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Nasty scenes and cold takeaway food as tempers flare over Tower Bridge cycling ban

Cyclists told to walk over the bridge during repairs - but some flouting the law

Nasty scenes have been breaking out on Tower Bridge, where officers from City of London Police have reportedly been fining cyclists riding on the walkway, where the carriageway is currently closed to allow urgent maintenance and repairs to the 122-year-old structure and its road surface to be carried out.

Cyclists are allowed to push their bikes along the bridge’s pavements while the works, which will last until the end of the year, are carried out, but they are not allowed to ride across.

Hristo Ivanov, 45, who sells caramelised peanuts on the busiest stretch of the bridge, told the Evening Standard he had seen dozens of near-misses and described the morning rush-hour as “terrifying”.

He said: “Most of them are well behaved and get off. But earlier someone was cycling so fast he smashed straight into my stand and knocked nuts everywhere.

“I shouted ‘be careful’ but he just sped off and didn’t say anything - he didn’t even look back. They really don’t care, it’s so rude.”

An UberEats cyclist, who gave his name as Stefan, said he had been stopped by police five times in a single day since the bridge was closed to vehicles on Saturday.

The 20-year-old told the Standard: “It takes nearly 15 minutes to walk across the bridge, but people expect their meals in to arrive that time.

“I get told off but then as soon as they can’t see me I have to hop back on again. It’s the only way I can do my job.

“I haven’t been fined yet by police and if I take the next bridge along I’m adding on even more time.”

Another delivery cyclist, who gave his name as Levi, 40, said: “My boss needs me to deliver on time so I will keep cycling. There should be a separate cycle lane for us and there would be no problems.”

Another man, known only as Dan, was filmed using his bike to block a fellow rider from using the bridge.

He asks the cyclist: “Are you going to walk?”

The middle-aged man in a black lycra jacket and denim shorts shouts: “It’s none of your business,” before barging past the improvised blockade and jumping back into the saddle to pedal away.

The pair exchange heated words, with the ban-flouting cyclist calling Dan a “t*****”.

As he rides off over the bridge a bystander calls out: “Get off your bike”.

Dan, from Camberwell, told the Standard: “The ones who break the rules are giving cyclists a bad name. I just hope I don’t get my block knocked off.”

Recently we reported that, following complaints that some people were riding bikes on the footway, City of London police were today issuing fixed penalty notices to cyclists who had not dismounted.

Transport for London (TfL) says it will station eight Road and Transport Enforcement Officers on the bridge – two of them at each end – while the works are ongoing, with a spokesman saying that “cyclists will not be able to get past on their bikes without being stopped.”

Motor vehicles are banned from the bridge altogether, with diversions in place for the routes that cross it, and a higher than usual volume of pedestrians is anticipated during the period of the works – although it will be closed to people on foot, too, for three weekends from 26 November to 11 December.

Unmesh Desai, Labour London Assembly Member for City and East, told the Standard: “It’s really important that TfL and the Corporation challenge the minority of cyclists who are not dismounting whilst crossing the pedestrian walkway on Tower Bridge.

“I personally witnessed several cyclists weaving in and out between vulnerable pedestrians on the bridge yesterday evening and feel that there is a high risk of a serious accident unless enforcement action is taken,” he added.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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