Action is needed now to curb antisocial cyclists

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Many of you will be aware of the tragic story of Kim Briggs, 44, who was hit and killed by a cyclist in London as she stepped onto a road. This court case was in the headlines for many days. However, you may not be aware of the tragic story of Mary Evans, 73, who was hit by an anti-social cyclist in Hereford on the 30th of July 2014 in their pedestrianised shopping area. She died as a result of head injuries after 9 days in hospital.

This recent tragedy has prompted me to raise, yet again, an issue that has existed in Crawley for many years and needs to be tackled now. With the Queens Square works finally nearing their completion, all of the fencing will be coming down and once again we will face the blight of irresponsible and inconsiderate people riding their bikes through our town square.

A year or more ago at a meeting when I suggested we fine cyclists for riding through Queens square, I was met with a very aggressive response from a senior Labour Councillor (and cycling activist); ‘We will NOT be fining cyclists!’ he said.

I have shouted at many cyclists to get off their bikes as they race through Queens Square, over the years as nobody should be riding their bike there and someone could get badly hurt. A fall for an elderly person can be a life-changing event or even fatal. A grown adult on a bike running into a small child doesn’t bear thinking about.

Nobody should be riding their bike through Queen’s Square or the Martlets and it is time we tackled this problem once and for all. As a cyclist myself, I am all for encouraging responsible cycling in the right places, but when it comes to anti-social cycling, Crawley’s Labour run council appears unwilling to take any action.

Our renovated Queens Square should be a place where people can relax and shop without having to worry about being hit by someone on a bike and it is the responsibility of Crawley Borough Council to act, now!