Councillors’ appeal to cyclists to take care

CARNOUSTIE councillor Helen Oswald has recently received numerous complaints about both adult and teenage cyclists riding their machines on the footpaths.

And she says that the problem is becoming so acute that it is a matter for discussion at many of the community meetings she attends.

The dangers are, dare we say it, obvious, with cyclists pedalling at speed on footpaths and pavements used by every age group for the proper purpose - to walk on.

Elderly pedestrians have little or no chance to get out of the way and small children are equally vulnerable.

In last week’s Guide & Gazette, Bob Duncan highlighted the danger of cyclists changing from pavement to road and back again.

He said: “They come out of side streets in front of you and one of these days one of them is going to be killed or maimed.

Another matter causing concern at the moment is cyclists without lights. With the darker mornings and evenings upon us, it is imperative that cyclists ‘light up’ for their own safety and that of others.

Councillor Oswald told the Guide & Gazette: “If you put the two issues together and get cyclists on the footpaths without lights, you can see the real potential for serious accidents and injuries.”

She went on: “I appreciate that the majority of cyclists are responsible, but there is a sizeable minority who need the reminders. Some of these are paper boys and girls so I would urge their parents and employers to make sure they have lights on their bikes.”

She has asked the local police inspector to ensure that her officers are pro-active in dealing with both of these matters.

Councillor Brian Boyd added: “The problem of people cycling on footpaths has been growing over the last few months.

“I have had constant calls and e-mails on this topic. Probably more than anything else. This will only get worse as we head into darker nights and mornings.

“As I left my surgery at the Public Library only last night I saw the local police stopping two children without lights and on the pavement. It was good to see this being dealt with.”

He continued: “I have had a conversation with Sergeant Steven Smith at the local police station. All the High School children have had talks at assembly to warn them, not only about cycling on paths, but lack of brakes, lights and helmets. It seems the education has taken place - now the enforcement will start.

“All parents have also had letters about this matter too, so I hope they take notice and reinforce with their children the problem of cycling dangerously on pavements.”

Councillor Boyd concluded: “It so worries me that parents would allow their children to go out on cycles without brakes, lights or helmets. Only last month the son of close friends had a nasty accident which involved hospitalisation and emergency operations.

“Goodness know what the outcome would have been if he had not been wearing his helmet. It is frightening that other accidents are just waiting to happen and let’s hope it won’t take the death of a child or pedestrian to make parents realise they must send their children out with the best safety information and precautions.

“Someone will be living with the sad consequences if they don’t.”

The situation has become so serious in some towns that Tayside Police have put out a warning to cyclists (see story on page 17).

Inspector Grant Edward, head of the road policing unit in Angus, expressed his alarm at the frequency of calls police have had about erratic and inappropriate cycling.

He went on: “We have received reports of young people putting themselves at very real risk of serious injury or even death, as a result of their erratic cycling behaviour on the area’s roads network.

“These cyclists are a safety danger not only to themselves, but also to other road users. I urge our young cyclists to take heed of our public safety concerns and ride safely and responsibly.”