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Cambridge residents call for better signage after park cycling crackdown

People fined for riding in Christ's Pieces say they had no idea there was a ban...

Cambridge residents have called for clearer signs on the paths across Christ's Pieces, a large park in the centre of the city, after a police crackdown on cycling at the weekend.

A local bye-law bans cycling on the paths across the park, and on Saturday police mounted an operation to fine people riding there.

Raymond Brown of Cambridge News reports that one of the riders caught in the operation, Dr Guy Roberts, spoke to others riding through the park and found none of them knew cycling there was illegal.

Dr Roberts said: "Along with several others, I received a traffic offence ticket when cycling across the park around 1pm on Saturday. Apparently riding is not allowed anywhere in the park. However, within the five minutes that I was there, around a dozen cyclists were crossing the park and all that I spoke to seemed to be unaware of the law.

"Given that all the other green spaces in Cambridge, Jesus Green, Parker's Piece, Midsummer Common, Sheep's Green, Coe Fen and so on all allow bicycles, this lack of sign posting is unfortunate."

Christ's Pieces is owned by the city of Cambridge, but signage for some of its rights of way is the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council, while the smaller paths are owned by the city.

At some entrances to the park, there's little or no indication that cycling's not allowed.

Better signage is on its way, according to the city council.

In the meantime though, Dr Roberts plans to appeal the fine because of the lack of clear signs.

He said: "There are no signs on the north-west entrance to the park 'advising users how to behave'.

"In my opinion as the landowner – in this case the city council – has not chosen to erect appropriate 'no cycling' signs, they can not claim trespass."

Cllr Carina O'Rielly, head of parks at the city council, said: "There's a bylaw preventing cycling anywhere on Christ's Pieces and I know local residents are keen to see it enforced. There is a lack of signage at the moment, but there's a project in hand to put in new signs and bollards at the entrances to Christ's Pieces and that should start in the new year.

"In the meantime, it's a very crowded open space at this time of year, so while I have every sympathy for cyclists who didn't realise that cycling wasn't allowed, I'm glad that police are enforcing the rules, which should keep everyone a bit safer."

Dr Roberts said: "I'd be very pleased if this was clearly signed. I spoke to several people who were given tickets and they were mostly middle-aged and there was an elderly women. Not the sort of people to ignore the law but they were also unaware of the restriction on cycling through the park."

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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