A Bristol campaigner against pavement cycling has been photographing offenders in the city centre in an attempt to cut down the practice she says is a 'nuisance'.
70-year-old Ruth Bailey, a member of Bristol Older People's Forum, has pinpointed the Haymarket as a particular troublespot, and in just one hour outside Primark and Debenhams she caught 18 cyclists using the pavement. She said she was not fast enough with her camera to snap a further six she saw.
"I am concerned about safety on the pavements," Mrs Bailey told This is Bristol.
"I am especially concerned about pedestrian areas such as Broadmead. Near Primark and Debenhams, cyclists come racing through where there are queues at the bus stops.
"When I was there on Saturday there was someone cycling one-handed carrying bags while on the phone.
"They weave in and out, and get so close to pedestrians. I have got an arthritic knee, and if you have got a stiff knee you may be able to see something coming towards you but cannot jump this way or that to get out of their way. It is the same for people who are blind or cannot hear very well."
A spokeswoman for the city council said that in areas where cycling on pavements is problematic the police can take action, and the council had worked with them on enforcement of the law in the past.
The story has provoked intense debate, with one reader of the site commenting:
"I would rather see a cyclist on a pavement than negotiating a dangerous junction (such as Cabstand in Portishead) and see them knocked off their bike. We have all ridden on the pavement at some time, whether young or old. Get over it.”
But many were in agreement with Mrs Bailey.
One asked: “So if a Granny can go out and catch these illegal acts why can't the police?" while another suggested: "If you feel the roads are too busy for you, then you need to dismount and push your cycle on the footpath!”
A third took a pragmatic approach, commenting:
"Other people are all horrible. In particular, anyone who doesn't use the same mode of transport as you is some sort of scum. None of them obey the law and they all put decent people like you at risk. Why don't they all just go away and stop ruining everything?
Apply this rule to cyclists, car drivers, pedestrians, First Bus, as you see fit.
Then, apply ad nauseum for the inevitable thread of 7,000 same-as-last-time comments that will now ensue.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.