Leaflet warning of £50 fines for pavement cycling in Northampton sparks Twitter backlash - from Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine

TV and radio host Jeremy Vine was among the people to reply to the tweet.
TV and radio host Jeremy Vine was among the people to reply to the tweet.

A police officer's leaflet warning cyclists of the fines people can face for riding bicycles on the pavement in Northampton created a Twitter storm, with a former Stictly Come Dancing star weighing in.

On Monday, Councillor Rufia Ashraf (Lab St James) tweeted a picture - of her and a PCSO - to push a new campaign to prevent people avoiding the road on push bikes.

The leaflet reminds anti-social riders they can face fines of up to £50 for using the pavement.

But neither could have foreseen the debate it was about to generate among cycling enthusiasts - with close to 100 people including Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine responding to the social media post.

The debate show host, wrote: "On the pavement, one person dies being hit by a cyclist for every 108 killed by vehicles."

"Labour seriously, why are you wasting time and money on this instead of enforcing speed limits?" Wrote @georgebernhard.

The leaflet doing the rounds in St James.

The leaflet doing the rounds in St James.

"So tandems and folk with kid seats are in trouble ? N'importe quoi!" added @yorkie_brompton.

The issue the commenters had was that, although cycling on the pavement can lead to a £50 fine, police officers are advised to use discretion where people have used the path to avoid dangerous sections of road.

While most commenters felt the police were wasting time on the initiative, Councillor Ashraf said she was merely trying to raise awareness of the issue in St James and even said she had seen a woman hit by a bicycle herself two years ago.

She said: "There is a lot of pavement use around the town generally, she said.

"This campaign by a PCSO is really about trying to protect people who are cycling as well as the pedestrians.

"I think a lot of the people who tweeted took it out of context."

The Northampton Green Party concurred with the general Twitter dissent however.

Steve Miller from the Green Party, said: "Of all the traffic problems in Northampton, and St James in particular, it is baffling that the police think it's a good use of resources to go after cyclists.

"Cyclists generally try their best to be considerate of other road users and pedestrians, and if they do use the pavement, it's usually because they feel that it would be dangerous for them to stay on the roads.

"While the Green Party would always encourage cyclists to have regard for the welfare of pedestrians, I can't blame them for feeling persecuted while the police are circulating leaflets warning them of a £50 fine, and the fact that the leaflet is inaccurate beggars belief.

"I call on the police to withdraw this leaflet."