'Anti-social' commuting focus of police attention...

So-called ‘anti-social commuting’ by cyclists will be the target of a crackdown in York, local police have warned.

Officers will be out at peak times of the morning and evening, looking for riders going against one-way systems and riding through the city centre when the controversial ‘footstreet’ policy (banning both cars and bikes) is in operation.

Motorists will also be targeted, particularly those using bus and cycle lanes at the wrong times.

PC Jonathon Hodgeon, of the Guildhall Safer Neighbourhood Team said the initiative was not an exercise in handing out tickets, but rather to give advice.

“It will be high-visibility and we will be doing proactive things such as handing out guides to York’s traffic system. We are taking a warning view rather than an enforcement one.”

According to the York Evening Press, he said that enforcement would follow in the case of persistent offenders.

“There are a few big hotspots – one of which is Walmgate,” he said, “but there is also Nessgate, Coppergate, Duncombe Place and Petergate.

“We did one exercise last week and we stopped and spoke to ten cyclists and six motorists in Duncombe Place and Petergate.

“But there were many people who saw the police and turned in their tracks immediately.”

PC Hodgeon said the initiative was triggered by a number of complaints from city centre shop owners, residents and taxi drivers about commuters regularly ignoring traffic rules.

He pointed out to those who travel in and out of the York that during the day, the city centre was closed to traffic, except on Sundays.

“We want cyclists to know they are not immune to the signs.”

Members of the Guildhall team are expected to be at one of the hot spots between 4pm and 6pm today (Tuesday) in what will be the first afternoon rush-hour operation.

The ‘footstreet’ policy has caused controversy since its introduction almost a decade ago and the pressure to allow cyclists into pedestrianised areas in the centre goes on. The York Cycling Campaign has published a manifesto, which states:

“York's "footstreet" policy excludes cyclists from many quiet, useful routes for large parts of the day. Re-admitting cyclists to the footstreet area would be a major step forward in provision for cyclists in the city centre. Available evidence suggests that this would not lead to any significant conflict between cyclists and pedestrians.”