ELECTIONS: Tower Hamlets mayor wants Penalty Notices for ‘super charged’ cyclists riding on pavements
PUBLISHED: 07:05 14 April 2018
Tough action could be meted out after the Tower Hamlets election for mayor against “super charged” cyclists crashing into pedestrians.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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’.