Warning to footpath cyclists after near misses

Alderman Robert Smyth with the cycle leaflets.
Alderman Robert Smyth with the cycle leaflets.

The PSNI need to “get on the beat to finally put an end to the dangers of cyclists using Portadown’s footpaths”.

That was the message from Alderman Robert Smith who claims there have been at least a dozen near misses in the town centre – and three injuries – as cyclist ignore the law and whizz around the pavements.

“Those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “People complain to me regularly, especially as you have all sorts on the pavement – disabled, elderly, children, prams and general shoppers.

“A minority of cyclists don’t seem to care about their recklessness. I know that an elderly man was knocked down at Edenderry, a man leaving a local bakery had his shopping knocked out of his hands and another woman was missed by inches. There is also the problem of cyclists bombing from the footpaths to the roads and panicking motorists.”

Mr Smith has been instrumental in persuading the council to print a ‘cycling guidance’ pamphlet in six languages – including Polish, Portuguese and Lithuanian – and help the council team to distribute thousands across the borough.

“That’s fine as far it goes. The PCSP partnership came on the project with other agencies,” said Mr Smith. “But now it needs the back-up of police on the beat, enforcing the letter of the law on a face-to-face basis to get the message across. This behaviour is unacceptable and downright dangerous and pedestrians have had enough.”

The public is asked to report incidents to the PSNI on the 101 number. The pamphlet, backed by the police, quotes from the Highway Code – “It is illegal – except where there is a marked cycle track – for anyone aged 10 and over to cycle on a footpath.

“All road users – vehicles, pedestrians alike – have a duty to respect the rules outlined in the Highway Code, to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.”