Cyclists and business owners have expressed outrage at news that cyclists are to be banned from Newport’s city centre from next month.
Gwent Police have named 11 streets which cyclists are now no longer able to use thanks to what they call incidents of cycling in an “anti-social manner”.
The ban will cover Bridge Street, Cambrian Street, Charles Street, Commercial Street, Corn Street, Griffin Street, High Street, Market Street, Skinner Street, Stow Hill and Upper Dock Street, between the hours of 11am and midnight, meaning a cyclist who commuted to work might find themselves walking home.
Warning letters will be handed out and cyclists flouting the ban will be made to hand over their personal details. Fixed penalties will be brought in at a later date.
The Gwent Police website stated:
Over the next few weeks officers will be enforcing a traffic order to prohibit cycling through the city centre of Newport.
It follows recent reports of a number of incidents of those causing a danger to pedestrians during busy times.
In particular Gwent Police have received calls from local businesses and residents who have noticed groups of people cycling through the city centre anti-socially.
For example some cyclists are pulling what's known as a wheelie, swerving in and out of people and causing a nuisance to businesses and shoppers going about their daily business.
Officers will now be handing out warning letters to cyclist in the city centre, in order to educate them and warn them of subsequent enforcements they face.
Details will also be taken of those who are issued with the warnings to avoid repeat offenders.
Following this educational period, officers will then move on to the next stage and start issuing fixed penalties to those seen cycling through the busy city centre.
There is no timescale for the ban, described as an “on-going project”, according to the South Wales Argus.
Paul Hawkins of Diverse Music in Charles Street told the paper: “If this was April I think it would be an April Fools. How can you ban cyclists from the city centre?
“You can’t ban cyclists from the road. I do cycle to work occasionally, what would I have to do, dismount and then walk? It’s pointless.”
Jo Roberts of Cedar’s Café said: “We get people cycling on the pavements up here but that’s already illegal so I don’t think you need to put bans in place. You should be encouraging cycling.
“There’s lots of PCSOs and policing in the city centre and the rules are enough without having bans. You look towards more progressive cities and they always move towards facilitating cycling.”
But Mazlum Kara, owner of the Coffee Shop on Upper Dock Street, said: “There are too many cyclists, there are groups of young teenagers, maybe about aged 10 to 13.
“They congregate and scare people and in the school holidays you will see them more. And with the bus station next door to us, they hang around and they are anti-social. We will love the ban.”
Crime and disorder reduction officer Leanne Pole said: “The first part of this action is about educating the public, many who may be unaware it is an offence to cycle in the city centre of Newport.
“The area is extremely busy with pedestrians and for safety purposes we should be enforcing these measures.”
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police added: "Police are enforcing this under the traffic order made by Newport City council in 1998.
"The hours of this enforcement are between 11am and midnight."