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City of Westminster to seek powers for council officers to fine cyclists

Council believes police not taking issue "seriously enough" but LCC says they are best qualified to tackle issue...

The City of Westminster is reportedly planning to become the first local authority to seek powers for council staff to issue fixed penalty notices to cyclists breaking the law.

According to a report in The Times, the borough plans to approach the Metropolitan Police to secure delegated authority under existing legislation to allow its city inspectors, who normally deal with issues such as licensing, waste and noise, to issue fines to cyclists caught committing offences such as riding through red lights or cycling on the pavement.

The plan, which still needs to be approved by the full council, has been drawn up by Westminster’s Scrutiny Committee, whose chairman, Angela Harvey, told The Times that law-breaking cyclists were the principal factor behind complaints from the borough’s residents.

“So many people are frustrated with it,” she said. “We’re always getting little old ladies who are knocked down and abused by a cyclist, who leaves them on the ground as they ride away.”

Ms Harvey added: “The police are the only people who have the ability to enforce this issue, and they just aren’t taking this seriously enough. There are more of our officers on the street than there are police at any given time, so it is a sensible solution.”

However, Tom Bogdanowicz, campaigns director of the London Cycling Campaign, believes that giving council staff powers to stop cyclists and issue fines would be a mistake, saying “enforcement of moving traffic offences needs to be carried out by trained police or police community support officers. They are best qualified to enforce the regulations on pavement cycling and most other offences as they have the training and authority to do their work.”

He added: “It is also vital that local authorities address road danger to cycle users by improving the very conditions that force some cyclists to seek the refuge of pavements. Where road design improvements have been made, offending falls significantly.”

 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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