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Furious councillor claims "dangerous and selfish" cyclists and "vicious" gulls will take over city centre now controversial cycling ban removed

The council unanimously voted against extending the Public Spaces Protection Order as "people should be allowed to cycle responsibly" and it is "a small minority who cause problems", the councillor claiming it is a green light for a "free-for-all"...

A former MP, who also stood as a mayor and councillor in Worcester, has lashed out at the council's decision not to extend a controversial Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) — which was brought in with the stated aim of tackling dangerous cycling in the city centre, as well as prohibiting feeding of gulls — claiming that the "outrageous" decision will signal a "free-for-all" for "dangerous and selfish" cyclists and "vicious" gulls.

Earlier this month, we reported that Worcester City Council had decided not to extend the PSPO, which was introduced in 2021 but drew criticism from campaigners who said it acted as a "psychological barrier" to more people using bicycles. Councillor Alan Amos was the only councillor to vote in favour of extending the order, Worcester News reports, the council stating that "people should be allowed to cycle responsibly within the city centre" and that there is "no evidence" of people intentionally feeding gulls.

However, the councillor, who represented the Conservative Party in Parliament as MP for Hexham between 1987 and 1992, has continued his outspoken campaign against removing the PSPO, calling it "absolutely outrageous" and a green light for "dangerous and selfish" cyclists and "vicious flying rats" that are "huge, unpleasant and dangerous".

Councillor Alan Amos (Worcester City Council)

"It is absolutely outrageous but typical that this Labour-Green run council has ignored the results of its own consultation which showed that well over 80 per cent of the public want to keep these orders in place and have them enforced. Instead, the council has given in, yet again, to vocal minorities and created a free-for-all in the shopping centre," he said.

"The council has never enforced the cycling order so it is absurd for them now to say that it doesn't work since they've never enforced it in the first place. It would work well if it were enforced. The council has given a green light for yet more dangerous and selfish cycling to take place in the busy pedestrianised shopping area completely uncontrolled."

Parts of Worcester's city centre are also subject to Traffic Regulation Orders, which pedestrianise certain streets and prevent driving and cycling between 10am and 6pm. However, cllr Amos argues this is not enforced by police, meaning we "particularly need this order".

"Pedestrianising the city centre shopping area was designed to create a safe and welcoming place solely for pedestrians but is now becoming a dangerous place, in particular for the elderly and parents with children," he claimed, before going on to state residents can "look forward to another year of noise, disturbance, and disruption to their lives" thanks to the fact the PSPO also prohibited feeding gulls.

"These vicious flying rats are a huge, unpleasant and dangerous problem," cllr Amos concluded.

PCSO stopping a cyclist, Cardiff Queen Street (Cardiff City Council, Twitter)

> "They have all the resources in the world to pick on cyclists": Council slammed for stopping and fining cyclists on pedestrianised city centre street

In contrast to his protestations, the noise from the council's other representatives has been considerably calmer, cllr Neil Laurenson, who chaired a council meeting on the PSPO, stating that "people should be allowed to cycle responsibly within the city centre" and "as ever, it is a small minority who cause problems".

He also said PSPOs should be "based on evidence and effectiveness", pointing out that a report suggested there have been fewer reported incidents related to bikes and skateboards and there is "no evidence that people are continuing to intentionally feed gulls".

The council is currently not under the control of any one party, however Labour and Green leaders were appointed to joint control following an election last year. One Labour representative said he was "never convinced people feeding gulls, aggressive begging and dangerous cyclists were the big issues facing Worcester" and called the PSPO "political theatre".

Likewise, Green Party councillor Tom Piotrowski suggested the PSPO had been "more about culture wars than what we want for the city".

Bike Worcester chair Dan Brothwell has been critical of the PSPO and said the signs telling residents and visitors that no cycling is allowed in parts of the city centre act as a "psychological barrier" to people using bicycles.

Worcester no cycling signs.PNG

In the autumn, the council announced that it would be rolling out a bike hire scheme in 2024 in a bid to "recognise the many benefits" cycling can have for the city.

"The scheme facilitates healthier lifestyles by promoting cycling and encouraging people to use active travel for short journeys," Mike Rouse, cabinet member for highways and transport said.

Locals and campaigners quickly pointed out a potential problem if cyclists are banned from riding through large parts of the city centre.

"I'm sure many won't want to pay for a bike if they’ve then got to walk on sections of their route from A to B," one said. "The big concern I have is it won't work unless either the cycle ban is lifted on the city centre or at least several through routes are provided."

Active travel charity Cycling UK has long been a prominent critic of PSPOs, which it says have the effect of criminalising cycling, with head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore stating that the orders only discourage people from riding bikes into town.

> "We get a lot of kids wheelie-ing through": Police claim danger of "anti-social behaviour" should be tackled with town centre cycling ban

Elsewhere in England, Southend Council recently launched a consultation to impose stricter 'no cycling' rules in the town centre that could see cyclists being ordered to pay £100 for riding on the High Street.

Councillor Martin Terry said the council had received "a lot of complaints about cyclists and e-scooter users riding dangerously in the high street" and "older people are worried about it and there's been a number of people struck and quite badly injured by dangerous riders".

North East Lincolnshire Council too introduced a PSPO, a councillor earlier this month hailing a "great result for our enforcement teams" after a 60-year-old cyclist in Grimsby was fined and ordered to pay £500 after breaching a PSPO by cycling through the town centre.

It was the latest episode in the ongoing "zero-tolerance policy" and follows the council making headlines last summer after a female cyclist was ordered to pay £1,150 in fines and costs after being caught breaching the PSPO, which was introduced in 2019 and has seen more than 1,000 fixed-penalty notices.

Grimsby town centre cycling ban enforcement (Google Maps/North East Lincolnshire Council)

In December, the council said it had "escalated" and "intensified" its "war on cycling menaces" by implementing a complete ban on riding a bike in pedestrianised zones, as part of a wider crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

The council and its enforcement officers have come in for criticism during the five years the PSPO has been in place, locals accusing council officers of targeting "old and slow" cyclists after a pensioner was fined for riding through the town in 2022. Barrie Enderby, who was 82 at the time, told the council to "stick it up your arse" after being fined £100 for breaching the order.

In November, Coventry too introduced a PSPO preventing e-bike use in pedestrianised areas, a measure the West Midlands' Walking and Cycling Commissioner Adam Tranter slammed as "reckless" and something that will "discourage cycling and penalise responsible cyclists".

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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15 comments

Avatar
Kendalred | 3 months ago
5 likes

Less batshit crazy, more seagull shit crazy.

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Deveron53 | 3 months ago
6 likes

I wonder if it's possible to buy a bicycle horn type thing that mimics the cry of a seagull?

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brooksby replied to Deveron53 | 3 months ago
5 likes

Or elect a Tory councillor (or MP) who mimics a human being?

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mattw | 3 months ago
6 likes

Councillor Alan Amos is a really weird one.

"A Tory councillor said rape is ‘easy to report’ and ‘difficult to prove’, so police should stop recording it as an offence.

The former mayor, Alan Amos, made the shocking suggestion after official figures showed a 168% rise in reports of rape nationally since 2011.

Over the last five years, 1,054 rape offences were reported to police, including a record high of 324 in 2015.

Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting, he said: ‘Correct me if I’m wrong because the law may have changed, but the accused can be named in public and the accuser is not named.

‘So in that sense it’s a claim, or an allegation – easy to make, difficult to prove.

‘Unless there’s been a conviction you can’t say that offence has occurred.’"
https://metro.co.uk/2016/09/19/tory-councillor-doesnt-think-rape-should-...

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john_smith replied to mattw | 3 months ago
0 likes

In what way does it differ from any other crime that's difficult to prove?

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The Larger Cyclist replied to mattw | 3 months ago
1 like

He is the pride of Worcester. We should remove the statue to Edward Elgar and put a statue to him up. Sadly, he's not up for eviction/re-election next month.

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eburtthebike | 3 months ago
11 likes

We should all be grateful that there are some councils run by sensible people who realise that legislating against everything just because you don't like it is silly.  Unlike Councillor Alan Amos, who is very silly indeed.

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john_smith | 3 months ago
3 likes

Can we conclude from this that the gentleman isn't fond of rats?

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hawkinspeter replied to john_smith | 3 months ago
6 likes

john_smith wrote:

Can we conclude from this that the gentleman isn't fond of rats?

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
7 likes

There's something off about that squirrel...

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marmotte27 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
4 likes

Is that what the PR guy came up with?

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Legin | 3 months ago
5 likes

We are doomed, we're all doomed!

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brooksby | 3 months ago
4 likes

Quote:

Instead, the council has given in, yet again, to vocal minorities 

Yeah, cos politicians and councils never usually do that, do they? 

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Moist von Lipwig | 3 months ago
5 likes

The thing that always strkes me about these PSPO's is that I'm yet to see one that has no cycling signage that complies with the TSRGD.

The no cycling signs on those sleeves that are presumbanly over bollards, are too small, too low and not angled to be visible.  Unless theres additonal signage....

Even the TRO signage is wrong - it seems to be including cycles in the restriction (as a vehicle) juding by the supplementary plate which is wrong - its needs a seperate plate for that.   I don't think any breach would hold up because its not clearly communicated that you are making a breach.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.1898473,-2.2203946,3a,22.3y,26.96h,91.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sESb0n51C_I08SeKQz2mBZw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?entry=ttu

The signage is even different on approach to the same space from a different route!

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.1903074,-2.2216029,3a,76.5y,80.31h,67.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7t938lnFIioNn8PcqPV-Rg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

appreciate this one is differnet due to the road appraoching the space but this sign aso controls cycles (apparently).

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.1908908,-2.2187208,3a,25.7y,274.69h,90.63t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbQepaXsu4CnTSk0j_yVCLw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

 

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to Moist von Lipwig | 3 months ago
4 likes

As far as I can tell, signage for a PSPO does not need to comply with the TSRGD. PSPOs are created under completely separate legislation and (again, as far as I can tell), the only requirement is that the signage to be "sufficient" to inform the public of the effect of the order (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2591/regulation/2/made).

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