Charles Clarke says more needs to be done to make Norwich safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
16 November 2009 06:30
Norwich MP Charles Clarke has called on council bosses to provide a properly planned network of cycle routes in the city, after hearing first hand accounts of crashes and near misses caused by bicycles being ridden on pavements.
Cyclists who mount the city’s pavements were raised as the main grievance at a meeting at a public meeting held by the Norwich South MP.
Families told Mr Clarke how cyclists were zooming past them on pavements and a number of people said they had been struck by them.
Tim Townshend, who lives in Newmarket Road, told Mr Clarke: “I regularly get almost mown down by cyclists. Could you invite the police to enforce the law and would you consider primary legislation so bicycles would have ID numbers like registration plates and cyclists to have insurance cover, details of which they would have to provide if stopped?”
Mr Clarke said: “I am not sure I am in favour of licensing cyclists and am much more in favour of supporting cycling routes. If you look at European cities in places such as Holland and Germany you see pedestrians and cyclists going about their business separately.”
He said his understanding was that police were cracking down on cyclists on pavements, but dissenting voices claimed they had seen cyclists ride past police officers without them taking action.
One man at the meeting said the reason cyclists rode on the pavements was because roads such as Newmarket Road and Ipswich Road were too dangerous for bicycles, with speeding cars.
Last week the Evening News reported how Cameron Spencer, 44, from Earlham Road spent more than three weeks off work and on painkillers after he was knocked down by a cyclist riding on the pavement.
Mr Spencer said: “I walked out of my gate and just felt an impact. I felt a shooting pain down one leg. I had no recognition of the bike until it hit me. I was on the floor and the guy came off his bike. I was in excruciating pain. But he didn’t seem very bothered and just disappeared.”
Police caught almost 200 cyclists riding their bicycles on the city’s pavements or cycling without lights in the Earlham Road area after the West Centre community policing team launched a crackdown because people said the problem was getting so bad.
Mr Clarke said he felt the city council and the county council had not got to grips with the issue and said: “I have argued consistently that Norwich needs a more integrated transport system. I believe there needs to be separate cycle routes and that on the big arterial routes it is possible to do that.
“I believe in roads such as Newmarket Road and Ipswich Road to have much more cycling there than there currently is at the moment, although you might have to take away some of the grass verges. We always back off and say it is too difficult to do and change never happens.”
The meeting, which took place in the Vauxhall Centre on Friday night and was attended by about 40 people, also heard complaints about rat-running motorists in Mount Pleasant, absentee landlords and cars parking on pavements in the Golden Triangle.
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