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ELECTIONS: Tower Hamlets mayor wants Penalty Notices for ‘super charged’ cyclists riding on pavements

PUBLISHED: 07:05 14 April 2018

Five oif the seven candidates for mayor at the Limehouse hustings... L-R Tory Anwara Ali, Lib Dem Elaine Bagshaw, Labour's John Biggs, Greens' Ciaran Jebb and People's Alliance Rabina Khan. Picture: Mike Brooke

Five oif the seven candidates for mayor at the Limehouse hustings... L-R Tory Anwara Ali, Lib Dem Elaine Bagshaw, Labour's John Biggs, Greens' Ciaran Jebb and People's Alliance Rabina Khan. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Tough action could be meted out after the Tower Hamlets election for mayor against “super charged” cyclists crashing into pedestrians.

Addressing the election hustings at Limehouse for Tower Hamlets mayor. Picture: Mike BrookeAddressing the election hustings at Limehouse for Tower Hamlets mayor. Picture: Mike Brooke

Candidates for the coveted office of mayor faced questions from potential voters in an election hustings staged by Tower Hamlets Wheelers cycling lobby on dangers to cyclists from drivers and dangers to pedestrians from cyclists.

One candidate wanted stiffer penalties for motorists, another called for penalty notices to cyclists on pavements.

Candidates were asked what they would do to “educate cyclists who ride at breakneck speed and won’t stop for anything” in a question from the Limehouse town hall audience.

“We need better enforcement,” Mayor John Biggs replied. “We should have ‘penalty notice’ powers which I would like to use.”

Tower Hamlets Wheelers election for mayor hustings at Limehouse town hall. Picture: Mike BrookeTower Hamlets Wheelers election for mayor hustings at Limehouse town hall. Picture: Mike Brooke

The Labour candidate running for a second term added: “We get complaints about cycle highway behaviour, presumably super charged investment bankers hurtling down Cable Street who get cyclists a bad name.”

He mentioned “a classic problem” with roadworks in Spitalfields, where cyclists and motorcyclists use the pavement in Quaker Street, off Brick Lane, rather than the diversion.

His challenger from the People’s Alliance, Rabina Khan, revealed how a new cycle highway through Shadwell caused danger to pedestrians when it opened along Cable Street.

She told the hustings: “It was a very contentious issue. The neighbourhood was up in arms and didn’t want it. I have had to deal with cyclists who have knocked over pedestrians like the little girl two years ago.”

Grace Chessis and her broken leg with her mum Laura after being knocked over by a speeding cyclist in children's play area at Meath Gardens in 2016. Picture: Mike BrookeGrace Chessis and her broken leg with her mum Laura after being knocked over by a speeding cyclist in children's play area at Meath Gardens in 2016. Picture: Mike Brooke

This referred to seven-year-old Grace Chessis who got a broken leg when she was hit by a speeding cyclist in Bethnal Green’s Meath Gardens. Grace’s mum Laura began a petition asking the mayor to ban cyclists through the park, reported in the East London Advertiser at the time.

Greens’ candidate Ciaran Jebb suggested a schools programme teaching cycling proficiency, adding that “a good infrastructure creates good behaviour” with segregated cycle highways. The reason for “so many hyper cyclists” he thought was a dangerous environment on the roads.

But there were also dangers for riders, the hustings heard.

Lib Dem challenger Elaine Bagshaw revealed: “I used Cycle Highway 2 before it was segregated and it was terrifying. We can do things like Whitechapel’s segregation to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.”

Five oif the seven candidates for mayor at Tower Hamlets Wheelers' hustings... L-R Tory Anwara Ali, Lib Dem Elaine Bagshaw, Labour's John Biggs, Greens' Ciaran Jebb and People's Alliance Rabina Khan. Picture: Mike BrookeFive oif the seven candidates for mayor at Tower Hamlets Wheelers' hustings... L-R Tory Anwara Ali, Lib Dem Elaine Bagshaw, Labour's John Biggs, Greens' Ciaran Jebb and People's Alliance Rabina Khan. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mayor Biggs promised he would “get the balance right” at Whitechapel Market between cyclists and the traders needing safe kerbside pavement access.

Tory candidate Dr Anwara Ali would look at cycle safety, with most accidents at crossroads involving goods lorries, promising to spend money on junction ‘boxes’.

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