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This sign means NO CYCLING

Cyclists are being reminded of the dangers they pose to pedestrians using footpaths and town centre "no cycling" areas.

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The sign means cycling is prohibited beyond this point. It does not appear on the highway with the words "No cycling". The Highway Code explains a round sign with a red circle means an instruction and an action which is prohibited.

A speeding cyclist can cause serious injury to a pedestrian, especially an older person, and there have been some collisions and close calls recently.

One particular problem area is St Botolph's footbridge over the river. It is used by lots of pedestrians and at busy times can be quite congested.

"And yet some cyclists persist in trying to ride their bikes through the pedestrians, weaving between them. Often they approach at speed from behind. It only needs an unsuspecting pedestrian to alter their course at the wrong time and they can end up being badly hurt, " said Cllr Derek Richmond, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for the town centre, and a cyclist himself.

He said: "Cyclists are to be applauded. They brave the traffic and all weathers to travel in the most environmentally-friendly fashion and help reduce congestion, but they must show consideration for others, especially pedestrians."

Cycling on the pavement is an offence under Section 72 of the Highways Act. The police and community support officers can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50.

Boston Police are to crack down on cyclists ignoring "no cycling" signs.

Police are also alarmed at an increase in bike thefts in Boston and, as part of Operation Cyclone 2, they have urged bike owners to leave their bicycles where they can be seen and invest in a good quality lock and use it whenever they leave their bike.

Always lock your bicycle to something immovable - an object a bicycle cannot be lifted over and cannot be broken, cut or removed. An ordinary street signpost is not considered to be a secure device to lock to - determined bike thieves have lifted a cycle up and over these.

To hammer home the risks some cycle owners are taking, Boston Police will be mounting a "We locked it so you don't lose it" campaign, securely locking unlocked bikes and leaving a note for the owners to report to the police station to have their bike released.

PC Andy Heath, of Boston Police, recommends a D-lock costing £20 to £30. For those who want extra peace of mind some D-locks can be purchased with additional fittings so that the frame and wheels can all be secured.

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PC Andy Heath hands back a stolen bike to its rightful owner. It was recovered after the owner was able to give an accurate description of his bike. Since the theft of the nearly-new bike it has gained a bike basket and a rear mudguard.

He said it made no sense to spend hundreds on a new bike and then buy the cheapest, flimsiest lock to protect it. Where possible, when buying a lock, look for the "secure by design" label.

The police can data-tag your bike, increasing the chances of your bike being returned to you if it is recovered by police after being stolen. A new, improved system to protect and identify bikes will be available soon. It will use microscopic "DNA" which cannot be removed from the bike and will trace it back to the owner's address. Would-be thieves will be warned by a notice on the bike that it has been protected.

Boston Police currently have 50 recovered bikes that they cannot give back to the rightful owners because they don't know who they are.

As many as half of all bicycles are stolen from the owner's home. Always lock your bike at home even when it is in your garage or shed.

Take a note, a photograph if possible, of the frame number and any key details such as make and model. Mark your frame with your postcode in two separate locations if possible, one of which should be hidden. This could also help your bike be returned to you should it be stolen and later recovered by police. The police can provide a "passport" for your bike which guides you through all the pertinent information to be recorded about your bicycle.