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Authorities must clamp down on serious misuse of 'Belfast Bikes' before someone is hurt or killed

letter of the day: cycling dangers

While I unreservedly condemn the recent stealing and destroying of 'Belfast Bikes', as reported by the Belfast Telegraph, I am not impressed with the level of praise being heaped upon this scheme with no reference to its downsides.

These bikes, among many others, are becoming an ever-increasing nuisance in the city centre, being ridden - 'raced' would be a more accurate description in many cases - on footpaths and inside the pedestrian-only zone.

This has become a huge problem well beyond the city centre, but where bikes belonging to Belfast City Council and funded by the taxpayer are concerned, it is a disgrace that this situation is allowed to continue unchecked.

I have also noted these bikes being ridden in the wrong direction along one-way streets and it can only be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured, or killed, as a result of this reckless behaviour.

For those of us with eyesight or mobility impairments, the situation is becoming intolerable. Indeed, I would go so far as to call it a form of harassment, as one is always in fear of being struck when out and about.

Yet, to the best of my knowledge, neither Belfast City Council nor the PSNI are doing anything about it - despite many people being aware of the problem. As far as I am aware, there are no warning notices about such actions on these bikes, or on their docking stations.

I have recently raised this issue with the council and my local MP, both of whom have not as much as bothered to acknowledge my correspondence. But neither has heard the last of it.

I have also made a complaint to the PSNI in the city centre and they have promised to be more proactive in stopping and cautioning offenders. Whether this is in any way effective remains to be seen.

So, Lord Mayor Brian Kingston and Belfast City Council, go after those who steal your bikes by all means, but please put as much effort into apprehending those who misuse them to the detriment of others.

EVAN BINGHAM

Belfast

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