Police have launched a clampdown on cyclists illegally riding on pavements across Blackpool amid growing fears they are an accident waiting to happen.
Officers stopped 25 people for cycling on the pavement during the first day of an operation being carried out on Whitegate Drive.
And following concerns raised during Police and Community Together (PACT) meetings for residents in the resort’s Talbot ward, police will be targeting the area throughout the month.
PC Steve Jones, community beat manager for Talbot, said all 25 people were warned they face a £100 fine if caught again and offered a place on a council-run cycling course.
He said: “Elderly people on Whitegate Drive have real concerns with people pedaling down there as fast as they can – it’s an accident waiting to happen.
“Rather than coming down on them like a ton of bricks, I genuinely think education is the best way forward.
“We could go straight for enforcement but I think a lot of people don’t understand the issues around what we are doing.”
He said part of the problem is a lack of awareness and people feeling unsafe cycling on the roads. The free course, run by Blackpool Council, offers people the chance to boost their confidence.
Coun John Jones, the council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We constantly get queries and complaints about the problem of cycling on pavements.
“This is illegal, can be dangerous and often leads to incidents and near misses with pedestrians.
“One of the most effective ways we can try and help the problem is by helping cyclists to develop the confidence to ride on the roads.
“We’re pleased to be working with the police to promote this – it’s a practical, pragmatic approach to the problem.”
Dave Blacker, Talbot PACT group chairman, praised efforts to educate cyclists, adding: “This has been an issue for three or four years. It’s good to see the police responding to priorities set by the public.”
For details about the course, starting in the new year, call (01253) 476330.