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Rogue cyclists targeted by Westminster in UK first

PUBLISHED: 12:33 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:36 07 September 2010

IN A national first – Westminster Council staff could be taking over from police in fining law-breaking cyclists. With cycling increasing in popularity, more pedestrians are complaining about dangerous so-called lycra louts . Almost 30,00

Sanchez Manning

IN A national first - Westminster Council staff could be taking over from police in fining law-breaking cyclists.

With cycling increasing in popularity, more pedestrians are complaining about dangerous so-called "lycra louts".

Almost 30,000 cyclists travel through Westminster daily and one in five have been caught riding on pavements, jumping red lights or riding the wrong way down roads.

But now a council scrutiny committee has called for a major crackdown on aggressive riders terrorising pedestrians.

In a landmark ruling, councillors are recommending that civilian officers should be empowered to fine Highway Code-breaking cyclists.

The penalty for cycling offences is £30. But it has been suggested that this is too lenient and should be raised to £100.

Jeanette Buckley was knocked over and abused by a cyclist riding on the pavement as she left her Lisson Green home.

She said the clampdown should have been introduced a long time ago.

"It's about time they did something - you need an officer on every corner," she said.

"If you can catch a good few then maybe word will get around that if you ride on the pavement you'll be fined.

"The more popular cycling becomes, the more dangerous it is to walk on the streets."

Marylebone councillor and scrutiny committee member Harvey Marshall has also been a victim of reckless cycling.

He said: "It was the best meeting I've been to in 20 years because we actually achieved something.

"What I wanted was some form of sanctions taken against cyclists because the police don't have time to do it.

"Out of the blue, someone from TfL said council officers already have the right to stop cyclists who break the rules - unbeknown to all of us.

"If this is the case, then all of those who go rogue will be fined and that will make things safer for everyone."

Committee chairwoman Cllr Angela Harvey made additional plea for the Met to take a tougher line on illegal cycling.

"We want the police to treat cyclists as they would anyone else on the road - by taking a much tougher enforcement stance," she said.

"We need to make this type of dangerous cycling socially unacceptable - just like drink driving - as the consequences can be fatal.

"In addition to fines, we also want those who flout the rules to undergo training."

A Westminster Police spokeswoman said that cycling offences were "treated very seriously".

But she added: "While we do not tolerate any behaviour which may cause accident or injury to pedestrians, drivers and indeed cyclists themselves, we also have to balance this with the other issues which affect the borough and take up our time and resources."

But Harrow Road councillor Ruth Bush said: "Rather than going at it from the point of view of cycling offenders, they should start by looking at cycling safety.

"Getting heavy-handed is a foolish way to proceed.


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