Letters: “Even cyclists need to obey the law”

Cycle lane sign Cycling

Dear editor

As a fellow newcomer to both cycling and Bedford, I do have a little sympathy for Karyn Pemberton being caught out illegally cycling in a pedestrianised area.

After all, there is a strong laissez-faire attitude in Bedford to all kind of illegal cycling activities.

But I am also an elderly pensioner and, on an almost daily basis, have to leap out of the way of illegally and recklessly ridden cycles and scooters on pavements in the town centre and am strongly in favour of enforcing the law.

After moving to Bedford and seeing the wonderful cycle paths along the river, I asked for a cycle for my 74th birthday, the first cycle I’d had since leaving school a long time ago.

I’ve certainly enjoyed it and I have to confess, I too have sometimes illegally ridden the pavements, but always meticulous to care for pedestrians. Unusually it seems, for cyclists, I also say “Thank you,” when a pedestrian moves aside to let me past.

But my parents taught me at an early age that it was illegal to cycle on pavements, as should Ms Pemberton’s. We do not need signs to tell us that. If I am caught out, no doubt I shall moan about it, but one has to accept that breaking the law has consequences. 

Bedford has plenty of well-marked cycle paths, and it is regrettable that, when realigning the High Street a short time ago, the opportunity was not taken to provide a contra-flow cycle route along it, meaning there is no easy north-bound cycle route from the Town and Riverside Bridges.

Perhaps an alternative could be found through the service yard by the Corn Exchange, along a marked-out section of Silver Street to Harpur Street. That would remove a lot of pressure for illegal cycling on both High Street and Harpur Square. 

In the meantime, the High Street is particularly dangerous with electrified cycles speeding along the narrow pavements.

When I have approached the police in the past, they have said they are far too busy catching drug dealers to bother about a few pedestrians getting knocked over in the High Street. (OK, those weren’t the actual words they used, but the meaning was clear.)

Perhaps our new PCC will put greater importance on pedestrians’ lives than the previous one did.

Dave Neale
Castle Lane, Bedford

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