A three-year-old girl has been banned from riding her Barbie bike in a quiet cul-de-sac by a Dagenham housing association because of fears the tearaway toddler might damage residents’ cars.
Tracy Osborne-Facey was showing her granddaughter Lilly how to ride with stabilisers when an officer from London and Quadrant (L&Q) housing association told her riding bikes was banned in the street.
Tracy told the Barking and Dagenham Post's Sara Odeen-Isbister that it was one of many “over-the-top” rules enforced in the street by L&Q. The association said it had instituted a “no balls or bikes” policy after complaints from residents who believed their homes and cars could be damaged by children playing outside.
Tracy, 43, said: “I could understand stopping ball games maybe, but they’ve basically banned children from playing outside. But it’s not just the children. We adults are not allowed to congregate or talk outside either. I got a letter once telling me off for chatting to a neighbour outside for about 20 minutes.
“Others have received letters too about all kinds of things which they apparently shouldn’t be doing.
“The officer who told me Lilly couldn’t ride her bike said I should expect a letter about it soon. It’s ridiculous.
“I realise people want to live somewhere peaceful, but the children that play here are all under 12 and not antisocial at all.”
A housing association spokesman said: “L&Q strives to create places where people want to live but unfortunately due to the concern of the local residents we had to enforce a ‘no bikes no ball games’ policy around the area.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.