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As Bedford decides whether to renew PSPO, campaigners argue it has reduced the number of people cycling into town

Number of fines has risen six-fold since enforcement was contracted out to a private firm

Bedford Borough Council is consulting on the renewal of its Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) banning cycling, which is due to expire later this year. According to the Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire (CCNB), there has been a decline in the number of people riding into the town centre since the PSPO was introduced in 2016.

Bedford is one of a number of towns to have imposed a cycling ban using a PSPO with cycling not permitted in certain parts of the town centre between 9am and 6pm.

Round-the-world cyclist Josh Quigley was recently handed a £75 fine for riding his bike in the town centre, not realising it was an offence.

The Livingstone cyclist, who was just a week into his trip, tore up the ticket and said he won’t pay. He argued that local councils should be encouraging people to get on their bikes, not punishing them.

PSPOs have also drawn criticism from Cycling UK for the way in which they target cycling as a whole rather than only those who cause a danger or nuisance through the manner of their cycling.

The Bedford Independent reports that CCNB has adopted a similar position.

“CCNB was in favour of the proposal to fine the minority of cyclists who ride in an aggressive and reckless manner,” said Peter Blakeman of the group.

“We were however concerned the effect the order would have on a number of disabled residents who use a bicycle or tricycle as a mobility aid in the same way that others use a mobility scooter.”

Since January 2018, enforcement of the PSPO has been contracted out to Kingdom Securities, a private firm that is also responsible for enforcement of a similar PSPO in Peterborough, where it has raked in £80,000 in fines for unauthorised cycling.

The number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued by Kingdom in Bedford rose six-fold in just nine months from 181 in January 2018 to 1,127 in September 2018.

Blakeman said: “We were disappointed to hear that within the first month of operation they had given out 181 fixed penalty notices (FPNs). By July this had increased to 935 and September to 1,127. A number of reports were heard of the aggressive behaviour of the officers towards the elderly and foreign visitors.

“Government research has shown that incidents between cyclists and pedestrians in pedestrian areas are extremely rare and that there are no real factors which should exclude cycling in these areas. This is in contrast to the increase in fatalities/serious injuries caused by users of mobility scooters.”

A spokesperson for Bedford Business Improvement District, which represents businesses in the town centre, said: “Our former Bluecaps town centre team received endless complaints from members of the public about the hazards of people cycling on pavements or pedestrianised areas.

“Polite requests to ask people to dismount by Bluecaps were often met with abuse.  The situation came to head a few years ago when an elderly lady had to be taken to hospital after being knocked over in Harpur Square.

“We fed that information back to the police and council and they made a decision to step up action with their own special team currently in operation in the town centre.

“The feedback from businesses and the public has been generally positive, and where there have been cases of complaint the council has dealt with directly.

“Quite apart from the legalities, cycling in a busy pedestrianised shopping area is impractical. Out of simple politeness people ought to dismount and push their bike for short distances.

“The restrictions only apply during busy day times. They do not apply when streets are largely empty at night.

“We have encouraged businesses to take part in this consultation so the council has the widest possible feedback upon which to make a decision based upon views from both town centre customers and businesses.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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24 comments

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Pilot Pete | 4 years ago
1 like

The link worked for me, so I told Bedford exactly what I thought, assuming that a PSPO would be put in place to ban cars due to real threat to pedestrians and informing them of the great pleasure I shall experience in avoiding visiting their town.

I signed off when offered to state in what capacity I was responding as “resident, cyclist, pedestrian, motorist, LGV licence holder, airline pilot and examiner, Mayor’s Consort, father, realist (in relation to the real risk causers with regards pedestrians)”

 

PP

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Mungecrundle | 4 years ago
1 like

I take it that private motor vehicles are also banned from the town centre?

To me the issue is not so much with the idea behind a PSPO which should be to deter the small number of people who seem intent on turning town centres into rubbish strewn places of dark threat that smell of piss but the enforcement actions of private companies like Kingdom who are literally awarded a licence to extort money and then given every latitude to target the easy prey rather than tackling the actual anti social thugs who might be rather more aggressive and violent when confronted.

If someone is recklessly riding a bicycle to the distress of pedestrians, and there really are such people, then there needs to be recourse to stop them and if appropriate / proportionate administer some sort of instant penalty. Does this mean no cycling zones are a good idea? Probably not, and as an occassional visitor to Bedford I have filled in the survey. However it is certainly possible to use a bicycle in an anti social way and it is certainly a waste of expensive Police resources patrolling town centres when some other lower level of enforcement officer can be as effective.

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wknight | 4 years ago
0 likes

A cyclist in Portsmouth cycling in a very busy pedestrian area  where cycling is not allowed refused to stop for not one but 2 PCSO, pushing one of them out of the way as he cycled past. When asked for his details he refused saying he didn't have to talk to plastic plods. 

He was charged with failing to stop for an officer (yes that includes PCSO and traffic wardens) and common assault. He was given a conditional discharge and costs and other charges of around £100. 

Therefore you do have to stop when asked to do so and this was a very expensive lesson. 

Its also about thinking about other people and the harm you can do to them rather than just rushing for the ferry 

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to wknight | 4 years ago
0 likes
wknight wrote:

A cyclist in Portsmouth cycling in a very busy pedestrian area  where cycling is not allowed refused to stop for not one but 2 PCSO, pushing one of them out of the way as he cycled past. When asked for his details he refused saying he didn't have to talk to plastic plods. 

He was charged with failing to stop for an officer (yes that includes PCSO and traffic wardens) and common assault. He was given a conditional discharge and costs and other charges of around £100. 

Therefore you do have to stop when asked to do so and this was a very expensive lesson. 

Its also about thinking about other people and the harm you can do to them rather than just rushing for the ferry 

Given the assaults on cyclists by motorists every single day, given the ignoring of criminal activity by motorists every single day, this is discriminatory action. The rider should have cycled faster to escape those that attempted kidnap unlawfully.

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the little onion | 4 years ago
3 likes

I reckon a cheeky freedom of information request on the *actual* number of incidents and complaints might reveal whether there has indeed been "endless complaints" about cyclists or whether this is just anti-cyclist prejudices and projectionism

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burtthebike replied to the little onion | 4 years ago
2 likes
the little onion wrote:

I reckon a cheeky freedom of information request on the *actual* number of incidents and complaints might reveal whether there has indeed been "endless complaints" about cyclists or whether this is just anti-cyclist prejudices and projectionism

Endless in this instance is probably two.

When I worked at a large local aircraft factory, they trialled letting cyclists into the site instead of leaving their bikes outside.  After a year, they were going to withdraw the privilege because of the level of complaints, and when I asked how many the answer was, you guessed it; two.  After some considerable venting of spleen by the Bicycle Users' Group, they relented, and now there isn't enough space to park all the bikes.

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growingvegtables replied to the little onion | 4 years ago
5 likes
the little onion wrote:

I reckon a cheeky freedom of information request on the *actual* number of incidents and complaints might reveal whether there has indeed been "endless complaints" about cyclists or whether this is just anti-cyclist prejudices and projectionism

 

Doesn't need anything as complicated as FOI .

 

Any number of road accident map sites - this'll do for the moment ;-).   https://www.crashmap.co.uk/Search. 

  • Search for Bedford. 
  • Select whatever years you want (I went for all 20 recorded).  
  • Select pedestrian in "casualty type".
  • And play with the "Vehicles involved" selector.

 

Bottom line - in 20 years ...

  • 15 (yes, FIFTEEN!) incidents, five of them serious, involving pedestrians and cyclists.  Shock, horror - one of our bluecaps (?) got sworn at (for being an officious jobsworth?).   Urgent action!  Quick!  Bring in a PSPO!  Bugger the innocent cyclists caught - they're just collateral.  This is an essential, and urgent action to prevent anarchy on the streets of Bedford!  God help us ... this is just VITALLY important! 
  • 486 incidents involving cars and pedestrians.  So fucking many, the map can't cope with showing them all.  Hey ... but that's cars.  Bedford doesn't mind?  A PSPO for cars?  Naaah - fuck the victims. 

 

 

Edited to add - "Bedford's a ****-hole.  Thank you, Bedford Council, for the confirmation."

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Internet Pawn replied to growingvegtables | 4 years ago
2 likes
growingvegtables wrote:

Bottom line - in 20 years ...

  • 15 (yes, FIFTEEN!) incidents, five of them serious, involving pedestrians and cyclists.  Shock, horror - one of our bluecaps (?) got sworn at (for being an officious jobsworth?).   Urgent action!  Quick!  Bring in a PSPO!  Bugger the innocent cyclists caught - they're just collateral.  This is an essential, and urgent action to prevent anarchy on the streets of Bedford!  God help us ... this is just VITALLY important! 
  • 486 incidents involving cars and pedestrians.  So fucking many, the map can't cope with showing them all.  Hey ... but that's cars.  Bedford doesn't mind?  A PSPO for cars?  Naaah - fuck the victims. 

 

 

Edited to add - "Bedford's a ****-hole.  Thank you, Bedford Council, for the confirmation."

In the entire history of the pedestrianised area (from 2003), within the zone there have been two incidents (one serious) involving pedestrains and cyclists.  In its wisdom, Bedford has its cycle plarking right in the middle of the pedestrian area, so it isn't even clear if the cycles were being ridden or pushed at the times of these incidents.

In the same period inside the zone there have been three incidents, one serious, involving motor vehicles.

As you say, perhaps Mayor Dave should be looking at a PSPO for cars (or possibly pedestrians).

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brooksby replied to Internet Pawn | 4 years ago
1 like
Internet Pawn wrote:

...  In its wisdom, Bedford has its cycle plarking right in the middle of the pedestrian area, so it isn't even clear if the cycles were being ridden or pushed at the times of these incidents.

Never entirely understood why councils will continually put cycle parking right in the middle of areas where they do not allow people to ride bikes.  It'd be like putting all the car parking in the middle of a pedestrianised space and explaining very nicely that all motorists must turn their engine off and *push*...

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Mungecrundle replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
Internet Pawn wrote:

...  In its wisdom, Bedford has its cycle plarking right in the middle of the pedestrian area, so it isn't even clear if the cycles were being ridden or pushed at the times of these incidents.

Never entirely understood why councils will continually put cycle parking right in the middle of areas where they do not allow people to ride bikes.  It'd be like putting all the car parking in the middle of a pedestrianised space and explaining very nicely that all motorists must turn their engine off and *push*...

If I were baiting a trap for mice, I'd use some dried fruit. If I were baiting a trap for cyclists then I'd use shiney bicycle parts, but cycle parking is probably cheaper in the long run.

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Internet Pawn | 4 years ago
0 likes

You could all tell the council their policy puts you off visiting our town:

http://www.forms.bedford.gov.uk/PSPO2019/

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to Internet Pawn | 4 years ago
0 likes
Internet Pawn wrote:

You could all tell the council their policy puts you off visiting our town:

http://www.forms.bedford.gov.uk/PSPO2019/

Just be sure to let us all on road.cc know about it.  Otherwise, the peals of hysterical laughter coming from the north [1] might worry me a bit. 

[1] substitute direction depending on where you live

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hawkinspeter replied to Internet Pawn | 4 years ago
4 likes
Internet Pawn wrote:

You could all tell the council their policy puts you off visiting our town:

http://www.forms.bedford.gov.uk/PSPO2019/

That link didn't work for me, so I found it on their website (on this page: https://www.bedford.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/complaint... )

 

What service are you giving feedback about?: PSPO in town centre

What is your feedback?: I was considering visiting Bedford and making use of the local services (e.g. coffee shops, clothes shops and whatever else may be of interest), but then I found out about the ridiculous PSPO order banning cycling.

As a law abiding cyclist, I have no wish to be discriminated against and as such I will NOT visit Bedford.

(It beggars belief that with thousands of people dying due to the air pollution issues that you decide to ban cyclists. I'm sure that your active travel policy is not being followed at all).

What would you like to see happen?: Remove the PSPO that bans cyclists from the town centre

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Internet Pawn replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
0 likes
HawkinsPeter wrote:
Internet Pawn wrote:

You could all tell the council their policy puts you off visiting our town:

http://www.forms.bedford.gov.uk/PSPO2019/

That link didn't work for me, so I found it on their website (on this page: https://www.bedford.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/complaint... )

I'm not sure why the link didn't work, but your general complaint won't get included in the results for the current consultation.  You could try the following link that talks about the consultation: 

https://www.bedford.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/consultat...

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Internet Pawn | 4 years ago
0 likes
Internet Pawn wrote:
HawkinsPeter wrote:
Internet Pawn wrote:

You could all tell the council their policy puts you off visiting our town:

http://www.forms.bedford.gov.uk/PSPO2019/

That link didn't work for me, so I found it on their website (on this page: https://www.bedford.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/complaint... )

I'm not sure why the link didn't work, but your general complaint won't get included in the results for the current consultation.  You could try the following link that talks about the consultation: 

https://www.bedford.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/consultat...

There was some trailing characters in that link, but spotting that, I've figured out the correct link should be: https://forms.bedford.gov.uk/pspo2019/

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Jack Osbourne snr | 4 years ago
4 likes

 

I'm fascinated by an article discussing cycling in Bedford being headed by a large photo of someone cycling across St. Enoch Square in Glasgow.

 

It's also an old photo as the building behind the bus was demolished last year and the RS Sound and Light  shop closed at least 2 years ago.

 

Just my tuppence worth, as since I have never been near Bedford,  I ccouldn't comment directly on the subject matter!

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alansmurphy | 4 years ago
5 likes

Having been a student there, there is a bit of a roblem with the town centre, it is often one way two carriageway road. Why? Who knows, if there's room for 2 lanes of traffic why make it one way? So you could effectively have to ride a mile and a half in stop start traffic to cover a couple of hundred metres.

 

The pedestrianised area in the middle of town is accessed by disability cars and delivery vehicles, so why not bikes? Why don't they just do the obvious thing, allow cyclists if they behave in a reasonable manner, the chavs racing around should be fined where they endanger others...

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... | 4 years ago
5 likes

'“Polite requests to ask people to dismount by Bluecaps were often met with abuse...."'  

Meanwhile... 

"Of London's 1,650 wardens, 190 were assaulted on duty last year...'
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/just-the-ticket-for-abused-traf...

'"The situation came to head a few years ago when an elderly lady had to be taken to hospital after being knocked over in Harpur Square..."'

Meanwhile ...  in 2016, 438 pedestrians hit by motor vehicle drivers on the footway.  Four hit by cyclists.  

And I tried to put this table into my post, but copy and paste rendered a bit of a dog's brekkies. 

Context…

https://imgur.com/a/ljivkwY

Avatar
brooksby replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
7 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

'“Polite requests to ask people to dismount by Bluecaps were often met with abuse...."'  

Meanwhile... 

"Of London's 1,650 wardens, 190 were assaulted on duty last year...'
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/just-the-ticket-for-abused-traf...

'"The situation came to head a few years ago when an elderly lady had to be taken to hospital after being knocked over in Harpur Square..."'

Meanwhile ...  in 2016, 438 pedestrians hit by motor vehicle drivers on the footway.  Four hit by cyclists.  

And I tried to put this table into my post, but copy and paste rendered a bit of a dog's brekkies. 

Context…

https://imgur.com/a/ljivkwY

I've said it before: ksi as a result of (the driver of) a motor vehicle is treated like some sort of weather event instead of a potential crime...

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
3 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

 

Meanwhile ...  in 2016, 438 pedestrians hit by motor vehicle drivers on the footway.  Four hit by cyclists.  

 

 

 

 

Are those figures for the whole UK?  (or England, or just one city?)

 

(Just in case I want to throw them at someone else in another venue/occasion)

 

One of the massed ranks of cyclist-bashing presenters on LBC started banging on yet again about the Aliston case the other day.  Not quite sure where he went with it because I turned the radio off pretty quickly.  Had me wondering how many pedestrians had been killed by motorists since that event.  Yet the LBC cyclist-haters (essentially any LBC presenter who isn't called O'Brien)  will doubtless be dredging up that one case till the day the earth is swallowed by the exploding Sun.

 

It's an odd thing - the only thing that gets me reaching for the off switch on the radio or TV is when they start on the petrol-head stuff.  With LBC I can happily listen to Nigel Farage rabbiting on about Brexit or Nick Ferrari being generally right-wing and it doesn't bother me.  I take it as all good knockabout stuff, and less intlolerably smug than much of Radio Four, say.

 

  But the cyclist-bashing and motorist-sense-of-entitlement is just _so_ stupid, unthinking, and one-sided that I risk doing damage to the radio (or TV) if I don't turn it off.

 

(Sorry this comment went wildly off-topic....a bit stream-of-conciousness, really)

Avatar
burtthebike replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
0 likes
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

And I tried to put this table into my post, but copy and paste rendered a bit of a dog's brekkies. 

Context…

https://imgur.com/a/ljivkwY

I'm afraid you need some context for that table.  What does it show?  where was it?  how big an area?

Avatar
Legs_Eleven_Wor... replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
1 like
burtthebike wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

And I tried to put this table into my post, but copy and paste rendered a bit of a dog's brekkies. 

Context…

https://imgur.com/a/ljivkwY

I'm afraid you need some context for that table.  What does it show?  where was it?  how big an area?

It's pedestrians hit on the footway by different classes of vehicle, in London.  The source is an FOI requst to TFL by the CTC.

Avatar
burtthebike replied to Legs_Eleven_Worcester | 4 years ago
1 like
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:
burtthebike wrote:
Legs_Eleven_Worcester wrote:

And I tried to put this table into my post, but copy and paste rendered a bit of a dog's brekkies. 

Context…

https://imgur.com/a/ljivkwY

I'm afraid you need some context for that table.  What does it show?  where was it?  how big an area?

It's pedestrians hit on the footway by different classes of vehicle, in London.  The source is an FOI requst to TFL by the CTC.

Thanks.

So it shows that the obsession with the danger from cyclists is imaginary, while the real danger is ignored or excused.

Avatar
brooksby | 4 years ago
3 likes
Quote:

“Polite requests to ask people to dismount by Bluecaps were often met with abuse.  The situation came to head a few years ago when an elderly lady had to be taken to hospital after being knocked over in Harpur Square.

Link to a news item, or it didn't happen 

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