CYCLISTS should be allowed to ride on the pavement if they show respect to pedestrians.
That’s the message from former Mayor of Havant, Virginia Steel, who has criticised a police crackdown on cycling on pavements.
The 74-year-old, who served on Havant Road Safety Council for more than 20 years, has been cycling since she was six years old and says she uses the footpaths to visit family.
Mrs Steel is speaking out after police launched a clampdown on cycling on footpaths in Bedhampton and Leigh Park. The operation was instigated by residents, who were concerned about safety, including a school route that is used by pavement cyclists.
One morning last month, 11 officers were out on patrols and 14 people were stopped and told to get back on the road.
But Mrs Steel, who lives in Leigh Park, said: ‘I cycle across them (the footpaths) quite a bit and I always get off when I see people coming.
‘I was a bit cross because on some of the roads, the cycleways are broken up and nobody bothers to repair them.
‘Sometimes the drains are higher than the roads and Purbrook Way is particularly dangerous.
‘I just think it’s a case of sharing.’
Mrs Steel, who has a bell to warn pedestrians, added: ‘I think it’s an attack on cyclists.
‘I don’t agree with people being like that when we are trying to get people out of their cars to be more healthy.
‘All it needs is a little bit of give and take. I have the doctor telling me I need to keep on riding, but I am being told you can’t ride on the footpath. I was just very angry.
‘If Holland can do it....they do it and nobody seems to complain.’
The crackdown is targeted at ‘inconsiderate cyclists’ and officers stressed it was not aimed at young children cycling on the pavements.
Fines of £50 can be imposed on pavement cyclists, but police said the emphasis was on education.
Meanwhile, work to create a shared pedestrian and cycle footpath in Park Road North, Havant, has begun, using £70,000 of cash from Local Sustainable Transport Fund.