BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine has offered to pay the fine of a woman who was booked for cycling in Bedford town centre, reasoning, “I don't want her to be put off cycling for a second.”
On July 25, Ottilie Quince tweeted:
Unbelievable! Just walking through Bedford town centre & this lovely lady just been fined £75 for riding her town bike in the town! @BedfordTweets are u having a laugh? How is this encouraging a healthier lifestyle, environmental factors et al?! @theJeremyVine @cyclingweekly pic.twitter.com/IOiXKYHV51
— Ottilie Quince (@OttilieQ) July 25, 2019
She later added that it was the lady’s first outing on her new bike.
Vine replied: “Please can I pay this lady's fine. I don't want her to be put off cycling for a second.”
Bedford Borough Council then explained: “We do encourage cycling but there is a restriction at certain times in the pedestrianised area of the town centre to ensure it continues to be a safe & pleasant place for all visitors, following requests by local residents & businesses. Signage is in place to make people aware.”
Bedford is one of a number of towns to have imposed a cycling ban using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) with cycling not permitted in certain parts of the town centre between 9am and 6pm.
PSPOs have 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.
In February, round-the-world cyclist Josh Quigley was handed a £75 fine for riding his bike in Bedford, not realising it was an offence.
The Livingstone cyclist, who was just a week into his trip, tore up the ticket and said he wouldn’t pay. He argued that local councils should be encouraging people to get on their bikes, not punishing them.
In March, Bedford Borough Council consulted on the renewal of the PSPO. An announcement as to whether it will be extended for another three years is expected soon.