Warning as motorbikes speed on Guild Wheel

From left, Marcus Johnstone of Lancashire County Council, Peter Ward and Councillor Robert Boswell of Preston Council with the new Guild Wheel Plaque
From left, Marcus Johnstone of Lancashire County Council, Peter Ward and Councillor Robert Boswell of Preston Council with the new Guild Wheel Plaque
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Motorcyclists riding at high speed are plaguing Preston’s flagship Guild Wheel by using it as a racetrack.

Regular users of the 21-mile greenway claim it is only a matter of time before someone is injury by motorbikes speeding along stretches of the route.

A motorbike on the Guild Wheel. Photo: Michael Cowell

A motorbike on the Guild Wheel. Photo: Michael Cowell

Michael Cowell, from Grimsargh, near Preston, snapped this photo of two riders ‘flying past’ as he made his way home from work.

Today he said: “This problem needs highlighting before someone is killed.”

The 46-year-old took the photo after a motorbike whizzed by him as he rode alongside the River Ribble, not far past the Shawes Arms on London Road, Fishwick, heading towards Brockholes. Police says they are aware of the problems and the man who was instrumental in devising the track, Peter Ward, says any motorbike riders using the Guild Wheel should be prosecuted.

Michael said: “I travel almost daily from Grimsargh to Alstom on Strand Road via the Guild Wheel and see motorbikes most days.

“No helmets, no licences and, I’m guessing, no insurance. There are gates to stop them coming on but they are not working.

Michael says in the past he has seen police recovering motorbikes from the Guild Wheel.

Chairman of the Guild Wheel user group Peter Ward added: “It’s not built for motorbikes, it’s built for pedestrians.

“It’s like a motorcyclist riding on the pavement – it’s likely to cause somebody a serious injury.”

However, he added: “People getting up to no good is a rarely reported situation compared to the thousands who use it quite happily.

“The more people who use the Guild Wheel, the less of this unsocial behaviour we will get.

“You hear about these lads on motorbikes once in a blue moon when put into perspective with the amount of people who use it every day.”

Peter added: “Anybody who spots this kind of thing should contact the police and the council.

“People, like the man who took the picture, should send it to the police so they can identify those responsible.”

Peter said plans are being made to try and Tarmac areas of the Guild Wheel which are gravelly and attract motorbike riders.

The Guild Wheel was opened in 2012 and is used by cyclists, walkers and families on a daily basis. It is a 21-mile greenway around Preston.

The route is popular with walkers and cyclists, and the Evening Post has previously reported that the route had become a magnet for racing cyclists.

Deepdale councillor Terry Cartwright, who often walks the Guild Wheel, slammed the actions of the motorcyclists as “selfish”.

He added: “It’s a problem on certain locations, its not all the 21 miles where you come up against motorbikes but particularly down by the river.

“On the Guild Wheel you know there’s going to be cyclists but you don’t expect a motorbike.

“You can’t be at ease and it could be dangerous. It’s selfish and they don’t think about anybody else but themselves.”

Fishwick councillor Martyn Rawlinson added: “The illegal use of motorcycles on fields, back roads and pathways seems to have really kicked off over the last month or so.

“It’s causing a real problem; one of the biggest is the noise to neighbouring houses.

“It’s become a real problem in Fishwick in the last month.”

Sgt Mike Sampson, of Lancashire Police, said: “We have been made aware of the issues on the Guild Wheel cycle track, and it should be said that motorbikes, ‘mini-motos’ and motorised scooters should not be using the cycle track.

“The safety of our residents is our highest priority, and so we are currently working with the council’s Environmental Health team to deal with this issue, as well as similar issues we have been made aware of in Brockholes Wood and at the nature reserve.

“The use of motorised vehicles on a cycle track is not acceptable, and anyone found to be doing this risks having their vehicle seized and scrapped.

“Furthermore, the police are also launching a motorbike operation across the city of Preston.

“As part of this operation, officers will be patrolling in and around Preston, and we will also be visiting known offenders to warn them about their conduct.”