‘Just 15 cyclists were fined for riding on Hackney’s pavements last year – police should do more’
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
“Hipsters” are menacing the pedestrians of Stoke Newington by tearing down the pavements at high speed on fixed-gear bikes – that’s the belief of Stokey dad Vishal Vora.
What’s more, though cycling on the pavement is illegal, police in Hackney hardly ever hand out penalties for the offence – just 15 were issued in the entire borough last year.
“It’s becoming increasingly hazardous,” the father-of-two told the Gazette.
“The roads are fairly quiet in Stoke Newington. I understand that there are more children out and about but it should be enforced – there should be a campaign reminding people.”
Mr Vora, 35, said it was “only a matter of time” before someone was seriously injured as a result of riders on narrow pavements and said police should stop and fine more people for the offence.
“When I was a child I used to cycle on the pavement until I was 11 or 12,” he said, “but now you have adults cycling on the pavement and they think it’s completely normal.”
He added his toddler daughter had once been grazed by a cyclist riding on the pavement.
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The penalty figure was higher in previous years, with 84 penalties issued in Hackney during 2013 – but in Stoke Newington High Street, where Mr Vora says the problem is at its worst, there was 12 penalties dished out that year, dropping to three last year. One of the offenders was fined after riding directly outside Stoke Newington police station.
“The one-way system doesn’t help,” Mr Vora conceded, “but there’s no real excuse for it.
“Maybe people don’t know it’s a criminal offence because they haven’t been stopped, but cyclists are a bit of a law unto themselves. They have a fairly bad reputation, especially in Hackney.”
Mr Vora, who describes himself as a “motorcyclist, scooter driver, driver and cyclist”, added: “If I behaved in my car or motorcycle the way cyclists behave daily, I would be banned from driving.”
In all, 147 fixed penalty notices have been handed out across Hackney for riding bikes on the pavement since 2013. The data were disclosed following a Freedom of Information request by exasperated academic Mr Vora, who has lived in Stoke Newington for a decade.