Woman, 96, fears being 'knocked flying' by town centre cyclists

Audrey Foster fears being knocked over by cyclists in pedestrianised parts of Dereham town centre

Audrey Foster fears being knocked over by cyclists in pedestrianised parts of Dereham town centre - Credit: Archant

A woman in her 90s says she fears suffering a serious injury caused by anti-social cyclists in Dereham. 

Audrey Foster is among those who say they have come close to being knocked over by cyclists in pedestrianised areas of the town. 

Chapel Walk in Dereham town centre, where cycling is not permitted

Chapel Walk in Dereham town centre, where cycling is not permitted - Credit: Archant

While Mrs Foster, 96, has not been knocked down herself, she has had a number of near-misses. 

On one occasion, her bag was ripped by a passing cyclist who was pedalling on the pavement in the Market Place. 

"I feel in danger as I walk around town because you don't hear these bikes coming," said Mrs Foster. "I'm not so good on my feet these days and I don't want to end up in hospital.

"A few weeks ago I was speaking to a lady outside Iceland and this bike whooshed straight by me. The woman riding it had a child on the back and any one of us could have been hurt. 

Audrey Foster, from Dereham, fears being knocked over by cyclists in pedestrianised parts of town

Audrey Foster, from Dereham, fears being knocked over by cyclists in pedestrianised parts of town - Credit: Archant

"Not half an hour later, another man on a bike came within inches of me. 

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"What I've got to emphasise is that this is not only youngsters, but grown-ups as well."

Asked what needs to be done, she added: "We need bigger notices telling people to get off their bikes, and we need police to catch them in the act.

"I'm absolutely sick of it and fed up with being nearly knocked flying. It is so frustrating."

Andy Sullivan at Norski Noo's Gallery in Dereham

Andy Sullivan at Norski Noo's Gallery in Dereham - Credit: Archant

Andy Sullivan, who runs Norski Noo's Gallery off Nunn's Way, said countless customers had mentioned similar issues. 

"You should not have to worry about being mowed down while walking through the town centre," he added.

"There is no doubt this has become a real issue and, ultimately, it comes down to respecting each other."

Paula Gilluley, community engagement officer for Breckland, urged worried locals to raise the issue at Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) meetings.  

Nunn's Way in Dereham town centre

Nunn's Way in Dereham town centre - Credit: Archant

“Norfolk Constabulary takes all forms of anti-social behaviour seriously, including concerns over cycling around pedestrian areas," she said.

"Cycling on pavements has previously been adopted as a SNAP priority. 

"I would encourage people to report concerns around this issue. Our SNAP meetings are the perfect place for people to discuss concerns with police."
The next Dereham SNAP meeting will take place from 7pm on October 12 at Breckland Council's office, Elizabeth House.