CAMPAIGNERS have said a plan to hand out fines for cycling 'dangerously' in the city is "completely sending out the wrong message."

Worcester City Council wants to introduce a public space protection order (PSPO) for the city centre which would mean £100 fines could be handed out to anybody seen aggressively begging, feeding gulls or cycling or skateboarding dangerously.

Dan Brothwell, chairman of city cycling campaigners Bike Worcester, said introducing the measures would create a barrier to more people cycling and sent out the wrong message.

"It's fascinating that the city and county talk about their proactive travel and are pro-cycling but then are talking about instigating this," he said.

"The area it is covering is taking in the canal and the riverside, which are designated cycling routes, and the enforcement becomes massively subjective. I'm sure there might be pedestrians that will be passed by a cyclist and the perception is they are cycling dangerously whereas the cyclist might say 'well, I'm not cycling dangerously.'

"I just think it sends completely the wrong message. It will be a barrier to more people cycling. People will think twice about cycling through these areas and I just despair."

The council has finally launched a four-week public consultation asking for views of residents on the draft PSPO after several delays, the latest of which was brought on by the coronavirus lockdown.

Disagreements between councillors over the wording of the PSPO have led to months of delays and the document has been rewritten several times.

The city council has said it would not take a zero-tolerance approach to the PSPO – particularly with aggressive begging – and fines and prosecution would only be used as a last resort.

Passionate cyclist Tom Piotrowski said he thought the measures were over-the-top and unnecessary.

"My first impression is that the language is so extreme and is completely getting the wrong end of the stick. I think the tone is not great," he said.

"It's not only about cycling but feeding gulls and the aggressive begging. It seems so one-sided and Draconian. We don't seem to hear much of action to increase the safety of cyclists.

"I completely disagree that there is not enough measures already in place to deal with this. I think there are plenty of tools for the council and police if it is needed.

"For people who choose to walk or cycle through the city centre, how is this helping?

"It seems to just be over-the-top."