POLICE have repeated warnings about riding bikes on the pavement after a six-year-old boy had his leg broken in a crash with a cyclist.
The youngster was left in a wheelchair after the accident on the Gosport Ferry pontoon in Portsmouth.
It happened while the boy, from Gosport, was being taken for a meal out with family to celebrate his birthday.
Police across the area have stepped up action against pavement cyclists, including giving fines to offenders.
The boy’s 36-year-old father, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It was pretty nasty and he was in a lot of pain. We were on our way out for a meal at Gunwharf because it was a day after my son’s birthday. As we came off the ferry there is a hut halfway up the ramp with a narrow gap on one side like a tunnel.
‘My little boy went down the tunnel at the same time this guy was free-wheeling on his bike and went down the other end of the tunnel.
‘He hit my son hard on the chest. We didn’t realise his leg was broken until later.
‘He had to use a wheelchair for a while because he couldn’t put any weight on his leg and couldn’t walk with crutches.’
The accident happened last month but the youngster’s family have now come forward to urge others to be careful. This week the gap on the ferry pontoon has been boarded up by the ferry company. Warning signs have also been spray-painted on the ground at the top of the pontoon ramp.
‘The ferry company has been brilliant about the whole thing and I’m glad things have changed so it won’t happen again,’ added the father.
‘The cyclist was apologetic and I’d imagine he will think twice about it next time.’
PC Dave Lynn, from Gosport police station has been working with the family as part of a crackdown on nuisance cyclists.
He says this accident is an example of why cycling in pedestrian areas like the town’s High Street is dangerous.
‘Thankfully there seems to have been a dramatic difference in the number of people cycling where they shouldn’t since we’ve put the signs up,’ he said.
‘A few weeks ago I gave 23 cyclists tickets in one hour but last week it was just three. This incident is a timely reminder to all residents that High Street is a no-cycling area. We conduct regular patrols and will issue fines or proceedings against anyone who ignores the cycling ban.’
As reported, police in Leigh Park are handing out £30 fines to cyclists who ride on pavements.