Oxford cyclists fined in pedestrian zone crackdown
By Richard Peace | Sunday, June 7, 2009 7.00am
Police have cracked down on cyclists using the pedestrian zone in Cornmarket Street, Oxford Veggiefrog, Flickr.com
Cyclists caught riding in pedestrianised areas of Oxford have been given a record number of fines in a police crackdown.
Officers caught an average of one cyclist riding illegally every two minutes in Cornmarket Street and Queen Street.
They handed out a total of 95 £30 fines – 72 to cyclists in Queen Street and 23 to riders in Cornmarket Street.
Cycling is prohibited in both areas between 10am and 6pm. Police have pledged to step up enforcement in Oxford’s pedestrian areas.
PC Steve Higa said: “This was a record number of people, which is worrying. People should know by now that cycling in Queen Street and Cornmarket is restricted. If people cycle [there], there is a danger to themselves and pedestrians. We don’t want anyone to get injured.
“Most of the cyclists got off their bikes when they saw us so they knew full well what they were doing was wrong. There’s no excuse. The signs are very clear. Most pedestrians were supportive and some of the elderly people said it was about time."
Oxford-based cycle campaign group Cyclox said bikes should be allowed in Queen Street. “While there is a ban Cyclox will urge cyclists to respect that. But we don’t agree with the ban in Queen Street," said the group's James Styring.
"Incidents of cyclists running over pedestrians are incredibly rare and maybe there are more pressing things for police to deal with. Buses run along Queen Street and they would cause a lot more damage to a pedestrian than a cyclist.
"You could easily make a case for bikes to be allowed on both streets, but Cornmarket is much busier. In Queen Street, however, cyclists and pedestrians could mix much more easily.”
Police carry out stop checks in Oxford city centre every few months. Eighty-five cyclists were caught riding illegally in three hours in August 2007, 55 were fined £30 for riding without lights in October 2007, and a similar crackdown last autumn netted 83 offenders.
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