Leave your bike unlocked in Boston & police will lock it up for you

Anti-theft measure accompanies crackdown on cycling in pedestrian areas

by John Stevenson   October 1, 2013  

Handcuffed bike (CC licensed by sashamd)

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:

21 user comments

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Nice idea, but what's to stop someone claiming someone else's bike?

posted by thelimopit [118 posts]
1st October 2013 - 22:04

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I had no idea there were so many polygots in Linconshire

posted by GREGJONES [107 posts]
1st October 2013 - 22:11

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Why NOT put a red line through it.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [95 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 6:00

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Traffic signs have to be designed and put up exactly in accordance with the DfT Traffic Signs Manual (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-signs-manual). If they deviate from this (e.g. by adding a red line where the manual says there's not one) then they become unenforceable. The offender can claim that as the sign does not appear in the highway code he/she had no idea of its meaning.

As for taking the obvious next step of changing the Traffic Signs Manual - well, that will keep scores of civil servants in work for 5 years.

posted by sponican [59 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 7:31

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Hand-cuffs, seriously? I'm assuming that was just a publicity shot?

Yours sincerely
Harry Houdini

posted by Hasis [34 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 8:36

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I had no idea there were so many polygots in Linconshire

Yes, but you'll probably find they're Portuguese, Polish or from the Baltics.

The locals vote ukip.

posted by Dr Madvibe [2 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 9:10

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BTP have been doing this at Reading station, leaving notices on the bikes.

https://twitter.com/BTPreading/status/376261547754283008/photo/1

posted by qwerky [130 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 9:32

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Was in Boston a couple of years ago and everyone was cycling. Bikes are attached to every post or obstacle. One thing is though that every bike looks like it was dragged from a skip. No fancy carbon or snazzy wheels. If you turn the pedals and the wheels turn that makes it a good one. Maybe that's the way to go. I have heard that Amsterdam is similar. I think we are maybe to fond of the fancy bikes to be a cycling nation. Cool

posted by joebee9870 [57 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 10:32

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Hasis wrote:
Hand-cuffs, seriously? I'm assuming that was just a publicity shot?

An image I found on Flickr that was just too appropriate to pass by.

John Stevenson's picture

posted by John Stevenson [930 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 17:28

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And don't use those cable locks, I can cut through the thicker ones in 60 seconds with cheap pliers!

posted by kie7077 [411 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 18:39

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It seems like simply putting a red line through the bike on the existing signs would be WAY more effective than creating a new sign in 5 languages that makes each so small that no one will read it

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
2nd October 2013 - 23:31

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Dr Madvibe wrote:
I had no idea there were so many polygots in Linconshire

Yes, but you'll probably find they're Portuguese, Polish or from the Baltics.

The locals vote ukip.

Not all of us do!

Ultimately, we're nearlyall immigrants to this island if you go back far enough. Ukippers d are mad trying to hold back the tide.

posted by a.jumper [675 posts]
3rd October 2013 - 8:14

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If they want to stop cycling over the footbridge, they should allow cycling over the nearby Town bridge in both directions somehow. It's currently one way.

posted by a.jumper [675 posts]
3rd October 2013 - 8:18

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the bicycle in a red circle "no cycling" road sign is pretty much the same in many countries, the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals attempts to standarise these things (and current UK signage from the 1960s onwards follows this), and a standard prohibitory sign is a black icon on a round white background with a red border.

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden appear to be the only European countries that have a diagonal stripe across the 'no cycling' (and other prohibition) signs.

The issue here is that many road users don't know what standard road signs mean, and given that cyclists don't have compulsory testing on rules of the road, it could be argued that a "no cycling" sign might be contravened more often than others.

posted by zymurgic [4 posts]
25th April 2014 - 10:04

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

Close calls, close f**king calls.

Do something about cars on the roads before talking about close f**king calls.

And whilst over an unstated period there were "some" collisions of completely unknown severity, how many cyclists were maimed on the roads?

edit: better get some caffeine in me quick lol.

posted by kie7077 [411 posts]
25th April 2014 - 11:28

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Ah so the war on cycling is still going full steam ahead, even from so called "councillors" who claims to be a "cyclist" himself.

*yawns*

Got any real "news"? Doesn't seem like it.

posted by northstar [1082 posts]
25th April 2014 - 11:55

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War on cycling?

Hyperbole, much?

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
25th April 2014 - 11:57

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a.jumper wrote:
If they want to stop cycling over the footbridge, they should allow cycling over the nearby Town bridge in both directions somehow. It's currently one way.

Is the Town Bridge not two way for buses already? That would make it easier to allow bikes two way.
And yes, we are not all Kippers (or Boston Bypass Independents), but a distressingly high proportion are.
My brother was pinched for cycling on the footbridge some years ago.

posted by felixcat [204 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:01

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Nope, go on tell me what the alternatives to riding through this "pedestrianized" area are, go on tell me? oh wait, bet you can't without consulting google maps.

I bet it involves some motorway style "ring road" or "one way system"

Happy to be proven wrong but i suspect i might not be ; )

posted by northstar [1082 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:02

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northstar wrote:
Nope, go on tell me what the alternatives to riding through this "pedestrianized" area, go on tell me? oh wait, bet you can't without consulting google maps.

I bet it involves some motorway style "ring road" or "one way system"

Happy to be proven wrong but i suspect i might not be ; )

How did you guess?

posted by felixcat [204 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:02

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joebee9870 wrote:
Was in Boston a couple of years ago and everyone was cycling. Bikes are attached to every post or obstacle.

I was startled by this comment. I go into town every week and it does not strike me that there are a lot of cyclists, but I suppose by comparison with some other towns there may be. I will risk sounding old by saying, in my youth there were many more cyclists about. The Fens are of course flat, and good for utility cycling. It is over 10 miles from Boston to the nearest gradient.

posted by felixcat [204 posts]
25th April 2014 - 12:08

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