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Gazette put spotlight on issue weeks ago
It was nearly two months ago that concerned pedestrians contacted The Gazette about the problem, so we went to the Top of The Town to see what was happening for ourselves.
As we previously reported, a reporter and photographer counted a total of 15 cyclists and five people on scooters flouting the law in just one hour – despite signs informing people they are not allowed to cycle there.
Now, police officers are targeting cyclists who repeatedly ignore ‘no cycling’ restrictions in the town centre, particularly in the pedestrianised Winchester Street area. Those caught flouting the law could face a £30 fine.
During an initial operation at the end of September, officers handed out more than 30 warnings and two fixed penalty notices to cyclists in the town centre.
PC Dumisani Sikhosana, from the town centre unit, said that people in local businesses, shoppers and residents have raised the issue with the police as a priority for something to be done.
He said: “These are pedestrianised areas where people should be able to walk safely without fear of being knocked over by cyclists.
“We would like to encourage better behaviour among people of all ages on bicycles, including those who ride recklessly on pavements, don’t use lights at night, and those who don’t stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings.”
Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, said: “The Top of The Town is covered by a pedestrianisation order from the late 1980s which prevents any vehicles – including bicycles – travelling along it, except for servicing at certain times.
“It is therefore right for the police to patrol this area to ensure the safety of those pedestrians using it.”
Police officers are also subject to the same rules, but can cycle through pedestrian areas for a policing purpose, such as responding to an incident.