Speaking about concerns that people will flout lockdown guidance during the Easter weekend, North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said that cyclists in particular are ‘a real worry.’ Julia Mulligan went on to clarify that cyclists in the area hadn’t been doing anything wrong and it was just that simply by riding through villages, they had been “causing a bit of tension.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mulligan said that for the most part people in North Yorkshire had been following the government guidelines.
She then said: “One of the real worries, I think, is cyclists. We’ve seen large numbers of cyclists – some of them travelling long distances; long routes.
“Local communities are getting a bit anxious about that, so I would just ask those cyclists to be mindful that they are going through people’s villages and communities and to think about their behaviour, because that is causing a bit of tension.”
Asked to clarify what exactly cyclists were doing wrong, Mulligan said: “People are not gathering in groups to go cycling, so we haven’t seen any large groups of cyclists. What we have seen is just a lot of cyclists.
“They are allowed to cycle. There isn’t an issue with that. They fall within the guidelines. I’m just asking those cyclists to be mindful that they are going through communities and that is making people a little bit anxious.”
Criticism was led by Greater Manchester cycling commissioner, Chris Boardman, who described Mulligan’s comments as “deeply disappointing.”
Implying wrong doing for people looking after their physical & mental health. https://t.co/JlttkdBh2x
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) April 11, 2020
Responding to criticism, Mulligan tweeted: “I fully expect a backlash, but the concerns from villages are real, so it’s just to flag that if you are going through a community, please be aware.”
Whether or not the concerns are real is surely not up for debate. The issue is whether or not those concerns are legitimate and proportional and whether Mulligan’s comments about cyclists being ‘a real worry’ merely reinforce and amplify them.
Absolutely works both ways, but we all need to be mindful that we are living in scary times and people are concerned. Similar concerns with some walkers and footpaths too. https://t.co/AM2SU64Z0I
— Julia Mulligan (@Julia_Mulligan) April 11, 2020