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Safety fears over reckless cycling in Maidstone and Aylesford

By William Janes

A horde of youths risked their lives and the safety of others as they rode through the streets on bikes directly towards oncoming traffic.

Shocking footage posted online showed more than 100 youngsters riding recklesly on Maidstone and Aylesford's roads on Saturday, June 15.

One rider, wearing a camera, captured countless near-misses with motorists and pedestrians as they tore around at high speeds and performed dangerous stunts.

Video: One rider recorded a point-of-view video of the chaos

At two points the irresponsible cyclists are seen taunting police officers as they rode past.

Members of the group also swarmed McDonald's on Hermitage Lane and were denied service before arguing with staff.

Police ordered the group to disperse. People in the area took to social media to voice their anger.

"That's awful, no regard for any sort of safety of the drivers, how can they think this is okay," said one.

More than 100 youngsters took to roads in and around the county town causing traffic mayhem
More than 100 youngsters took to roads in and around the county town causing traffic mayhem

"No respect for anyone I hope their parents are proud of their behaviour," said another.

Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said: "A large number of constituents contacted me about this incident and having now seen the footage myself I can completely understand their concerns.

"I have been in touch with the Police Commissioner about this but it is not just a policing matter. Clearly someone is going to get hurt if these youngsters continue with this behaviour but with videos like this going viral, and kids making money from them as ‘influencers’, it needs a more holistic approach from all partners to tackle this before a tragedy happens"

A point of view video shows one rider cycling straight towards a bus
A point of view video shows one rider cycling straight towards a bus

Acting Chief Inspector Stuart Paul, Kent Police's district commander for Maidstone, said: "We want young people to enjoy riding their bikes while getting some exercise, but they must do this in a safe and responsible way and be considerate to other road users and pedestrians.

"My officers were called about a group of cyclists riding antisocially around Maidstone. We issued a dispersal order covering the town centre and gave the group of around 100 youths words of advice.

"I would like to remind anyone seeking to cycle in this manner that we have recently seized bikes where pedestrians have been put at risk, and in some cases they may be committing a criminal offence.

Cyclists rode recklessly through Maidstone and Aylesford, often into the path of oncoming traffic
Cyclists rode recklessly through Maidstone and Aylesford, often into the path of oncoming traffic

"I would urge young people in Maidstone to use the purpose-built bike and skate area in Millennium Park. It is designed to be a safe space for cyclists and skateboarders to use without endangering the town's residents or visitors."

Despite the advice from police, a similar event has been arranged for Sunday, June 30 when riders are set to meet outside County Hall.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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