Pavement cyclists targeted by police in Canton, Cardiff
- 9 July 2012
- From the section South East Wales
Police have begun a "zero tolerance" crackdown on cyclists using pavements in parts of Cardiff.
But transport campaign group Sustrans Cymru says Cardiff is "significantly worse" than many cities for bikes, and says cyclists often find roads hostile.
The seven-week operation, which will run one day a week in Canton until 31 August, could see cyclists receive £30 fixed penalty notices if caught.
South Wales Police say they share local concerns about potential injuries.
It is an offence under the Highways Act to ride on a pavement in the UK.
Lee Waters, national director of Sustrans Cymru, said the statistic comparing the Welsh capital with other cities was revealed in a major survey which looks into travel behaviour.
It is part of the Welsh government's personalised travel planning project, which is a partnership between Sustrans and SocialData.
"In Cardiff, it's significantly worse than most British cities," said Mr Waters.
"We know that there's great potential in Cardiff. The conditions are ripe but there's evidence to show we've got a long way to go to make it attractive to most who don't walk or cycle."
Cardiff council has a cycle network called Enfys, and he acknowledged a lot of good work was being done to making cycling better.
But he said that as more people took up cycling they could find conditions "frightening, hostile and unwelcoming".
"That may go some way to explaining why they use the pavements," said Mr Waters. "They may find it safer to go on the pavements.
"If they feel unsafe they may withdraw from the situation.
"But people shouldn't cycle on pavements and that should be enforced along with parking on cycle lanes, driver behaviour and bike thefts.
"I would hope the police take an equally vigilant attitude to these."
Acting Sgt Gerallt Hughes from the Canton neighbourhood policing team said residents and councillors in the area have raised concerns about cyclists on the pavement.
"Residents said they have encountered cyclists using the public footpaths on a daily basis particularly on Cowbridge Road East which is clearly a very busy commercial street, congested with pedestrians.
"We share their concerns that somebody could get hurt soon and in response to these concerns we have began an awareness and enforcement campaign."
There were 118 cyclist fatalities and serious casualties along with 403 more slightly injured on the roads in Wales last year, according to figures released by the Welsh government.
Last month, about 100 cyclists took part in the fifth nine-mile Cardiff World Naked Bike Ride as part of organised protests over the dangers cyclists face on the road.