10:05 – 05 November 2009
A VISUALLY-IMPAIRED man is frightened and demoralised by thoughtless cyclists and skateboarders who ride at speed through pedestrianised areas of a town.
Martin Miles, of Broadwater Crescent in Stevenage, is also deeply worried someone may be badly hurt if the situation is not rapidly improved.
He said: “I am becoming more and more concerned at the number of people who ride their bicycles at great speed through the pedestrianised parts of Stevenage town centre, and on the pavements throughout the town.
“These cyclists are a menace to people with sight problems as you cannot hear a bicycle coming until it is right on top of you.”
The 52-year-old said it has been an issue for a while but has been getting worse and worse, with skateboarders compounding the problem.
He said it is not just an issue for those who are visually impaired, but also for those who are deaf, elderly, or have problems with mobility.
“Some inconsiderate riders think it is great fun to pass as near as possible and make abusive comments as they go past,” Mr Miles explained. “I can assure you that it is not. It frightens us, dents our confidence, is totally demoralising, and somebody could be badly injured.”
He added: “People who are visually impaired have to cope with many problems every day and could do without an unnecessary one like this, which is caused by people who are ignorant and irresponsible.”
Neighbourhood Inspector for Stevenage, Richard Liversidge, said Herts Police is aware of community concern regarding people cycling through Stevenage town centre.
“PCSOs from the Stevenage Neighbourhood Team have conducted numerous town centre cycling operations where they stop cyclists and inform them of how their behaviour affects others in the town centre,” he explained. “We will continue to do this and I would remind people that it is not appropriate to ride at speed in pedestrianised areas, particularly in the town centre where there are many people. I would advise cyclists to dismount and walk through the town.”
A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council said: “The council always encourages people to cycle responsibly and to show consideration for other road users.
“We are currently working on a traffic regulation order for the town centre which will make it clear where cycling is, and is not, permitted, and will also make it easier for the police to carry out enforcement action.