By Chief Correspondent, Rob Thomas
GOSPORT Police have warned that beginning on Tuesday, February 1, they will be cracking down on cyclists in the town’s pedestrianised High Street.
Their Facebook page states: “officers will start issuing Fixed penalty notices with a fine of £30 to anyone who is caught cycling through the high street.”
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson told The Globe: “We regularly review reports being made to police, and seek feedback from the public – whether this be surveys or through local neighbourhood beat surgeries, for example – to understand the issues affecting them, and this is an issue that has recently come to a head with concerns raised both to police and the local authority.
“As such, the local [Neighbourhoods Policing Team] will be looking at this in the weeks ahead, and the priority is to ensure the safety of pedestrians using this area.”
In July, The Globe highlighted the issue by carrying out surveys which recorded 39 bikes and three e-scooters being ridden in a two-hour period on a Thursday afternoon in the High Street, and 18 cyclists plus one e-scooter rider in a two-hour period on a Tuesday – market day – morning.
Gosport borough Councillor John Beavis – who chairs the Community Safety Partnership – welcomed the initiative: “It is good to see this important action by the Police after some near misses between cyclists and pedestrians in the High Street.
“The issuing of fixed penalty notices will help to keep our high street safe.”
Several comments on the Gosport Police Facebook post indicated that the law had prohibited cycling on pavements and in pedestrianised areas for years – for the record, the constabulary spokesperson said it goes back to 1861 and section 35 of the Offences Against the Person Act with ‘wanton and furious cycling’.
Other comments called for police action against illegal cycling elsewhere in the borough and the spokesperson said: “We continually encourage the public to report all issues of crime and anti-social behaviour to us so we can develop a picture of what is affecting our communities, and where to target our resources.”
A view echoed by John Beavis: “The shared use pedestrian and cycle facilities are widely used in the Borough but there are areas where cyclist do use the pavements illegally.
“Where such share arrangement does not exist, this should be reported to the Police on 101.” Or online HERE.
The councillor added that Hampshire County Council’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans, “are a strategic approach to identifying cycling and walking improvements required at the local level.
“They enable a long-term approach to developing local cycling and walking networks, ideally over a 10-year period, and form a vital part of the Government’s strategy to increase the number of trips made on foot or by cycle.
“The [Hampshire County Council] plan was recently approved by [Gosport Borough Council’s] Economic Development Board”.
Photograph ((top): cycling along Gosport High Street could soon cost a £30 fine