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But 40 people a week are still getting fined for cycling where they shouldn't...

The leader of Peterborough Council has defended a decision to fine unauthorised cyclists in the city centre, saying the number of fines handed out has halved.

John Holdich said “you often need to give things time before calling it a success or failure”.

Writing in Peterborough Today, he went on: “In May we began fining people for unauthorised cycling as part of a new city centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which aims to tackle a range of anti-social behaviour. At the time there were some who doubted whether our approach would lead to a reduction in cycling along the busy shopping street.

“But, less than three months on, feelings have changed and people are noticing an increase in the number of people dismounting and walking the short distance with their bike - including the Peterborough Telegraph.

“The figures back it up too - in the first two weeks we fined 195 people, but in the past two weeks it’s less than half, 84.

“It’s been a difficult issue for us, as we know that although many people support our view that allowing cyclists to use Bridge Street during the day can pose a danger to pedestrians, there are those that think this targeted measure means we don’t support cycling in the city.

“This couldn’t be further from the truth. In the past four years we have spent over £1.5million on improvements to the city’s primary cycle networks.”

Last year we reported how council officers at Peterborough City Council were forced to back down on threats to hand out fixed penalty notices to cyclists in Bridge Street, after discovering only police officers can enforce the law.

Council leader Councillor John Holdich had said that all council staff would have the power to give out the fines to cyclists in the pedestrian area, but as it is in fact a road traffic offence, they did not have the power to do so.

The council was delayed while it arranged to have the rules changed.

Duncan Dollimore of Cycling UK equated the PSPOs to geographically definied ASBOs and expressed his incredulity that these orders were being used to "restrict the use of public space and criminalise behaviour not normally regarded as illegal... [like] the pernicious pastime which undermines the very fabric of our society: cycling."

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.