North Lincolnshire Council has cited “zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour” as it suggests a complete cycling ban in parts of Brigg and Scunthorpe town centres that could come into effect from next year.
The consultation, which ends on March 27, has proposed “no cycling or riding a motorised scooter” in a number of streets of the two North Lincolnshire towns, under the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).
A PSPO, according to the council, enables them to take action against “anti-social behaviour” and “protect vulnerable people by targeting those who continue to be a nuisance within communities”.
The council already has a PSPO since October 2021 that an officer can ask a cyclist to dismount if they ride in the pedestrianised areas of the town centres. Now, it seems that are trying to get rid of cyclists from these areas completely.
North Lincolnshire Council leader Rob Waltham said: “Residents are fed up and we are fed up with that small minority of people who think the rules do not apply to them.
"We have taken a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour, and we have spent a great deal of time - and taxpayers' money - to crack down on these people already. Despite this, they just will not listen nor learn.
Waltham said that the council had to go back to the 2021 order and strengthen it further so they could be able to fine people if they are on a bike in the prohibited areas. Since the introduction of the PSPO in 2021, thousands of fines have already been issued for public order offences and littering.
Cllr Waltham added: “This PSPO has enabled us to protect vulnerable communities by targeting anyone creating a nuisance or putting themselves and others in danger - the new measures will enhance those protections and I make absolutely no apologies for doing so.
“We are committed to keeping North Lincolnshire peaceful and safe and the strengthening of the PSPO is a significant part of this.”
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Besides being keen to banish cyclists from town centres, the council is now also proposing a ban on drinking alcohol (or even being in possession of an open bottle), as well as loitering or begging in almost the entirety of Scunthorpe.
In neighbouring North East Lincolnshire, a similar PSPO ban on cyclists in Grimsby’s town centre has been in place since 2019, with over 1,000 fixed penalty notices issued as of last year targeting “anti-social and dangerous” behaviour.
Victoria_Street_West,_Grimsby_-_DSC07296.JPG, by Will Bolton
One target for such behaviour was 82-year old Barrie Enderby, who was fined £100 for slowly cycling through the city centre. To his credit, Barrie did have a scorching reply for the council: “Stick it up your a*se”.
The move drew a lot of ire from residents, as unhappy locals complained that council officers are not imposing the cycling ban in pedestrianised zones fairly and rather than cracking down on anti-social behaviour they are seemingly "targeting" people "they can get away with doing so”.
These orders have also been criticised by 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 last year, cyclists in Bedford also came together to protest a 'discriminatory' ban on cycling in the town centre using a PSPO, with residents pointing out the irrelevance of these bans.
> Bedford cycling ban to remain despite consultation showing most people want it scrapped
As recent as January this year, Hammersmith and Fulham Council also proposed a £100 ban on cyclists using the Thames Path, along with banning e-bikes and e-scooters.
In Brigg and Scunthorpe, cyclists already can be slapped with a £100 fine if they fail to get off their bikes when asked by a police officer, with the penalty cost likely to rise if unsuccessfully disputed or not paid and taken to Magistrates' Court
In Brigg, the proposed areas to stop cycling are the Market Place and the adjoining parts of Wrawby Street and Bigby Street, while in Scunthorpe, the no-pedal zones extend all the way along the High Street till Church Square, as well as adjacent roads like Market Hill and Jubilee Way.
The council said that all comments will be analysed and considered before a final decision is made on the proposed changes.
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