Multi-lingual ‘no cycling’ signs will be put up in Boston to stop confusion over the rules in the town centre.
Police and council bosses believe that although the commonly used sign with a bike in a red circle indicates it is banned, the absence of a diagonal bar across the picture of the bicycle has often caused confusion to visitors from overseas.
They say that some foreign nationals have misunderstood the sign to mean ‘cycle path’.
Officials say there have been a number of collisions and close calls in Boston recently – with St Botolph’s footbridge pinpointed as a particular problem spot.
Coun Derek Richmond, a cyclist and town centre portfolio holder at Boston Borough Council, said: “Some cyclists persist in trying to ride their bikes through the pedestrians, weaving between them. Often they approach at speed from behind.
“It only needs an unsuspecting pedestrian to alter their course at the wrong time and they can end up being badly hurt.”
Coun Richmond added: “Cyclists are to be applauded. They brave the traffic and all weathers to travel in the most environmentally-friendly fashion and help reduce congestion, but they must show consideration for others, especially pedestrians.”
Cycling on the pavement is an offence under Section 72 of the Highways Act. PCSOs can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 and police say they will crack down on the offence.
Police are also alarmed at an increase in bike thefts in Boston and, as part of Operation Cyclone 2, they have urged bike owners to leave their bicycles where they can be seen and invest in a good quality lock and use it whenever they leave their bike.
Officers have urged people to lock their bikes to something secure and will mount a ‘We locked it so you don’t lose it’ campaign, securely locking unlocked bikes and leaving a note for the owners to report to the police station to have their bike released.
PC Andy Heath, of Boston Police, recommends a D-lock costing £20 to £30. For those who want extra peace of mind some D-locks can be purchased with additional fittings so that the frame and wheels can all be secured.
He said it made no sense to spend hundreds on a new bike and then buy the cheapest, flimsiest lock to protect it.
For £4.50 the police can also data-tag your bike, increasing the chances of your bike being returned to you if it is recovered by police after being stolen.
Boston Police currently have 50 recovered bikes that they cannot give back to the rightful owners because they don’t know who they are.