Police called after ‘aggressive’ cyclists leave dog-walker ‘shaken’ in Chesterfield
Police have been alerted about ‘aggressive’ cyclists on a riverside footpath in Chesterfield.
The path in question runs from Holbeck Close to Number One Lock on the Chesterfield Canal.
Despite signage showing the route as a designated footpath and directing cyclists to Brimington Road, dog-walker Andrew Hibberd said some bikers prefer to ‘race along the rough and narrow walkway’.
Mr Hibberd said he has advised ‘dozens, maybe hundreds of cyclists of their error’ in the seven years he has used the footpath – and told how he decided to call police after a case of ‘open aggression’ left him ‘shaken’ at the weekend.
He said: “On Saturday, two cyclists, a man and a woman in their 30s probably, sped on to the narrow iron bridge across the river at the eastern end of the Wharf Lane footbridge over the A61, causing me and my blind dog (the dog is blind) to step hastily out of their way.
“When I politely pointed out that they shouldn’t be cycling along there, they got very aggressive. The man gave every indication that he wanted to fight about it but couldn’t get back to me because he couldn’t get past the woman and her bike.
“I don’t think he was struck by the irony of her mouthing off about it being a ‘f*****g bridleway open to all traffic’ and his inability to get past her because the path was too narrow.
“But the open aggression left me shaken to the point where I felt the need to report the incident to the police and the council.
“I’m pleased that the police have taken it seriously and will be taking what steps they can to stop cyclists from using the footpath, including patrols when possible and liaising with the council for better signage.
“I also asked the Trans Pennine Trail to correct their cycle maps for the area because they showed the footpath as a cycle route, which it clearly is not.
“They have now changed their maps to show the cycle path on Brimington Road, not along the riverside footpath. I can't praise them enough for their immediate action to correct."
Mr Hibberd added: “Most of the cyclists I’ve ‘advised’ over the years have either apologised or at least had the decency to say they didn’t know, and I’ve not seen them again, but there have been times when sanctimonious cyclists – the ‘I’ve got a bike, no rules apply to me’ type – have been extremely abusive to me.”
A Derbyshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “On August 14, we received a report of an altercation between walkers and cyclists on a footpath in Wharf Lane, Chesterfield, which had happened earlier that afternoon at around 2.50pm.
“The cyclists are reported to have been travelling at speed, causing a 62-year-old man and his partner to have to step out of their path. The cyclists, a man and a woman, then became verbally aggressive when the man suggested that they use a nearby cycle path. The male cyclist moved as if to approach the victim, but then rode off.
“Officers are monitoring the situation around the footpath and are keen to hear from anyone with information that may help with enquiries into this incident, reference 21*457445.”