Author Topic: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists  (Read 10885 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« on: October 21, 2014, 06:05:15 PM »
I'll start this off in coffee talk.....

Swindon Advertiser: First published Saturday 4 October 2014 - http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11514394.Putting_a_spoke_in_their_wheels/




Quote from: Paul Jones, Assistant news editor
POLICE in Swindon town centre are increasing patrols to combat anti-social cyclists.

A rise in complaints about cyclists riding in Swindon town centre has prompted the Town Centre Neighbour-hood Policing Team to warn riders to get off their bikes – or face a £50 fine.

Officers have reminded cyclists to dismount as they enter the town centre, namely Bridge Street, Regent Street, The Parade, Canal Walk and Wharf Green.

In March, a review of the problem resulted in Swindon Borough Council installing new signs to communicate that cyclists were prohibited from cycling in the area.

The problem, however, has continued despite the new signs,as well as engagement with cyclists and the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices by officers out on regular police patrols.

Town centre community beat manager PC Paul Bezzant said officers would be clamping down on poor behaviour from cyclists.

“It is not just the cycling itself that is an issue, but also the manner of the cycling,” he said.

“When patrolling the area, our team are regularly approached by members of the public complaining about cyclists cycling through the town and weaving in and out of pedestrians at speed.

“This form of anti social cycling can be very intimidating to the public.

“I have witnessed a number of such incidents and recently dealt with a lady who was struck from behind by a cyclist travelling through Canal Walk at speed.

“As a result of the continued community concerns, the Neighbourhood Policing Team will carry out a number of targeted enforcement patrols.

“These patrols will focus on this problem and the community will see an increased number of officers at key times on unannounced days.

“These officers will enforce the legislation and issue £50 Fixed Penalty Notices when people are found committing the offence.”

To report an incident contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



I'm interested to know what members & readers think about the above story. I'm glad that 'antisocial' cyclists are being targeted although I think 'dangerous' better describes the style of cycling mentioned above.

Tig and I regularly cycle as far as we (legally) can into the town centre before pushing our mounts to our destination which, today, was the little cafe opposite Costa, between Regents Street and Havelock Square.  Over the past few months we've taken some care to familiarise ourselves with Swindons many cycle paths & routes and are therefore well aware that the town centre is (in our opinion) very poorly served in terms of town centre cycle routes.

It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that many cyclists do use pavements and areas which they are legally prohibited from using, especially when using the alternative route, (Commercial Road for example), is quite often a dangerous (albeit legal) road to cycle up.  I'm also not forgetting that the Regents Circus 'shared space' and gyratory junctions add an even greater level of hazard to cyclists who are doing their best to get from West to East quickly and legally. 

On our inbound ride today Tig and I witnessed something which didn't surprise me as much as it did confirm a view, but before I move onto that I'd like some opinion as to whether the actions of the police are proportionate and fair, and whether readers think Swindon Borough Council, Swindon Travel Choices, InSwindon Ltd and developers such as ISG (Regents Circus) should have done far more to address the lack of town centre cycle routes and lanes before they whacked up new prohibition signs, started handing out fixed penalty tickets and delivering it as a story to the Adver?
 



Offline Mart

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 07:08:59 PM »
Shoot the bastards, charge them road tax and then be sarcastic. Then deport them to Holland.

Iron Maiden for Lycra wearers, while locked in an iron maiden.

That's my carefully reasoned argument, if I have a fault it is my tendency to sit on the fence. Sorry.
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 09:52:55 PM »
Hmmm...

I have seen some examples of 'the usual suspects' during my occasional forays into chavopolis; ie baseball capped lunks cycling at high speed between pedestrians on what-ever mission, trailing a thin stream of skunky smoke in their wake.

I don't have any problem with them being dealt with. I've to date, not seen a single middle aged bloke cycling through the main drag.

I'd hope the police have the intellect to discriminate between these kind of pillocks and a commuting cyclist daring to coast a few hundred sneaky yards down a quiet pavement.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 11:20:45 PM »
 
I don't have any problem with them being dealt with. I've to date, not seen a single middle aged bloke cycling through the main drag.

Neither do I, and I haven't either*



I'd hope the police have the intellect to discriminate between these kind of pillocks and a commuting cyclist daring to coast a few hundred sneaky yards down a quiet pavement.

To which I'd add: 'And the good sense not to be themselves seen, and photographed, cycling on a footway, (a path at the side of a carriageway), which is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888' - Which is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. (I'll come back to this later).


Any thoughts on the lack of West-to-East town centre cycle routes/lanes along, just for example, Commercial and Groundwell Roads ?





* Except at 05.00hrs :)


Edit: I'm trying not to rise to Marts  :fish: re: Lycra because I'm pretty sure I whizzed past him whilst wearing lycra shorts recently (my lycra, not his).  I like Iron Maiden  ))))

Offline Muggins

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 12:02:52 PM »
The inconsiderate cycling issue has been discussed for years, and there has been several initiatives to catch the speeder weavers .   The fact that it's still happening makes me think that perhaps the police haven't done enough to stop it, so their actions may have been disproportionate on the lax side.

On the other hand, it must be pretty difficult to get them. 

Add that to people having absolutely no special awareness even when they are on their feet in town, it's a dangerous mix. 

Do we still have cycle lanes on the roads into town?  A number were installed at one time, not that I would ever have used them, far too dodgy.  But I do know the issue was lobbied for and great efforts were made to get them in where ever possible.  Of course at that time it was considered that quiet roads could also be parts of 'cycle tracks'.   

Unless you use the backsies carefully, how do you suggest they shoehorn them in elsewhere? I of course would be very interested in seeing them installed. 

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 02:36:52 PM »
Do we still have cycle lanes on the roads into town?  A number were installed at one time, not that I would ever have used them, far too dodgy.  But I do know the issue was lobbied for and great efforts were made to get them in where ever possible.  Of course at that time it was considered that quiet roads could also be parts of 'cycle tracks'.   

Unless you use the backsies carefully, how do you suggest they shoehorn them in elsewhere? I of course would be very interested in seeing them installed.


This might aid reflection on some of the points I've raised re lack of cross town centre cycle routes/lanes:

 

It's relatively easy to bypass the town centre using more Northerly (on road) cycle routes, although the Station Road section can be intimidating & frightening (ask Tig) for cyclists who don't enjoy cycling in two lanes of often fast moving, (and assertively driven), cars, vans, lorries and buses which give no quarter to each other, let alone cyclists.

It's not so easy to cycle past, (but remaining close to), the town centre on its southern side in either direction - thus avoiding a fairly steep hill.  Commercial Road is fast becoming recognised for being something of a gauntlet for any of its users, (but particularly so for pedestrians and cyclists), and approaching its terminus with Regents Circus often makes me feel like I'm cycling towards the open maw of a meat grinder.

Travelling East to West along Crombey Street looks, (from the attached SBC produced cycle route map), more cycle friendly, but even a casual 'on the ground' inspsection reveals that the cycle lane is no longer a coherent cycle lane because it has parking bays marked out, (in which cars are almost always parked), for most of its length.  I don't use this cycle lane because doing so causes riders to enter and leave the main traffic flow several times.  This is inherently dangerous because Crombey Street is often as 'race-track' like as Commercial Road.

Essentially, after reaching the Farnsby Street end of the old canal line cycle path cyclists on their way to East Swindon don't have many options....

Offline Alligator

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 03:51:26 PM »
I don't really have an issue with the police enforcing this. Of anything I'd suggest that it's extended to mobility scooters.  I've lost count of the number of times ice seen them scooting along at close to cycling speeds in the town centre.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 04:23:42 PM »
The only thing is Alligator, that people riding cycles are generally fit enough to walk as well, most scooter riders are not - which is why they have one in the first place. I couldn't make it from one end of town to the other without sitting down several times.

I've never seen a scooter rider able to a overtake a cyclist, because the speed of the scooter is regulated.  The little pavements only scooters are up to 4.5mph - the speed of a reasonably fast walker.  The next class(2)  is up to 6 mph, and the Class 3 - what I have at present - can go up to 9.5mph going down steep a hill with a strong wind behind it.  It's top speed is supposed to be 8 mph.  It definitely could not do, at command, the normal speed of a cyclist.  And it can't always go where cyclist go, being wider, some of the barriers are set too close together.

When I'm anywhere crowded, I fix the speed at 1 to 2 mph.  I can fix the speed anywhere on the scale by lowering it near to the 'tortoise'.  I know what speed I'm doing because it has a speedo displayed on a little dashboard screen.

Cyclist do tend to whizz up behind me and overtake without any bell ringing and I have to be careful and alert when I move across the cycle routes for any reason - usually to avoid dips, pot holes etc.  A cyclist can go up and down a kerb, but a four inch kerb without space to turn on the path, puts and end to my going that way.

The North isn't that well served with proper cycle routes that get you into town, although there loads in the Northern Development.

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Alligator

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 05:37:53 PM »
Muggins I don't have an issue with people using mobility scooters in town and apologies if I gave that impression. What I do think is an issue is people going at speeds which are well above walking speed.

I've seen this on a number of occasions and witnessed people having to move quickly out of their way.  I had to do this myself today when a woman shot past me on one by H&M earlier.

To me it's a case of common sense. A pedestrian would come off worse if a mobility scooter hit them, therefore their speed should be restricted to walking speed in pedestrianised areas in order to limit the chance and severity of an injury. 

After all the mobility scooter is intended to overcome an inability to walk, not act as a substitute for a car or bike.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 06:33:43 PM »
'nough said Alligator, when I saw the size of my new one (I bought it second hand via EBay) I must admit I gasped and I must admit it's a bit too big for me really.

I am very mindful that if I hit something I could kill it, or at least take a humans leg out.  Although they are very good at stopping. Hands off the trigger and it stops dead, almost rears up.  With that and the buck when I start at full speed, are probably reasons why Pride named it the Colt Pursuit.   :thumb:
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 08:17:50 PM »
Aren't some of the recommended 'on road' cycle routes shown on Geoff's map one way?

I used to work at Premier House opposite the railway station and it was pain in the backside trying to cycle to work. Partly because of an uncomfortable saddle, but mainly due to the one way system that meant I had to cycle twice as far as the walking route.

If we are going to start fining cyclists for speeding through the town centre, can we also introduce a similar fine for anyone trying to text on their mobile phone whilst walking. These people are a menace to society.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 07:36:00 AM »
You are right Spunky, even if they were not, they are BUSY roads, no cyclist other than areal enthusiast would want or dare ride a bike on them. 

It seems that when they say cycle to work or to shop in town they mean to the outskirts.  Although how the heck do they get cycle lanes into a pedestrian precinct? 

Its been a long, long time since they talked about mono rails, but at one time it was being talked about in Swindon.   Maybe a huge flyover cycling bridge 4 way?

How do they manage in places like Holland?  And how many would use it if provided?
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Muggins

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 07:45:32 AM »
This is how they do it  "the bike is right"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23587916

Sounds like heaven to me I must have some Dutch gene's: "where the tatty is regarded as status'

Of course they have one huge advantage there - it's flat!
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 03:24:44 PM »
Aren't some of the recommended 'on road' cycle routes shown on Geoff's map one way?

Yes.

I used to work at Premier House opposite the railway station and it was pain in the backside trying to cycle to work. Partly because of an uncomfortable saddle, but mainly due to the one way system that meant I had to cycle twice as far as the walking route.

Yes, and usually on a busy road at a time when many other drivers are more focused on the clock, radio, mobile phone and other components of the twice-daily rat-race than they are on more vulnerable road users. (I won't yet discuss the small minority of drivers who actively 'target' cyclists - for whatever reason but I suspect irritation that cyclists can often 'make progress' where drivers can't).






You are right Spunky, even if they were not, they are BUSY roads, no cyclist other than areal enthusiast would want or dare ride a bike on them. 

It seems that when they say cycle to work or to shop in town they mean to the outskirts.  Although how the heck do they get cycle lanes into a pedestrian precinct? 

Spot on Muggins.  Rod Bluh would have earned some genuine respect if he'd said, "Sod my £250,000 wet patch and lets forget putting a non-secure 'secure' cycle park in a dingy corner of an old multi storey car park, let's build cycle parking into my re-vamp of Canal Walk and make it a useful public realm artwork....something like a narrowboat sunk into the pavement of Wharf Green which is actually a bicycle park....."

It strikes me that there is a certain type of psychological problem with politicians, planners and developers who think it perfectly fine to mix commercial vehicles, buses, pedestrians, cars, taxis and bicycles in a 'shared space' such as Regents Circus, but utterly refuse to enable or allow cyclists and pedestrians to mix in the town centre itself.  Yes, there are some problem cyclists in the town centre, (relatively few I'll wager), but they will stand out because they are the only cyclists who attract attention because almost all the responsible, careful and considerate cyclists don't enter the town centre because they are not permitted to do so mounted.  If they were permitted to do so, and proper provision made (marked through traffic and lanes to cycle parking in sensible & useful places) I believe we'd see a cultural and behavioural change in short order.

Anyhow, here's another sliver of kindling.  I wasn't aware that cycling on the footway alongside Farnsby Street was permitted, (footway = a path at the side of a carriageway), in fact I'm fairly sure doing so is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, (amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888).

This is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the Policeman/PCSO in this short clip was pedaling back, (at speed you will notice), to the Bridge Street police point after dishing out some fixed penalty notices to cyclists under section 72 of the Highways Act - the relevant section of which is, (as I'm sure the eagle eyed readers of TS will already have noted), is being very clearly brandished by the two gentleman pictured in the first post of this topic.

Oh, the irony.... :coolsmiley:






Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2014, 03:30:45 PM »
This is how they do it  "the bike is right"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23587916

Sounds like heaven to me I must have some Dutch gene's: "where the tatty is regarded as status'

Of course they have one huge advantage there - it's flat!


That is a very good find Muggins, thank you :)

Edit:  I've just watched the video for a 2nd time. I think it's really very good and found myself agreeing with Boris Johnson.

Interesting to learn that Hackney High Street in London is now cycles & pedestrians only.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 04:35:54 PM by Geoff Reid »

Offline Muggins

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2014, 04:46:20 PM »
There is another bit of cycle route on path from the Old Canal - over the road and down into Bridge street, it literally just is the old path divided up and clearly marked, but is would be useful, that's if the pedestrians noticed the clear lines. 

At least it's clear it's shared space. I have no doubt that it is legal in some way.

Regent street now is such a clutter of posts, seat's, shop notices, litter bins, café seating and any repairs going on and different surfaces, that I think some of it would have to be taken out to get straight run for a cycle route, even if it was only a 2ft wide one. Oh! and that water feature thingy would be in the way and the blessed lion.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Police & Council Crackdown On Swindon Town Centre Cyclists
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2014, 05:56:31 PM »
There is another bit of cycle route on path from the Old Canal - over the road and down into Bridge street, it literally just is the old path divided up and clearly marked, but is would be useful, that's if the pedestrians noticed the clear lines. 

At least it's clear it's shared space. I have no doubt that it is legal in some way.

Do you mean this one?

 

 
It's another cycle path which gets you near to, but not into, the town centre.


BTW, I note that someone has now renamed 'Muggers Alley' to 'Western Flyer' on Google maps :)