September 17, 2012
NO GO: A sign on the pavement informing cyclists that riding is prohibited
Hundreds of people in Greater Manchester have been fined – and even taken to court – for riding their bikes on the pavement.
Fourteen people were hauled before magistrates last year for cycling on pavements.
Last month, the MEN revealed how mum Emma Williams launched a campaign against nuisance cyclists in Prestwich’s Longfield shopping precinct after her three-year-old daughter had her leg broken by a schoolboy rider.
Her crusade has been backed by bosses in Bury, who now plans to extend the no-cycling ban around the area.
But cycling groups have urged common sense to prevail when it comes to clamping down on pavement use.
Peter Able, from the Greater Manchester Love Your Bike campaign, urged authorities to resort to the courts only in the worst cases.
He said: "We don’t know the details of all the prosecutions. The law is clear that adults should not use cycles on footpaths.
"I think common sense needs to apply. If someone is elderly and has pulled onto a pavement on a quiet road to take a short cut and is travelling at 6mph, it’s a very different offence to someone who’s bombing past pedestrians in a reckless fashion.
"I think cyclists should be offered the choice of a fine or a cycle training courses, similar to drivers who are caught speeding. We recognise the fact that pavements are for people, not cyclists, but there are some cases where elderly or young cyclists might be frightened to go on the roads, particularly at dangerous stretches."
Those prosecuted last year were taken to magistrates courts in Greater Manchester under the Highways Act 1835. The figures were released under Freedom of Information by the CPS, although prosecutors say the decisions in each case were taken by police.
And hundreds of £30 fixed penalty notices have been handed by the police across the region.
Figures released by GMP show that between 2005-2009 1,288 people were fined for cycling on pavements, with 251 people fined in 2009 alone.
Among those fined were great-granddad and veteran James Gresty, 84, who was stopped for cycling on the pavement in Sale.
The retired grocer, of Dane Road, Sale, was chased into a bank by two officers, who then called a separate patrol car as back-up.
In recent years, GMP officers have mounted campaigns targeting cyclists who use the pavement. In August 2010, police in Sale launched a crackdown after a 72-year-old woman was knocked over by a teenage cyclist.