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Zero-tolerance approach to dangerous cycling

Teenagers caught cycling dangerously in Northampton risk having their bikes seized as police tackle anti-social behaviour in the town.

Groups of youths aged 11 to 17 have been reported riding dangerously on the roads, holding up traffic, interfering with vehicles, and cycling on pavements and through pedestrianised shopping areas.

High visibility police patrols in affected areas are being conducted to deter and disrupt such behaviour, especially during the peak problem times of weekends and early evenings.

Officers are also identifying those responsible through CCTV and school visits, then conducting home visits or sending a letter about anti-social behaviour and its consequences.

PC Michael Rogers, who is coordinating the work, said: “We receive daily reports of youths riding recklessly in the town centre, causing danger to road users, pedestrians and themselves.

“It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt and this behaviour will not be tolerated. We will be continuing enforcement action and, where powers allow, we will be seizing bikes from those identified.

“I would also ask parents, do you know what your children are up to when they go out? Please talk to them about safe and acceptable behaviour - we’ve taken youths home whose parents have been mortified once they’ve been told what their children have been doing out on their bikes.”

Last Saturday, October 28, PC Rogers and colleagues manned a stall in Market Square to engage with young cyclists and pass on safer cycling advice. A themed quiz saw prizes donated by local cycling shops delivered to four lucky winners.

Safe cycling advice

  • When cycling, always look and listen for traffic and other people
  • Never ride on the pavement, on footpaths or in pedestrianised areas. It is an offence to do so and you may be fined. Keep to cycling lanes or ride in the same direction as cars
  • Keep to single file on the roads and try to maintain a steady course
  • Keep a wide distance from parked cars as they may suddenly open a door
  • Before you turn a corner, check the way ahead is clear, look behind you too, then clearly signal so other road users know where you are going
  • Wear a helmet and always make sure it is properly fastened and adjusted
  • All new bikes must have reflectors on them .Wearing bright or reflective clothing will also help you be seen
  • At night, you must have a white front light and a red back light – this is the law
  • Fit a bell to your bike so you can easily let other people know you are approaching
  • Before you ride your bike, check that your chain and brakes are working properly and that your tyres are pumped up
  • Plan your ride route in advance and check the weather/road conditions before you set off
  • If you come up behind horse riders on your route, call ahead to let them know you are there. Watch for and obey any hand signals or verbal request they may make, and pass them wide and slow

Find more information on cycling safety for cyclists and drivers here.

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