Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bobbies on Bikes?

Down to London yesterday with the Chief Executive to give a presentation to the Transport Minister on our progress with the Cycling Demonstration Town initiative.

We were able to give good news about developments in Darlington, with rising numbers of people using bikes around the town. Projects such as that linking the town centre and South Park, which I blogged on below, are now well underway.

It was also interesting listening to progress from the other 5 towns allocated cash. In several, the Councils are working with the Police to get officers out of Police cars and onto bikes. This means they are better placed in town centres to chase and apprehend crminals who also use bikes to get away - there's a good example of this in Southend. They also set an example too, of course, of good ridership which serves to promote cycling more generally. It's a virtuous circle.

I learned after the meeting that Durham Constabulary are out of step again, apparently refusing to introduce the initiative on "health and safety grounds." I can't imagine what those would be - I hope they reconsider and we will continue to raise this with them.


Mike said...

"They also set an example too, of course, of good ridership which serves to promote cycling more generally."

I've heard all sorts of tales of bike police riding on pavements, and seen it myself in Manchester, so I wouldn't be too sure of that. Just as the police seem able to park on zig zags at pedestrian crossings while they go into a pizza shop...

Durham police seem to be entirely anti-bike, with their comments on bikes in the Pedestrian Heart (I know they were just one officer's opinion, but he felt able to express it) and their objections, usually on health and safety grounds, to any suggested changes to the cycling infrastructure in the town at the cycling forum.

I have seen CSOs in Darlington on bikes. Presumably they're immune to the health and safety risk which will endanger the police?

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks for reminding me about CSO's Mike - I'll pass this on to the Chief Executive.

Best wishes,


Mark Burton said...

I have often wondered if anyone has carried out studies of the social impact of many a generation ‘warned-off’ from the use of pushbikes.

Right from an early age you were frowned upon for riding your bike on a footpath, given a third degree if you had no lights and had absolute no place on a road.

It’s a good thing to see that attitudes towards alternative methods of travel are changing now, but it will take generations to change the trend.