Get off your bike or pay up to £1,000 fine

Cycling in Bedford town centre PNL-160217-103411001
Cycling in Bedford town centre PNL-160217-103411001

Cyclist are facing an on-the-spot fine if they are caught riding through Bedford’s pedestrian shopping area, the council has announced.

Under a proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) rogue riders can be flagged down and handed a £75 fine, which will fall to £50 if paid within eight days.

However, failure to pay may see the penalty escalate to up to £1,000 upon prosecution.

The cycling ban will be operational in the town centre from 9am to 6pm daily.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said the aim is to make the town centre safer for pedestrians, and, while a start date is yet to be agreed, police officers and community support officers, and authorised council officers will have the power to hand out the fines.

The council is also yet to decide which age group the restrictions will apply to and what happens if no authorised person is on hand should someone break the rule.

Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services Councillor Colleen Atkins said: “It’s good that people are cycling as it’s better for the environment and it is healthy exercise. However, reckless and inconsiderate cycling in Bedford town centre has been highlighted as a concern and we are committed to tackling this problem.

“Bedford BID regularly records about 800 cyclists a month riding through Bedford town centre during the daytime and there have been some nasty collisions with pedestrians. We need to make sure cyclists dismount to walk through busy areas.”

She added: “PSPOs can be very effective in helping to stop nuisance behaviour. This is our intention and hope it will improve the experience for people living in, working in and visiting Bedford.”

The PSPO was approved by the Executive at a meeting on February 10, and will remain in place for three years from the date it is introduced.

It comes following a public consultation during 2015, which took into account the views of the public, local cycling groups, users of the town centre, business representatives and Bedfordshire Police.

The consultation also identified an issue with reckless and inconsiderate cycling in the town centre.