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Bedford cycling ban extended for another three years

Controversial PSPO is being enforced ever more vigorously by private contractor

Bedford Borough Council has confirmed that its controversial Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that bans cycling in the town centre will continue for another three years. The Bedford Independent reports that the majority of 215 respondents to a consultation on the matter said they thought it should remain in place.

Bedford is one of a number of towns to have a 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.

Earlier this week, BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine offered to pay the fine of a woman who was booked for cycling, reasoning, “I don't want her to be put off cycling for a second.”

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.

In Peterborough Kingdom has raked in over £80,000 in fines for unauthorised cycling. Similarly, the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued in Bedford rose six-fold in just nine months from 181 in January 2018 to 1,127 in September 2018.

There have also been accusations of heavy-handed enforcement. Peter Blakeman of the Cycling Campaign for North Bedfordshire said that, “a number of reports were heard of the aggressive behaviour of the officers towards the elderly and foreign visitors.”

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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19 comments

Avatar
Chris Hayes | 4 years ago
1 like

I wonder if they have banned cars too, and have an ULEV zone for the town centre?  Thought not?  How about a Bedford cycle-in?  

Avatar
HoarseMann | 4 years ago
2 likes

The documents at the bottom of this page list every FPN and court case relating to council enforcement.

Someone got fined nearly £700 for leaving their bins out!

https://www.bedford.gov.uk/environmental-issues/fixed-penalty-notices/of...

Now I need to find something better to do today!

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 4 years ago
10 likes

I also submitted a response, having lived just outside Bedford for a number of years and still being an occassional visitor. I now however refuse to do any shopping or use any of Bedford's services as a result of this legalised extortion racket. It is not just cyclists who are being targeted for petty infractions.

If I were an investigative reporter for Bedford local news I'd be seriously looking into connections between Kingdom who rake in a lot of money from this scam and those in a position of influence over awarding the contract.

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monkeytrousers | 4 years ago
3 likes

And I think I was one of the respondents.

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spen | 4 years ago
2 likes

171623, that was the population of Bedford in 2018.  

 

215, the number of responses to the consultation.

 

Either most people don't see the problem with either the ban or cycling in the area or they're a bloody apathetic lot.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to spen | 4 years ago
1 like
spen wrote:

171623, that was the population of Bedford in 2018.  

 

215, the number of responses to the consultation.

 

Either most people don't see the problem with either the ban or cycling in the area or they're a bloody apathetic lot.

 

Or the council was 'less than enthusiastic' about advertising the consultation, so <1% of the population were even aware it was happening?

Avatar
brooksby replied to mdavidford | 4 years ago
6 likes
mdavidford wrote:
spen wrote:

171623, that was the population of Bedford in 2018.  

 

215, the number of responses to the consultation.

 

Either most people don't see the problem with either the ban or cycling in the area or they're a bloody apathetic lot.

 

Or the council was 'less than enthusiastic' about advertising the consultation, so <1% of the population were even aware it was happening?

The plans were on display in a locked filing cabinet, in a disused toilet, in a locked basement behind a sign saying "Beware of the leopard".

Avatar
stomec replied to brooksby | 4 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
mdavidford wrote:
spen wrote:

171623, that was the population of Bedford in 2018.  

 

215, the number of responses to the consultation.

 

Either most people don't see the problem with either the ban or cycling in the area or they're a bloody apathetic lot.

 

Or the council was 'less than enthusiastic' about advertising the consultation, so <1% of the population were even aware it was happening?

The plans were on display in a locked filing cabinet, in a disused toilet, in a locked basement behind a sign saying "Beware of the leopard".

Chapeau!

https://www.reddit.com/r/unexpectedh2g2/

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to mdavidford | 4 years ago
1 like
mdavidford wrote:
spen wrote:

171623, that was the population of Bedford in 2018.  

 

215, the number of responses to the consultation.

 

Either most people don't see the problem with either the ban or cycling in the area or they're a bloody apathetic lot.

 

Or the council was 'less than enthusiastic' about advertising the consultation, so <1% of the population were even aware it was happening?

 

<<1% responded.  Closer to 0.1%.

Which suggests either the council didn't really try, or nobody really cares about the issue.   And if nobody cares, the default option ought to be to do nothing and not to bother with the fines.  Except presumably the company who are making a lot of money out of it care a lot, so it exists for their benefit.

Avatar
monkeytrousers | 4 years ago
6 likes

Firstly, as a born and bred resident, it's not that bad a place. It pretty much has everything you want except a zoo and the seaside.

Bedford Borough Council however are a complete bunch of incompentent idiots and I could go on forever about their classics.

I got accosted by one of Kingdom's enforcement officers a few weeks ago, after dismounting about 10 meters inside the exclusion zone. After he demanded some ID, which I didn't have (honestly) and then wanting my name and address, to which I said "I don't need to tell you anything".

He got even more upset when I just started to ignore him while he kept demanding details and I kept walking. He then clocked my work top and he said "I see who you work for. We'll find you". I work for a national company with branches everywhere, so I said "good luck with that". At which point I think he was out of breath, needed a sit down and gave up. I got the other side of the zone, remounted and rode off.

When this cropped up on Bedford Independant's FB that the council had continued with this scheme, there was plenty of comments stating that it's only responsible people, riding sensibly, who stop for these muppets and not the youth doing wheelies.

Interestingly, Kingdom's website quite proudly state that their work costs local authorities nothing, as they make their money from taking the fines. 

Perhaps if they employed them to fine car drivers going through the town centre who were using mobile devices, they could really rake in the cash and actually make the place safer. 

Avatar
growingvegtables | 4 years ago
3 likes

As in ... would I ever consider visiting Bedford?  No chance.  No way.  Not ever.

 

Funnily enough, Bedford Council ... as a guy who frequently rides a bike, I resent being equated with dog-shit, as you have done ...  https://www.bedfordindependent.co.uk/controversial-ban-on-cycling-in-bed...

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growingvegtables | 4 years ago
0 likes

And, if we're honest, the Borough Council are struggling - and will struggle.  The poor buggers are quite overwhelmed by the idea that there may be as many as 215 brain cells in Bedford.

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growingvegtables | 4 years ago
0 likes

And, if we're honest, the Borough Council are struggling - and will struggle.  The poor buggers are quite overwhelmed by the idea that there may be as many as 215 brain cells in Bedford.

Avatar
growingvegtables | 4 years ago
0 likes

And, if we're honest, the Borough Council are struggling - and will struggle.  The poor buggers are quite overwhelmed by the idea that there may be as many as 215 brain cells in Bedford.

Avatar
growingvegtables | 4 years ago
3 likes

Hmmm ... "The Bedford Independent reports that the majority of 215 respondents to a consultation on the matter said they thought it should remain in place."

 

Not quite fair ... actually "The Borough Council says just 215 people took part in the consultation. They have not yet revealed the number of people who were in favour of the PSPOs continuing."

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yupiteru | 4 years ago
4 likes

This sort of thing is crazy, as we all know.  I live nowhere near the place but why dont the local cyclist organise a number of mass participation rides through the restricted area, surely they can't stop everone and if everyone chips in a pound or two then it should cover the fines for those that get done.

This done on a regular basis may get enough national publicity to change things,  and contact Jeremy Vine of course and try to get him on board with any campaign as well.

Just a thought!

Avatar
mike the bike | 4 years ago
4 likes

 

As far as my limited knowledge goes, these civil enforcement officers have no power to detain anyone, nor even touch them.  So you could hardly criticise an errant cyclist for just pedalling off.

(In contrast, a PCSO can hold you for up to 30 minutes while waiting for the police to arrive.)

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brooksby | 4 years ago
6 likes

I wonder how much money Kingdom has raked in from the PSPO? And how many of the 215 respondents work for them??

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Cupov | 4 years ago
7 likes

These kind of bans always make me think of the 'NO BALL GAMES. BY ORDER' signs I used to see as a kid. Sounds like a truly miserable place.

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