Warning over cycle terrors

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A NEIGHBOURHOOD police officer is concerned that children cycling dangerously around shops are “an accident waiting to happen”.

PC Andy Plant, of Hartlepool Police, said he may have no option but to start issuing fixed penalty notices in the Clavering area of town if his warning is not heeded.

He is appealing to parents to make sure their children are riding their bikes safely and wearing helmets around the block of shops.

PC Plant said: “I am concerned about the numbers of young people darting around Clavering shops on their bikes, it is an accident waiting to happen.

“I have been contacted by a number of residents in the area who are also concerned about the safety of local pedestrians, motorists, and the young people themselves.

“Cyclists as young as eight and up to the age of 14 are riding at speed through Wentworth Grove into the path of oncoming traffic as they use the shops as a place to meet their friends.

“Most of the children are not wearing helmets and some have taken the brakes off their bikes as they are using them as stunt bikes and think that the brakes hinder them.

“Children on scooters are riding out on to the road without looking.”

Local residents are also said to be concerned about the youngsters congregating outside the shops and the noise that they make. They also leave their bikes strewn across the pavement.

Clavering Neighbourhood Policing Team has now made it a ward priority to address the issue.

PC Plant added: “Both myself and PCSO Kris Tasker suggest that the youngsters may want to use Rafton Park to meet as the surrounding streets are much safer for cyclists.

“If reaching out to parents doesn’t ease the problem, then we will have no option than to look at issuing fixed penalty notices, which may be given to the child’s parents.

“I’m hoping that parents will listen and take responsibility for the fact that their children are in danger if they continue to ride their bikes like they currently are.”

Bob Steel, chairman of Clavering and Hart Station Residents’ Association, is backing the police crackdown.

He said: “Parents need to be made aware of the problems and dangers their children face so that they can raise awareness to their children.

“Some of the children are still riding their bikes during darkness. Added to this, is the problem that often the bikes are left scattered on the pavement making it difficult for elderly people to walk past, while some find a large gathering of young people intimidating.

“It appears that some children are playing a game of ‘chicken’ by riding at speed out of Wentworth Grove into oncoming traffic to join their mates at the shops, endangering their own lives and others.

“This is dangerous with inefficient brakes and sometimes no brakes at all.”

Anyone wanting to speak with the Clavering Neighbourhood Police Team to discuss neighbourhood issues can call (01429) 235811.