Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury MP in cyclist safety talks

Shropshire's towns are in need of clearer rules and signage on where cyclists can and can't go, an MP has said.


Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has said too many cyclists are flouting the rules and taking to the pavement.

He has called for Shropshire Council to take a "strategic" look at the pavement and road system around the region with regard to the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists, and also called for police to crack down on those riding dangerously where they should not be.

His comments come after the death of Kim Briggs, 44, who was hit while crossing the road in east London last year, have made the headlines as the man who knocked her down has been found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving".

Mr Kawczynski said: "This week we have seen the tragic death in London of cyclist killing someone.

"Also I am seeing large numbers of people cycling on Shrewsbury pavements, sometimes in dangerous way towards pedestrians.

"I have spoken to Councillor Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, about how the council intend to make cycling easier and safer on streets in Shrewsbury with dedicated cycle lanes.

"I have also asked police to do more to enforce the law and prosecute people who deliberately cycle on pavements."

He said he and Councillor Davenport had met up to discuss the matter and take a look first hand at what was happening on the streets of the county town.

Mr Kawczynski said: "This week I approached Councillor Davenport about my concerns and he said that my calling was timely.

"Interestingly, in a short walk around Shrewsbury we saw about 20 people cycling on the pavement, some quite fast and quite dangerously."

He said rule 64 of the Highway Code clearly stated that cyclists must not use cycle on the pavement, but there were exceptions and it could be confusing.

One example in Shrewsbury is an area outside The Gateway Education and Arts centre, opposite the town centre railway bridge on the banks of the River Severn on Chester Street, where a section of pavement is designated for both pedestrians and cyclists.

"We met one lady who said she got a lot of abuse for cycling on that pavement but it has been stipulated by the council that its for bicycles as well," he said.

"There needs to be a much more strategic approach with the demarcation of where pedestrians and cyclists can go, because sometimes if someone is walking by the Gateway the cyclists can come up behind them and want to get by.

"It needs to be more co-ordinated and there needs to be more visible engagement with the public on this," he added.

Kim Briggs was hit by Charlie Alliston, 20, who was riding a fixed gear bike with no front brakes when he ran into the mum-of-two, who died a week later from head injuries.

This week he was cleared of manslaughter but found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving".

Her husband Matthew Briggs is now calling for a change in the law, asking for cycling to be incorporated into the Road Traffic Act with the creation of new offences such as causing death by dangerous cycling, death by careless cycling and causing serious injury.

Councillor Davenport, said: “I completely agree with Daniel’s calls to make it easier and safer for cyclists to travel in and around the county.

“A great deal of work has been, and is being, done to improve facilities and safety for cyclists and pedestrians in Shropshire, particularly in Shrewsbury. I’m keen that we look to do more if possible."

He said the current and planned Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package works aimed to discourage drivers from using the town centre as a through route, making it more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

The ongoing Shrewsbury gyratory system work at Abbey Foregate and recent work to Reabrook roundabout and Meole Brace roundabout include improvements to pedestrian and cyclist facilities and crossings, he said.

He added: “We’re also working to train children to be better, safer cyclists. In April we were delighted to announce that Bikeability cycle training – the new name for cycling proficiency – will continue to be offered free of charge to all primary and secondary schools in Shropshire for the next three years.”