Several councils around the UK have seen fit to put up signs discouraging people from cycling in response to the coronavirus crisis. This is despite the fact there would be no obvious benefit in most cases while also contradicting the government’s firm position that cycling is to be encouraged.
On yesterday’s live blog, we highlighted a bizarre sign put up by the City of London Corporation on Hampstead Heath.
Ostensibly a sign advising people how to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, it for some reason also included a series of more general park-related rules and regulations, several of which would have no impact on the spread of the virus.
Hang on, what? pic.twitter.com/EdNdF4U6oT
— The Dynaslow (@TheDynaslow) August 21, 2020
While cycling is not permitted in some areas of the park, there are also shared use paths.
It’s not clear where exactly the sign is situated.
Elsewhere, in Whitburn, South Tyneside Council has put up signs on the A183 calling for cyclists to dismount and ‘maintain social distance’.
This is the covid 19 sign telling cyclists they should dismount. On an A road (A183 in Whitburn). Council logo on so my council tax is being wasted on this. I feel an email to a councillor coming on pic.twitter.com/xgMC3dh2Dm
— Real Gaz on a proper bike #fbpe (@gazza_d) August 22, 2020
Real Gaz, who spotted the signs, said that the road in question has narrow footways on which two people could not pass while maintaining distance, even without bikes.
“I am utterly furious about this,” he tweeted. “I will be writing to my councillor to find how much this dangerous myth spreading nonsense cost. And to ask for the evidence base. Which will be good as there isn't one.”
Even more bafflingly, in Owestry, Shrewsbury Town Council is asking cyclists to slow down for coronavirus reasons – albeit on a road that is now closed to motor traffic.
Nearby to us, @ShrewsburyTC put up signs for cyclists to slow down .. on a 30mph road for cars. Although credit where it's due they've just now closed it to cars.
Note lycra clad male - this road leads to a busy shared path in a park which I've never seen a 'racing cyclist' in pic.twitter.com/Q690vzCJjS
— Oswestry War On Cars (@OsWarOnCars) August 22, 2020
Back at the start of lockdown, there was something of a trend for putting up signs discouraging cycling.
The most memorable was of course the infamous, “Cyclists, stop panting viruses through our village” sign in Cambridgeshire.
We also reported on a parish council in Cheshire which ultimately took down a sign telling cyclists to stay away after reading readers' comments on this website, accepting that, “we got it wrong.”