the town and a crackdown is imminent.

A statement from Lincolnshire police said: “There have been some collisions and close calls recently.

“One particular problem area is St Botolph’s footbridge over the river. It is used by lots of pedestrians and at busy times can be quite congested.”

Cllr Derek Richmond, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “Some cyclists persist in trying to ride their bikes through the pedestrians, weaving between them. Often they approach at speed from behind. It only needs an unsuspecting pedestrian to alter their course at the wrong time and they can end up being badly hurt.”

Cllr Richmond, who claims to be a cyclist himself, added: “Cyclists are to be applauded. They brave the traffic and all weathers to travel in the most environmentally-friendly fashion and help reduce congestion, but they must show consideration for others, especially pedestrians.”

No cycling - in five languages

One explanation for the lack of compliance with Boston’s ‘no cycling’ signs could be the lack of clarity of the classic British bike-in-a-red-circle sign.

Lincolnshire police said: “Although signs in a red circle indicate something that is prohibited, the absence of a diagonal bar across the picture of the bicycle has often caused confusion to visitors from overseas who, on occasion, have even thought the sign denoted a cycle path.”

The solution: a new sign with text in no fewer than five languages:

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.