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Cyclists avoiding backstreet told off

Frustrated cyclists pedalling through a beauty spot in Islington have been confronted by police as the speed bumps saga continues. PCSO’s were posted at two entrances to New River Walk in Canonbury last Tuesday to turn away cyclists trying to avoid the speed bumps in the adjacent Douglas Road South.

Council-owned Homes for Islington (HFL), a local tenants and residents association, installed 14 bumps in the road with the aim of slowing down cyclists after residents complained about them speeding down the pedestrian-only backstreet.

Canonbury ward councillor Barbara Smith said: "It's a short road with no other traffic but it proves dangerous for children wanting to play outside. I have also heard of an elderly gentleman being knocked down."

However cyclists, who use the 250-metre narrow road as a cut-through to avoid the traffic-congested main highway, criticised Islington Council after the speed bumps were installed.

LCC campaigns manager Tom Bogdanowicz said: "This looks like a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It is surprising that council experts did not intervene before these particular bumps were installed. The number of speed bumps in such a short space must make this quiet road among the least cycle and wheelchair friendly in Europe.

"The measure will have the greatest negative impact on local residents who cycle as well as older cyclists, people with disabilities and parents with push chairs. For the more vulnerable members of the community the bumps are a serious obstacle and a safety issue."

A spokeswoman for Islington police said in the Islington Gazette: "As part of a joint initiative with Islington Council officers carried out a bicycle safety exercise on October 20 between 5.15pm and 7:15pm.

"A PCSO was stationed at the two entrances into New River Walk to ensure maximum impact on the rush hour cyclists. Cyclists were advised to use the correct cycle route. The team also handed out safety belts and lights."