CALLS have been made for closer monitoring of a pedestrian-only zone after a cyclist was fined for crashing into and injuring an 11-year-old girl.

Appearing at South Cumbria Magistrates' Court yesterday, 51-year-old David Cottier, of Risedale Road, Barrow, admitted cycling dangerously on Portland Walk at 3.45pm on December 18 last year.

The victim was left with bruises and a chipped tooth, as well as suffering temporary short-term memory loss, the court heard.

The incident in a busy shopping street has sparked calls for tougher enforcement of the restrictions in place.

Peter Bardsley, prosecuting, said: "The girl had just left Goldsmiths with her mother and all of a sudden she was thrown forward.

"The mother checked her daughter was alright and he disappeared, but she found him outside Wilkos so she went to get his details.

"She said he smelt of alcohol and he just seemed to care about getting away to another commitment."

Magistrates fined Cottier £75 and ordered him to pay compensation of £250 to the 11-year-old victim.

He must also pay court costs of £85.

Karen Templeton, defending, said: "He wants to apologise to the girl and her mother for what happened. He disappeared after it because his own knee had come out and he wanted to get some help.

"He had gone round the slight bend and the people in front had veered to the side at the same time he did.

"He knows he shouldn't have been on his bike there in the first place and he very much regrets what happened."

Cyclists are expected to dismount and walk through the Portland Road pedestrianised area.

Simon Craig, chairman of Barrow BID, said: "I see an awful lot of people going up and down Dalton Road and Portland Walk on bikes and in cars, especially early in the morning or late at night.

"It is marked as a pedestrian-only zone so there needs to be some enforcement going on because people will get hurt.

"The signs say no cars, but potentially they should be improved to include cycles and make it clearer."

Cllr Tony Callister, mayor of Barrow, said: "It is of paramount importance to make sure pedestrian-only zones are safe.

"If it is dangerous for people then it needs looking at because there are young children who use those streets and they will be concerned."

The Mail's readers on Facebook have criticised those who break the rules in the pedestrian-only zones.

Janet Bury said: "I don't think cycling at speed in Portland Walk carries any excuse at all.

"A collision or fall for an elderly pedestrian could be fatal."

Dawn Mckellar said: "I'm not surprised. Some of those cyclists speed in Dalton Road with absolutely no regard for the public.

"I have had near misses before and I'm sure a lot of us have.

"If they are going to cycle in town then at least do it responsibly.

"People don't have an issue with cycling.

"It is when they cycle like idiots when there are pedestrians around that we have an issue."

Marilyn Kenrick said: "To be fair we all get told to cycle.

"There are schemes going for workers to cycle to work.

"If they are encouraging this then it is about time there were proper cycling routes and maybe this would avoid things like this happening."