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UKIP candidates blame immigrants for clogging up cycle lanes and threaten police crackdown on cyclists

Anti-cycling UKIP councillor appears confused about MPs' powers...

Two UKIP candidates have this week separately blamed immigrants for clogging up cycle lanes, and called for police crackdowns on cyclists, mandatory hi-vis and insurance.

The comments, made in response to the CTC's Vote Bike campaign, come from Ealing Southall UKIP candidate John Poynton and UKIP Cllr Kevin Mahoney respectively, the latter demonstrating anti-cycling rhetoric despite party policy that wishes to "encourage cycling".

Perhaps of equal concern is the comment by Cllr Mahoney that he would introduce stronger police actions against law breaking cyclists, which is beyond the powers of MPs.

UKIP candidate for Ealing Southall, John Poynton, commented on the CTC's website yesterday: "The pressures on facilities for cycling are principally caused by high levels of immigration. No party can do anything significant for cyclists until we have left the European Union. Only UKIP will do this."

When asked by to clarify, Poynton said he meant there would be room for "all activities and walks of life if fewer people lived here".

In the Vale of Glamorgan Kevin Mahoney, UKIP Cllr for Sully Ward made strongly anti-cycling statements, which were forwarded to by a reader.

Cllr Mahoney suggested introducing mandatory measures for cyclists including insurance, fluorescent jackets and proficiency tests to "considerably improve road safety for cyclists".

He would also "press for a law that cyclists must use a cycleway rather than the road if a suitable one is provided parallel with the road that they are riding on."

While Mahoney is against 20mph zones, because he feels drivers will still speed, he said he would encourage police crackdowns on "the estimated 90% of all cyclists that I personally witness whilst driving who are riding on the roads without lights after dark" and introduce "stronger police action" in enforcing road traffic laws against offending cyclists running red lights "or those that I regularly witness travelling towards me the wrong way in my lane etc etc".

However, as the CTC's Communications Coordinator, Sam Jones, points out, dictating police policies and law is not be within the powers of an MP. As a local councillor, meanwhile, he would only have powers equal to those of any other citizen, i.e. the ability to raise issues of concern with police, within existing laws.

Jones said it sounded like Mahoney's comments were based on what he would do as an MP, rather than as a councillor.

"Fortunately, neither MPs (nor councillors) can introduce any of the below by themselves on a whim," said Jones.

"By all means they can campaign for more police action on illegal activity on our roads (which we would hope would apply to all road users and be in proportion to the risk that the law breaking vehicle poses, not just singling out one specific group).

"They can also campaign for compulsory use of cycle facilities by cyclists (despite the Highway Code), just as others can campaign for Space for Cycling or Road Justice. Essentially they can campaign for anything that takes their fancy, but introducing such actions without due process is not within their scope of powers."

"It is hoped that in our democratic system no one councillor or MP would not have the power to make them do it!"

Jones added the Home Secretary and relevant ministers can advise and give guidance to the police, an example being when cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, last year advised police to use their discretion when fining people for responsible pavement cycling.

UKIP were contacted about the comments but have not responded.

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