Rogue cyclists in Cheltenham - big brother is watching you
CAMERAS will be set up around Cheltenham to keep an eye on cyclists.
Shire Hall bosses are installing the machines later this year as part of their efforts to tackle problems between bike riders and pedestrians in the High Street and the Promenade.
The areas are currently no-go spots for cyclists but are still regularly used by the two-wheelers.
And in just 15 minutes, the Echo was able to snap seven cyclists riding along The Promenade, including people doing wheelies.
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Now the county council is stepping in to monitor the issue in the hope of finding a solution.
The video survey will not start until September – nine months after highways chiefs first agreed to look at the issue.
Under the plans, cameras will be fitted to lampposts and seats around the town centre although the exact number and locations are yet to be decided.
Filming will take place for a week from 7am until 7pm. And the council admitted it would not be using the footage to catch cyclists breaking the bye-laws.
Police claim it is too difficult to enforce the current ban.
They believe allowing cyclists to use the pedestrianised areas would mean they can concentrate on the rogue cyclists.
Chris Riley, local highways manager, said: "We are currently carrying out further surveys of bike movements in the town centre.
"Once we have this information, we will be able to consider potential options for a future scheme."
Among the ideas being considered are maintaining the ban and enforcing it or designating a cycle route through the middle of the pedestrianised area.
Disabled groups have spoken out against the second option, claiming it could lead to blind and deaf people being injured by cyclists. Andre Curtis, of Gloucestershire Cycling Forum, said it was time the debate over the cycling ban was dealt with by officials.
He added: "The authorities have been talking about this for years.
"It is frustrating that it has been going on for so long.
"I can remember it being decided to allow cycling on the Promenade when it was originally pedestrianised until someone changed their mind at the last minute.
"They need to press ahead with this survey as soon as possible now."
Mr Curtis said the current system simply lead to confusion for everyone involved.
"Most of these areas have vehicles using them anyway," he said.
"It is somewhat inconsistent that someone can drive a truck into these areas but not a bicycle.
"It is just confusing at the moment as some of the pedestrian areas have no ban but two sections do."