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PEDAL POWER: Police and Sustrans illuminate safe cycling
LAST time we ran a story about police cracking down on anti-social cycling on our Pedal Power page we came in for a bit of stick.
The Guardian launched its Pedal Power campaign to encourage and inspire our readers to cycle, so it is an overwhelmingly positive campaign.
However, this does not mean we should shy away from articles that tackle the downsides of cycling, like potholes and complicated gyratory systems, or from acknowledging that some bike riders do not cycle safely.
We want to encourage safe cycling, not just cycling.
And a Northwich Police campaign to reduce anti-social cycling has not only got our vote, but the votes of young people in Weaverham who prompted the action.
YOUNG cyclists have been sticking torches to their bikes in a bid to be visible at night.
Their DIY solution comes in the wake of a Northwich Police campaign to reduce anti-social cycling.
Police officers launched the campaign of education and enforcement in Weaverham at the start of this year following complaints about bikes being ridden on pavements and bikes being ridden without lights.
PCSO Mark Howard said: “Our message about lights has definitely got across because we’ve seen torches sticky-taped to handlebars.
“They’re scared that they’ll get into trouble so they’re going to any lengths to get lights on their bikes.”
The campaign, which is being rolled out across the Northwich area, is an unusual one in the county.
PCSO Howard said: “A lot of hard work has gone into getting it off the ground because we’ve not really done anything like this in Cheshire before.
“Kids not riding their bikes with lights isn’t something we’ve had a really big problem with before.
“It about getting both sides to meet in the middle.
“We want people to get involved in cycling but we need to make sure they’re doing it lawfully, safely and they’re not going to have their bikes stolen.”
The latest part of the campaign involved PCSO Howard and PCSO Andy Taylor working with Sarah Diamond, from Sustrans, who is being funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) to increase sustainable travel in and around the Hartford campus.
The trio were giving away bike lights and locks and offering advice about cycling safety and bike security at an event at Mid Cheshire College that was open to anyone from the campus.
PCSO Howard said: “If young people are sticking torches to their bikes with sticky tape it’s better than nothing.
“We’re not encouraging that method or condoning it but it’s nice to see that they’re trying to do their bit.
“And if they do that then we’ll meet them halfway – they’ve shown they’ll use the lights so if we can provide free lights then they’ll use them properly.”
Sarah, from Sustrans, said the giveaway session had been busy with students from Mid Cheshire College, pupils from Hartford Manor Primary School and parents picking up lights and locks to keep their children safe.
“It’s a nice incentive and a nice way to say thank you to people who ride their bikes already,” she said.
“Cycling in Northwich is definitely increasing.
“Coming in today at 2pm I would normally see one other cyclist on the road but there were about seven.
“There’s a lot more people.”
The next stage of the police campaign will be a illumination-themed Ramp Riders event in the playground at Weaverham High School.
Police are hoping to have more bike lights to give away at the event, from 5.30pm to 7.3opm.
Insp Paul Loughlin, from Northwich Police, said: “I’m very pleased with how the campaign has come together and the work that the police and partners have undertaken.
“Cyclists around Northwich and especially Weaverham have been keen to work with us and are becoming much safer cyclists.”
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