A four-year-old girl was left deeply upset – after a police officer told her to stop riding her bicycle on a pavement.
Sophie Lindley was said to be riding her purple bike – complete with stabilisers – to school by the side of a busy road when a police car pulled up.
Her father, Dale Lindley, was next to his daughter when the officer told her to dismount. “The policeman said she can’t be riding on a pavement, it’s breaking the law. At first I thought he was joking, but he looked deadly serious.”
The 35-year-old added: “You must be kidding. Do you want me to make her ride on the busy road. It’s rush hour?”
Still convinced the toddler was posing a serious threat to pedestrian safety, the officer replied: “Look, she must get off the bike and walk and I’m going to sit here and make sure you don’t put her back on it. If you do, I’ll confiscate the bike.”
The policeman then watched Mr Lindley carry the bike for a mile to a school in Grantham in Lincolnshire, with his daughter crying for the remainder of the journey.
Sophie’s mother, Emma Stephenson, could hardly believe the story. She admitted riding on the pavement is illegal, but said: “You can’t expect a four-year-old to ride in the road, it’s not exactly safe. And she has the lead and wears a helmet.”
Lincolnshire police is unsure which officer was involved and is investigating. A spokesperson for the police force stated: “Cycling on the pavement is illegal. But common sense prevails in the case of young children.”
Roger Geffen of the Cyclists’ Touring Club charity said the officer was wrong: “The police officer has forgotten that children under the age of 10 are below the criminal age of responsibility so they can’t break laws and can technically ride on the pavement.”
“Everyone lets their children ride on the pavement. It is perfectly normal and not criminal,” he added.