Peterborough Council Leader would like to ban cycling in entire city centre

This evening Cllr Darren Fower proposed a motion at Full Council.   The motion read “With hundreds of people having signed up to a petition to support to introduce a cycle lane along Bridge Street, and given the Council Leader’s clear concerns regarding potential safety issues from a minority of cyclists, this Council recommends that the Cabinet introduce a bespoke cycle lane along this stretch from Cathedral Square to the junction with Bourges Boulevard.” (Agenda, p96)

Councillor Fox stood up and said that he was a long standing Cycling Touring Club member but that he got off and walked in Bridge Street.

Councillor Swift said he had been cycling for over 75 years.  To interjections he confirmed that yes, he was still riding the same bicycle.    And that he thought that the council should ban cycling from the top of Cowgate to the end of Long Causeway [ie to extend to double its length the current Bridge Street ban].

Council Leader, Councillor Cereste said  “I agree Madam Mayor.  We are an environment city.  We provide cycle ways.  Let’s be reasonable.    In the city centre it just doesn’t work.  A few walks is good for cyclists.  A few days ago a cyclist was coming down Bridge Street past the town hall.  He didn’t care about anybody – past coffee bars – past people.  I had to drag my little boy out from in front of him.  Another occasion: a small white haired lady she nearly spun on his air. [?]   He didn’t get across Bourges Boulevard: he couldn’t stop, he spun round the lady on his bike.  Majority are nice sensible people.  Bridge Street isn’t safe to enjoy.  As much as I have great sympathy for cyclists – if I had my way it would be the entire city centre.

Councillor Miners said Peterborough has a population of 180,000 and the petition was signed by very small numbers.  That cyclists were terrorising pedestrians.  That it wasn’t about having a designated cycle lane in Bridge Street.

Councillor North said it was nonsense.

Councillor McKean said it was not really practical.  That we are encouraging young families into pedestrianised zones.  And the blind and partially sighted.  And that Councillor Fower should take the Data Act into account when telling us who said what on his petition.

Councillor Over said lets move to a vote.

Councillor Sharp said he’d discovered the location of Narnia.  It was two rows in front of him.  Where Councillor Fower sat.  That he was a Health and Safety officer and it worried him just reading it.  He’d spent five minutes reading it.  And for the first minute he just laughed.

Councillor Fitzgerald said that Councillor Fower had mentioned Cambridge in his opening address.  But he’d heard a story about a doctor and a five year old injured mixing cyclists and pedestrians.  He’d ban cycling in all pedestrian areas.  The cycle route is Wentworth Street.  He would ask the leader to use the budget to yank everybody off a cycle.  That Councillor Fower was using social media.  It is an accident waiting to happen.  And that his own wife had been injured in a collision with a cyclist.

Councillor Ash said he wasn’t convinced that cyclists would adhere to it.  The other end of Bridge Street permitted cyclists outside the Magistrates Court.  They don’t always stay on the side they are supposed to.  We see it everyday.   People wandering from shop to shop.

Councillor Martin said he was a cyclist and he wanted a cycle route adjacent to or parallel to Bridge Street.

Councillor Goodwin said “Thank you.  The city centre is part of my portfolio.  Thank you for your common sense.  The speeds that some people go through is an accident waiting to happen.”

Councillor Sandford, seconding the motion responded.  “I’d like the press and the public to take notice.  The intention of this council is to ban cycling.  We have the largest network of cycleways.   But they are disjointed at the city centre, especially Bridge Street [where cycling is banned Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm].  We are proposing a cycle lane to segregate cyclists from pedestrians.

Councillor Fox said they can’t mix if cyclists are on their bikes.  That Councillor Cereste is talking about abuses which happen.  The current system isn’t working.  It is confusing.  That Councillor Cereste was actually sat with a policeman trying to stop people from cycling.  Why not have a review?  That would be better than extremist policies prohibiting cycling completely.

Councillor Fower listed people who were in support of a cycle lane and cited someone called Mike George who had claimed that the current ban was not policed effectively.   And that the motion proposed a common sense solution to a self created problem.

Councillor Cereste raised a point of information.  This was that the motion was not common sense.  That if we put a cycle lane from the top of Bridge Street to the crossing at TK Maxx people would cross and go from one shop to another while on the cycle lane people would be doing 20 to 30mph.  It is just daft.

Councillor Sandford requested enforcement of standing orders, if we couldn’t have enforcement of the cycling ban, since Councillor Cereste’s point was not a point of information at all.  He hinted that the interim legal officer (the regular one was unable to attend) didn’t have the experience to cope with enforcing procedures.

Councillor Cereste said he’d corrected Councillor Sandford on common sense.

The legal officer said he’d been doing this job for 25 years, just not for Peterborough.

Four people voted in favour, everyone else against, except Councillor Ed Murphy, who abstained.

Author: Fiona Radic

Web Weaver, Network Cultivator

7 thoughts on “Peterborough Council Leader would like to ban cycling in entire city centre”

  1. I despair at the level of ill-informedness and lack of vision displayed by our esteemed local representatives. What is that they do not understand from the experience of a growing number of UK towns and cities and the considerable weight of real evidence from the continent where vibrant, pleasant, safe, often car-free, shared-use cities and town centres are the norm? The levels of cycling are tens of times more than in Peterborough and there is not a problem about pedestrian and cyclist conflict. The aged, Peterborough cycle route ‘network’ is incomplete and much of it is sub-standard, often causing more problems and safety issues than it seeks to overcome. We then wonder why cyclists often don’t use these ‘facilities’. Similarly, those fortunate enough to have cars, continue to use them and kill and seriously injure pedestrians and cyclists in and around this pro-car environment that is Peterborough. How many pedestrians are killed or seriously injured by cyclists? I believe that the facts are that more cyclists are killed or injured avoiding cyclists who step out in front of them when they are cycling on the roads! I am a car owner and I am not anti-car, there’s just a time and a place for the car. More cycling = safer cycling. The sooner that Peterborough politicians work this out, the better will be our city and the health and well-being of its citizens.


    1. Good comments and I agree that cycling should be encouraged i.e. people should use bicycles more, rather than relying on cars.

      However, there is conflict between cyclists and pedestrians and it needs to be managed and prevented. My comments are based largely on what I have seen in London. Perhaps there are towns or cities elsewhere in the UK that have good arrangements for cycle lanes – I have not seen any.

      A lot of the conflict is due to (as Rob mentions) sub-standard cycle lanes. If you go to a European city such as Munich you see cycle lanes which are dedicated to cyclists, they are wide and have clear boundaries and proper signage (warnings to pedestrians etc.) and they are largely continuous except at road intersections.

      In the UK so-called cycle lanes are often created by simply painting white lines on portions of existing roads for motor vehicles, with no boundary or barrier. They tend to be very narrow, only wide enough for one cycle. The cycle lanes are discontinuous. Cyclists using them are forced to exit them to travel in the same lanes as motor vehicles or on the pavement with pedestrians. This is unacceptable and dangerous. It is not surprising that cyclists often choose to either travel along with motor vehicles or wholly on the pavement.

      There will always be a proportion of cyclists who ride irresponsibly. However, good design of cycle lanes would reduce the harmful consequences.
      Mark Harris


  2. I think that cyclists should be prevented from cycling in towns and cities in areas intended for people to walk in such as car-free pedestrian precincts and pavements. That is how it used to be.

    Cycle lanes are often badly located and they often intersect pedestrian walkways. Cyclists are often abusive to pedestrians and cycle in an unsafe way (the less competent riders tending to ride on the pavement). Collisions occur between cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists do not care much for the needs of pedestrians and see them as a nuisance. Surely pedestrians should have right of way over cyclists in a pedestrian area.

    It is true that cyclists sometimes collide with motor vehicles on roads, but that is irrelevant in pedestrian zones. In any case, directing cyclists to cycle among pedestrians is not a solution, it is a very bad idea.

    Mark Harris


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