Adam Kitek ignored fixed penalty notice issued by council official in Gravesend

A cyclist caught riding through a pedestrian zone in Gravesend, Kent, has been fined £440 for breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

A safer place officer from Gravesham Council saw Adam Kitek riding his bike along a section of News Street subject to a PSPO at 11.10am on 11 August last year.

The PSPO forbids riding bicycles within the designated area from 10am-6pm every day, according to the Gravesend Reporter.

The council officer explained about the PSPO and took down Kitek’s details. A fixed penalty notice (FPN) was sent to him, however he did not pay it and ignored a reminder.

He was summonsed to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court but did not attend and he was found guilty in his absence.

Besides the £440 fine, he was also told to pay a victim surcharge of £44 and costs of £250.

Speaking after the hearing, Gravesham Council’s assistant director for communities, Simon Hookway, said: “The Public Space Protection Order was put in place in 2016 to ensure shoppers can walk and shop safely along New Road.

“It is just a short distance that cyclists need to dismount for to ensure the safety of shoppers in this pedestrianised shopping street.

“We will issue fines to those who do not follow this and if fixed penalty notices are ignored, we will prosecute.

“As can be seen from this case, ignoring a fixed penalty notice can soon become an expensive matter,” he added. “But the safety of shoppers takes priority.”

PSPOs are used by local authorities to enable council officials to issue FPNs for behaviour banned by the  order, which may include littering, drinking alcohol or cycling.

However, Duncan Dollimore of the charity Cycling UK, which opposes PSPOs, has described them as geographically defined ASBOs, saying that they are employed 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."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.