Blanket ban on cyclists in town centre could soon be lifted

Riders on the start line in Mansfield town centre for last month's Tour Of Britain cycle race. (PHOTO BY: Chris Etchells)
Riders on the start line in Mansfield town centre for last month's Tour Of Britain cycle race. (PHOTO BY: Chris Etchells)

The controversial blanket ban on cyclists in Mansfield town centre could soon be lifted, says the council.

The ban was implemented last year by Mansfield District Council in the form of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) and applied to the pedestrianised zone around the Market Place. Those caught flouting it have been fined.

However, it met with strong opposition from cyclists, who mounted a legal challenge earmarked for the High Court. The council was also accused of double standards last month when hosting the Tour Of Britain bike race in the prohibited area.

Now the council has promised to review the ban by reducing it from 24 hours to between 6 am and 7 pm, and it is seeking the opinions of the public over further changes in a consultation period during the next month.

“The consultation sets out our proposals to keep the town centre safe, inviting and enjoyable,” said Coun Bill Drewitt, portfolio holder for safer communities. “We want all our residents to feel safe when visiting or shopping. Therefore, we would like as many people as possible to have their say so that we can consider changes to the PSPO.”

The initial reason behind the ban was to stop so-called ‘anti-social cycling’, whereby youngsters on bikes were racing through the town centre at busy periods, alarming shoppers, especially the elderly.

But the campaign group, Cycling UK, blasted the decision, accusing the council of exceeding its powers. “They are effectively saying all cycling is anti-social.” said the group’s spokesman. “But why not just deal with those being stupid and responsible cyclists, instead of arbitrarily banning a legal activity?”

Copies of the proposed changes are on view at the civic centre, Mansfield Library and Clumber House. Comments can be made via a survey on the council’s website before October 26.