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Cyclists riding through town centre threatened with £1,000 fines and told they “don’t pay road tax” as “cowboy” wardens accused of “running amok” – but council orders staff to stop fining cyclists

The wardens’ targeted (and allegedly misguided) approach towards cyclists has resulted in 62 fines this year and discouraged people from riding their bikes – but the council now says staff should simply warn locals if they’re cycling in no-cycle zones

A local council has ordered the private agency tasked with enforcing its ban on anti-social and “intimidating” cycling to stop fining cyclists riding their bikes in the city with immediate effect, after the agency’s wardens were accused of “running amok”, mistakenly fining cyclists £100 for riding their bikes in areas where cycling is permitted, threatening them with a £1,000 penalty if they appeal the fine, and telling one elderly female cyclist that she wasn’t allowed to use a city centre road because she doesn’t pay “road tax”.

The decision to bring an immediate halt to the practice of issuing people on bikes with Fixed Penalty Notices for allegedly breaching Colchester’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) – ostensibly designed to prevent anti-social, nuisance, and dangerous behaviour in the Essex city – comes amid an increasingly vocal campaign by local cyclists, after several residents were ordered to pay a £100 fine by wardens who (sometimes questionably) stopped them while cycling on shared-use paths, on city centre streets where cycling is permitted, and while riding at walking pace on footways.

> Two cyclists ordered to pay £500 for riding bike through town centre

Since the start of this year, 62 cyclists have been fined £100 each in Colchester by wardens employed by the Waste Investigations Support and Enforcement (WISE) agency, an external organisation subcontracted by Colchester City Council and at least 20 other local authorities across the UK where PSPOs are in place.

Meanwhile, a growing number of residents who have been stopped by the wardens – accused of “lying in wait” for cyclists to supposedly breach the PSPO – have complained about the third-party agency’s “opaque” appeals procedure, which they say has been plagued by communication issues and which has seen them threatened with a trip to court and possible £1,000 penalty, reinforcing the belief among local cyclists that the enforcement is purely a “money-making scheme”.

The Colchester Cycling Campaign says this recent crackdown on people cycling in the city contradicts the council’s claim that the PSPO is purely designed to prevent dangerous or damaging cycling behaviour, that it is having a stifling effect on cycling numbers in the city, and is preventing Colchester from achieving its aim of becoming a “cycling city”.

“If cars aren’t allowed, you aren’t allowed”

The furore surrounding Colchester’s cycling PSPO, an increasingly popular (and controversial) method used by local authorities to clamp down on what they deem to be dangerous cycling, began in earnest in March, when female cyclist Helge Gillmeister was issued with a £100 fine for, according to the warden who stopped her, “riding on the footpath” – when, in fact, the path in question has been designated a shared-use cycle route since 2011.

Shared cycle path along Southway, Colchester (Colchester Cycling Campaign)

> “Why pick on a lone female cyclist?” Cyclist slapped with £100 fine – for riding on a cycle path

Since then, as we also reported last month when two cyclists were fined on the same stretch of footway on different occasions while cycling at walking pace to avoid a notoriously dangerous roundabout, the FPNs have been stacking up in Colchester.

In late May, 67-year-old cyclist Judith Highfield was cycling with her partner Mark to the shops on Culver Street, when both cyclists were stopped by WISE wardens and fined for riding in a no-cycling zone and on the footway, respectively.

While Mark denied that he was cycling on the footpath, Colchester Cycling Campaign has also noted since that Culver Street West does not feature a ‘no cycling’ sign and that the current ‘no motor vehicles’ signage is outdated and should be replaced by a ‘pedestrian and cycle zone’ sign.

Judith, meanwhile, has told road.cc that, when she informed the warden of the presence of parked cars and motorbikes on the road in question, the WISE employee allegedly responded by saying she shouldn’t be cycling on the street because she doesn’t “pay road tax”.

The 67-year-old, who was planning on cycling to Spain with family members this autumn, says she hasn’t cycled since the incident because she’s worried about receiving another fine.

Culver Street West, Colchester

Culver Street West, Colchester

“Mark and I had cycled into town on Bank Holiday Monday to get a birthday present, and we did actually walk and push our bike to the shop,” Judith tells road.cc, adding that they used to park their bikes further from the city centre, but after purchasing an e-bike recently – and already having its front light stolen and its brake cable pulled out twice – she is now reticent to leave her bike unattended.

“And just as we were leaving, I stupidly said, ‘Oh I think we can cycle here because there are cars and motorbikes parked’.

“Just as I was getting on my bike, someone tapped me and said, ‘Excuse me, but you can’t cycle around here’. And I immediately said, ‘I’m very sorry, I just saw the cars and bikes and assumed you could’. But he said it was a no-cycle zone and that there were signs at each end of the road, which made sense as I had come in from the side.”

After initially believing the warden was simply, and “pleasantly”, warning her that cycling was not permitted on the street – an assertion the Colchester Cycle Campaign later claimed to be false – Judith was shocked when the WISE employee than asked for her name, address, and ID.

Describing herself as a “little bit dazed” as the warden explained that she was on the receiving end of a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice, Judith said she then remembered that the same man had said hello to her as she stood outside the shop with her bike.

“Surely most people would have just said at that moment that I couldn’t cycle down here, but he didn’t,” she said. “He just waited for me obviously to get on the bike and cycle off. And just as I was about to head off, he stopped me. I was shellshocked. And Mark was on the other side of the road after being approached by another man, and he was also getting a ticket.

“And I just kept saying that I didn’t understand why cars and motorbikes can come on this road, and I can’t. And he said, ‘The reason is because you don’t pay road tax’. I felt like I was in an alternative universe. It was ludicrous.”

Culver Street West, Colchester

The Colchester Cycling Campaign also noted, in the wake of Judith’s case, that a nearby cycle parking hub is only accessible from Culver Street West and the other similar streets beside it.

“We checked and there were no signs saying this wasn’t a cycle lane, and on the road where we were fined, there are bike racks?” Judith said. “So why can you park your bike there if you can’t cycle on the road?”

Local campaigners have also received another report of a cyclist being fined for riding slowly along Culver Street West, along with anecdotal – and so far unproven – claims that people have been stopped and fined for “pushing their bikes” on the street.

And last week, on Long Wyre Street, another elderly female cyclist, who wishes to remain anonymous, was similarly riding her bike in an area with a ‘no motor vehicles’ sign when she was stopped and fined £100 by WISE wardens, who also claimed she was riding on the footpath.

“I received a £100 fine for anti-social behaviour regarding cycling, but I was not cycling dangerously at all. I was on the road, not the path, and in no place was it indicated that cycling was not allowed on this street,” the cyclist said.

Long Wyre Street, Colchester

Long Wyre Street, Colchester

According to Colchester Cycling Campaign, the part of Long Wyre Street where the cyclist was fined boasts the same outdated ‘pedestrian zone’ signage as Culver Street West, while also containing cycle parking.

However, Tracy Vincent, Colchester’s city centre area manager has claimed the opposite, arguing that cycling is banned on Long Wyre Street thanks to the road’s ‘no vehicles’ sign.

“Pedestrianised zones are essential for ensuring the safety of pedestrians and are areas closed to traffic including bicycles, to create a safe environment for people to walk freely without fear of collisions or intimidation,” Vincent said, drawing criticism from local campaigners due to the implication that all cycling on footways is “intimidating”.

“These areas are designated for pedestrians only, and vehicles (including bicycles) are not allowed. [The cyclist] claims that she was fined incorrectly because they believe the area was a road, not a footpath. However, if the signs clearly indicate a pedestrian zone, regardless of location of entry onto the street. It’s essential to consider the safety of pedestrians, especially in areas with heavy footfall and lots of wheelchair users.”

Another local cyclist, Will Innocent, was also issued with a £100 penalty for cycling along West Stockwell Street, where it is only prohibited (again for motor vehicles, according to the signage) to enter from High Street – but which saw him fined anyway, despite the warden initially and erroneously claiming that he had been cycling on the pavement.

West Stockwell Street, Colchester

West Stockwell Street

“I had given way to the pedestrians joining the High Street, but did not dismount. I was then stopped and spoken to as I was locking my bike outside McDonald’s,” the aptly named Innocent said.

“Although first I was accused of cycling on the pavement (which I did not), I was then told that I should have dismounted at the end of West Stockwell Street, where it joins the High Street, but there is no sign saying that you must dismount bicycles there (or any other signs for that matter).”

According to the cyclist, when asked why he wasn’t allowed to cycle on the road, the warden replied: “If cars aren’t allowed, you aren’t allowed”.

“It is clear from William’s interaction with the warden that the initial offence to be recorded was ‘cycling on the pavement’ when he was only ever cycling on the road, and that he was then fined for not dismounting while cycling on the road, which is nonsensical,” the Colchester Cycling Campaign said, describing WISE’s case against him as a “misrepresentation of events and shifting of goalposts”.

“I’ve been doing this journey pretty much daily for several months, and have never upset any pedestrians,” Innocent added. “It does seem like they are just targeting push bikes, as they are easier to catch.”

“Where’s the common sense?”

In addition to the confusion surrounding WISE’s understanding of Colchester’s no-cycling zones, the issue of cyclists riding on the city’s footways has also proved controversial in recent months.

In April, we reported that both Stuart Braybrooke and Thomas Roper were issued with FPNs for cycling slowly on the footpath on Magdalen Street, in two separate incidents, in a bid to avoid cycling on the notoriously busy St Botolph’s roundabout.

St Botolph's roundabout, Colchester (Google)

> “Rogue” wardens accused of “lying in wait” for cyclists riding on pavement beside busy roundabout

“Thomas was about to head into a roundabout, which is a very busy roundabout, and he thought it would be safer to be on the footpath,” Thomas’ father, Professor Mike Roper, told road.cc this week about the incident near the roundabout he describes as one of Colchester’s “black spots” for cyclists.

“He was going at walking pace and was being extremely mindful towards pedestrians, but he was riding on the footway to avoid riding on what he perceived to be the much greater danger of getting around this roundabout, which is extremely hostile for cyclists.

“He was then stopped by someone in hi-vis, who said ‘Thank you for stopping, I’m now going to give you a Fixed Penalty Notice for riding on the footpath’. So, he’s getting fined over a day’s pay for an incident which is completely trifling and where I think he made the right decision for his own safety.”

Magdalen Street, Colchester (Google)

While, unlike the cases involving Judith Highland and Will Innocent, Roper acknowledges that cycling on the footway could fall under the city’s PSPO, he believes a common-sense approach needs to be adopted when it comes to safe cycling.

“Thomas’ case isn’t clear cut, because he was on a footway, but what should have happened is a warning,” he says.

Roper also criticised the lack of communication surrounding the appeals process, which he says has been marred by chaos and confusion, and left his son forced to cough up £100 or potentially face an escalated penalty of £1,000.

“The council are going about this all wrong. They’re saying they’ve sent emails which we have no record of, dismissing appeals summarily without grounds, the left hand isn’t talking to the right hand,” he says.

“And WISE aren’t talking properly to the council – they sent out this threatening letter, talking about Thomas cycling in an intimidating manner. Which is just wrong, because he was going at walking pace. And the letter is incomprehensible, I can’t even work out what’s been charged with, it’s completely ungrammatical and a dog’s breakfast.

“But the letter came with a council overhead, but the council said, ‘Oh that’s not us, it’s WISE’. Then we couldn’t get through to WISE and it took hours to sort out. And they’re not talking to each other. We’re all trying to appeal, but then WISE are telling us we’ve got two weeks to pay, or the fine will go up to £1,000.”

He continued: “We’re being threatened, and our ability to put pressure on the council and get it sorted out is being frustrated by this private organisation, that says it’s the council but isn’t, threatening us with a £1,000 penalty. It’s a scandal.

“And the council say ‘It’s nothing to do with us’ – shambolic doesn’t begin to describe it. And it’s just an example of what privatisation leads to, they haven’t got their boundaries clear, and an organisation presumably paid by targets, they’ve got an incentive to give everyone a fine.

“So there’s no justice and no proper thinking about people’s situations. And they escalate the money to put them off appealing and make them pay.”

> Council changes controversial cycling ban that campaigners branded "psychological barrier" to people using bicycles

The frustration surrounding the appeals process and WISE’s scattergun approach to a PSPO which purportedly claims to target “dangerous, intimidating, or reckless” cycling was echoed by Judith Highland.

“I don’t know how those things apply to us,” she tells road.cc. “I’m an old granny, a pensioner. And my granddaughter even said to me, ‘You’re hardly Gangster Granny, are you?’ It’s so ridiculous.

“We said we’re not going to pay this £100 fine, it’s ridiculous. But the threat of a £1,000 fine and a criminal conviction has worried me, so we will probably pay it. But I don’t think I should.”

Judith also added that, after appealing the fine, WISE claimed – again, erroneously, according to the area’s signage – that cycling was “forbidden on the road”, before mistakenly repeating that her partner Mark was cycling on the pavement.

“These guys are brought in from out of the area, and they need adequate training so they know what’s acceptable and legal,” Judith says.

“And it’s obviously just a money-making scheme. In theory, having the wardens is a good thing – if people are dropping litter or cigarette butts, then go for it – but fining cyclists is a bit like saying you’re fined for putting litter in a rubbish bin.”

So far, the only appeal that has proved successful has been that of Helge Gillmeister, after it was confirmed that she was, in fact, cycling on a path that has been designated for 13 years as a shared-use cycle route.

“As a council we are pro-cycling”

In an attempt to combat the wardens’ “zeal”, which they say is inflicting “reputational damage” upon Colchester, the Colchester Cycling Campaign is calling on the council to reword the existing PSPO, which – despite the local authority initially assuring that it would “only be used against cyclists riding at people and crossing flowerbeds” – the campaign believes is too open to interpretation and enabling WISE’s wardens to target all kinds of cyclists.

The current PSPO, which was reviewed last autumn, states that people can be fined for “using a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, skates, or any other self-propelled wheeled vehicle, including electric scooters, in such a manner as to cause or is likely to cause intimidation, harassment, alarm, distress, nuisance, or annoyance to any person”.

However, along with urging the council to rescind all of the 62 FPNs issued to date and reviewing WISE’s suitability to carry out the enforcement, the Colchester Cycling Campaign has also recommended that the PSPO’s wording be changed immediately, by adopting the phrasing used in Coventry City Council’s order:

Any person riding a pedal cycle, skateboarding or riding a manual scooter must do so in a careful and considerate manner and must dismount if requested to do so by an enforcing officer when continuing to ride would cause a danger to the public or public offence. Failure to comply will leave them liable to enforcement.

Last week, representatives of the campaign group met with Colchester City Council’s Sam Lancaster to discuss the matter, pointing out that a “similar tolerance” afforded to speeding motorists should also be applied to cyclists riding on the city’s footways to avoid busy traffic.

However, Lancaster – who insisted that cyclists aren’t being targeted and that bike-related offences are being treated the same as littering – claimed that wardens are witnessing the “same people offending day after day”, that “someone cycling slowly on the footway could still cause a problem if a pedestrian suddenly stopped or walked out in front of them”, and that the council was being placed under pressure from residents’ associations “to achieve results”.

Head Street, Colchester (Colchester Cycling Campaign(

“Why are these people cycling on the footway? Because of 80 years of anti-social planning by the authorities,” William Bramhill, Colchester Cycling Campaign’s vice-secretary, told road.cc.

“The whole thing is subjective – have there been any complaints about cyclists? The council say they’re coming under pressure when they meet the residents, and of course people are going to complain about cyclists on the footways, because some people object to it with reason, because they’ve been close passed.

“But the vast bulk of cyclists are doing it considerably. When Judith and Mark were being fined, a few young thugs cycled past giving the wardens the finger!

“The council also couldn’t give me the exact powers of the wardens. Because it would be an offence to not give your name to a proper council warden. But these plastic wardens, or cowboy wardens – unless they’ve got a police warrant – you don’t have to give them your name and address. It might go to court and you might get a higher penalty, but they’ve got no authority to demand your name and address.”

Despite the council’s non-committal approach to the issue last week, at the weekend the Liberal Democrat-led local authority’s leader David King confirmed that WISE’s approach to cycling will be reviewed – and all fines paused in the interim.

“I have forwarded a number of cases onto our officers to review,” King told Bramhill. “As a council we are pro-cycling and walking. There is always a balance to strike between different road users but signage needs to be clear and fine, in my view, a last not immediate first resort.

“I will ensure the case of those affected will be reviewed, as well as the approach. Until then, I have asked we warn, not fine.”

While King’s intervention has been welcomed, Bramhill also argued that the wardens’ overzealous clampdown on urban cycling this year has the potential to affect Colchester’s recent attempts to make the city safer for its cyclists, which include the installation of a new protected bike lane on Head Street the campaign says will “revolutionise people’s journeys”.

Head Street cycle lane in Colchester (Essex County Council)

> Cycling levels up one month on from outspoken critics claiming cycle lane was "accident waiting to happen for pedestrians"

“These wardens just fly in the face of the Peelian principles. We’ve attracted so much money for cycling and now this is happening and it’s giving Colchester a bad name – will we get government money again?” he asked.

“We’re not having a go at the council per se. It seems to be the town centre manager and the warden’s manager who have pushed through this PSPO, when many of the relevant signs are old fashioned and outdated, who haven’t got proper control of these WISE wardens, and the WISE wardens have been running amok.”

Mike Roper also noted that Colchester’s cycling strategy currently seems to be “pointing in opposite directions”, featuring behaviour that is “deterring cyclists and not dealing with the problems for cyclists’ safety caused by traffic”.

“Colchester has spent a lot of money on a new bike lane, and it’s trying to promote itself as a cycling city. But all these things don’t add up,” Judith Highland added.

Judith is also one of the many cyclists, highlighted by the Colchester Cycling Campaign, who have been put off riding her bike by the threat of the fines.

After initially hoping on cycling to Spain this autumn with family members, Judith says her bike holiday plans have been put on ice because “we don’t think we’d be able to practice enough, as we’re too frightened of cycling in the city”.

“I haven’t used my bike since that day, I’m too worried – what would happen if I went out and got another fine? Usually I cycle to work, but every day since then I’ve driven to work,” she says. “This whole thing isn’t good for the environment and what’s the point of having cycle lanes?”

“This war on cycling must stop,” concludes Bramhill. “It’s crazy – all you hear is people saying ‘oh you go through red lights, registration plates’. But only yesterday, I read about a motorist who went through a red light after sniffing on one of these cannisters, and he killed a cyclist. It needs to stop.”

Colchester City Council has been contacted by road.cc for comment.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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60 comments

Avatar
TROOPER74 | 4 weeks ago
3 likes

You can only get fined if you tell them who you are ... DONT .... if anyone tries to physically retain you then that is Assult or Transient Assult ... You only get fined if you agree too ... 

Stopped twice .. never spoken .. never fined ...

Avatar
unioncityblue replied to TROOPER74 | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Exactly this.

Why do people give these no marks their names?

Just don't do it

Avatar
brooksby replied to TROOPER74 | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

If they are a designated officer, which I believe all of these are, then you do have to give them your details if you've breached a PSPO. Of course, if you don't then they have no powers of arrest - a citizens arrest, iirc ianal, only applies to certain crimes and this isn't one of them.

Avatar
jk651 | 4 weeks ago
0 likes

This reads like a plot to a comedy movie to me.

Avatar
polainm | 1 month ago
4 likes

My approach to ignorant and anti-cycling councillors and highways officers is to write to the town/city PR department explaining why I won't visit these places. That for every £ of council tax money they spend on promoting their town/city, these anti-cycling attitudes reputations spread quickly across the UK negating it.

Newcastle City Council is another case, where they lied about the reasons for removing an LTN in the Heaton area, blaming 'cycling pressure groups' when drivers couldn't initially get their typical wants. The LTN was removed. 

Same with Knightsbridge, Birmingham...Road CC should run a list of rotten boroughs like close pass of the day, so normal people using a bicycle can avoid these toxic places and take their custom elsewhere. 

Then let local businesses enjoy their car-choked urban roads, full of internet shoppers. Buying stuff while stationary, using Carplay in the urban EV tank. 

This way we get car-towns and cities that cyclists know to avoid, while forward thinking C21st ones enjoy more living streets and custom of people walking and cycling. 

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to polainm | 1 month ago
4 likes

Just tell 'em you'll withhold your road tax.

Avatar
The Giblet | 1 month ago
1 like

Not that hard to know the difference between a No Motor Vehicles sign and a No vehicles sign. Colchester Council now open to huge litigation.

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polainm replied to The Giblet | 1 month ago
3 likes

You are implying competence where there is none. 

Avatar
marmotte27 | 1 month ago
6 likes

One of the many reasons, privatisation has to end. Not saying that police and ither public officials dont make mistakes sometimes intentionally, but at least there's no direct profit motives polluting law enforcement.
It also needs to stop to re-create a public service ethos where you're proud to serve your community first and foremost.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
4 likes

marmotte27 wrote:

at least there's no direct profit motives polluting law enforcement

The Met of the 70s would like a word.

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marmotte27 replied to mdavidford | 1 month ago
0 likes

ok, but that's not a direct profit motive.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
4 likes

An envelope full of cash seems pretty direct to me. And pretty much all profit.

Avatar
polainm replied to marmotte27 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Next you'll be arguing that privatisation of water treatment and provision was a bad idea....🤣

Avatar
qwerty360 | 1 month ago
5 likes

There is a clear and obvious solution to this problem.

 

Make the council contractors responsible for enforcing this (who AFAIK collect the money from the fines, hence issuing fines aggressively whenever they can come up with any justification) also responsible for enforcing parking rules as well. Mandate that they all HAVE to be responsible for both.

 

And watch as illegal parking on double yellows, no loading signs, in cycle lanes, blocking footways, in bus lanes etc, etc disappear as the drivers are buried in £100+ fines... Enforcement agents will be far too busy to worry about the occasional cyclist going carefully through...

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to qwerty360 | 1 month ago
4 likes

But but that's generating excess money from drivers!  Making the motorist into a cash cow!

It's exactly the kind of woke-lefty-metropolitain-elite impractical idea that this government is defending hard-working people against!

(Also it will irritate the worthies, who'll have a word with the councillors at the club).

Avatar
mdavidford replied to qwerty360 | 1 month ago
2 likes

One slight correction:

qwerty360 wrote:

hence issuing fines aggressively whenever they can come up with any justification like

Avatar
brooksby | 1 month ago
10 likes

Quote:

A local council has ordered the private agency tasked with enforcing its ban on anti-social and “intimidating” cycling to stop fining cyclists riding their bikes in the city with immediate effect, after the agency’s wardens were accused of “running amok”

I would wager that the "private agency" was given performance targets, and its own staff may even receive bonuses for helping meet those targets.  So, "running amok" was the obvious consequence.

The only reason the council has issued new orders is that there is media coverage making them look bad.

IMO.

Avatar
GYPSY | 1 month ago
3 likes

Try Nottingham city centre the cycle path always blocked blocked by taxis and lorry's unloading despite signs on every lamppost say no stopping or blocking of cycle path .
Who fines these drivers ?

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polainm replied to GYPSY | 1 month ago
0 likes

Another one for Road CC Rotten Boroughs....

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Seastars | 1 month ago
2 likes

People are intimidated by a uniform. Its no accident that all manner of little despots dress like police officers. If it is not a police officer you can safely ignore the idiots.
If it is a police officer, they also have very limited powers unless they have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a criminal offence.

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riggbeck | 1 month ago
9 likes

That version of the no vehicles sign has nothing to do with bicycles, because it has the car and the motorbike on it, it actually means pedal bikes are allowed.

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Bols | 1 month ago
8 likes

Are the cycling public required to hand over personal details to a sub contracted firm? I don't think you're even required to hand over details to a police officer.

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MHornby replied to Bols | 1 month ago
4 likes

I wondered the same thing. I guess people being questioned are caught off guard and a little flustered, but if you just didn't respond to their questions and rode or walked away, what could the warden realistically do?

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GYPSY replied to Bols | 1 month ago
3 likes

Give nobody but police your details wardens have no authority to obtain anyone's personal details

Avatar
Tom_77 replied to Bols | 1 month ago
5 likes

Bols wrote:

Are the cycling public required to hand over personal details to a sub contracted firm? I don't think you're even required to hand over details to a police officer.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/12/part/4/chapter/2/crossheadi...

Quote:

A constable or an authorised person may issue a fixed penalty notice to anyone he or she has reason to believe has committed an offence under section 63 or 67 in relation to a public spaces protection order

A WISE warden will be "an authorised person".

However...

While a uniformed police officer or PCSO has the power to stop a cyclist, I'm not aware of any legislation that allows that power to be sub-contracted out. So if you refuse to stop for a WISE warden I don't think there's much they can do about it.

Avatar
Bols replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago
2 likes

On checking the ID and address situation: it appears that you don't have to give your ID or address unless you've been arrested. And then you still have the right to refuse. Obviously this might cause a number of issues. I don't think the WISE people have the authority to arrest anyone. Riding your bike where you shouldn't isn't a criminal offence.

Avatar
Tom_77 replied to Bols | 1 month ago
7 likes

Bols wrote:

Riding your bike where you shouldn't isn't a criminal offence.

Breaching a PSPO is a criminal offence. The fact that PSPOs criminalise otherwise lawful behaviour is what makes them so controversial.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Bols | 4 weeks ago
5 likes

Bols wrote:

On checking the ID and address situation: it appears that you don't have to give your ID or address unless you've been arrested. And then you still have the right to refuse. Obviously this might cause a number of issues. I don't think the WISE people have the authority to arrest anyone. Riding your bike where you shouldn't isn't a criminal offence.

No, ignoring a PSPO shouldn't be a criminal offence, but it is, and so if a police officer or an accredited council officer (even if they work for a private company) asks you for your name and address to give you an FPN, which is an alternative to being arrested and charged with this "crime", it is a criminal offence to refuse to give your details. The only difference between council officers and the police in this situation is that the police can arrest you for it whereas council officers have to summon the police or rely on appealing for information by releasing bodycam/CCTV footage of the "criminal". It shouldn't be this way, but it is.

Avatar
luk | 1 month ago
4 likes

Wtf is wrong with UK ? In the last few years it looks like it's least bike friendly place in Europe  7

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to luk | 1 month ago
2 likes

Where were you looking before then?!

TBF the public noise around cycling has increased in the last decade I'd say. Well - in a few places; I'd say it still occupies little to no place in *most* people's attentions in the UK, positive or negative. Irrelevant to most.

Also - cycling is quite safe here and people do it every day. It's just that it's mostly not made as safe (feeling) as it could be - when often that could be done without vast cost. It's far from the convenience afforded by many places (not just in NL) and crucially driving is made much easier!

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