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Charity, Disability Watford, raises concerns over 'dangerous' cyclists through The Parade
Disabled and elderly people are being endangered by cyclists zipping around Watford High Street while building work is going on, a charity has said.
Disability Watford has called on police to enforce the traffic order banning cycling while the £4 million regeneration of The Parade is taking place to protect vulnerable pedestrians.
Leigh Hutchings, chairman of the Watford charity, said police officers had been spotted not intervening as cyclists flouted the order.
He said: "Watford Borough Council said it is the police’s problem but there was a PCSO standing there on the telephone the other day and cyclists were cycling past no problem.
The problem is getting worse and worse. I want anyone to have a crackdown on it.
"The elderly, the disabled, anyone who is not capable of getting out of the way of a cyclist is in danger."
His concerns were echoed by Martin Ramirez, 61, of Stratford Road, who said: "It is dangerous. People just don’t take notice (of the signs) as they know there is no one stopping them.
"They say there are signs but there is no one enforcing the punishment element."
The Parade is currently undergoing a large reconstruction and building work will be going on until next year.
In April Watford Borough Council issued a Traffic Order banning cycling in The Parade as the works began.
However this week police said they only had limited powers under the order to intervene if cyclists did not dismount.
Sergeant Simon Mason of the Watford Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team said: "We are aware of the concerns raised by a resident about cyclists in The Parade.
"On the whole the majority of cyclists are cautious of pedestrians when riding, or will dismount.
"Cycling on a pavement is only an offence if that pavement is next to a road, which is not in this case so our powers are limited. However we can issue tickets to cyclists who are rising in a dangerous or careless manner and will take robust action when we witness this activity.
"We are looking to conduct an assessment with Watford Borough Council to determine whether there are any issues here and if anything more needs to be done for the safety of pedestrians."
Angela Farrance, a council spokesman, added: "During the improvement works, cyclists are being asked to get off their bikes when travelling through sections of The Parade.
"Signs have been put up by our contractor, where the parade has been temporarily narrowed, and we would urge cyclists to pay attention to them. Any cyclist that doesn't dismount is basically committing a traffic offence, which is a police matter.
"The Parade is being transformed into a car-free, shared use space for cyclists and pedestrians. It's important that all visitors using the space do so considerately. We all have a responsibility for the safety of others we are sharing space with, especially in a busy town centre.
"We spoke to lots of residents last year as part of the consultation on The Parade, and removing the road, making it car-free and de-cluttering the area were among the most popular proposals."
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