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Fears young girl on Barbie bike might damage residents' cars ...

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.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.