A RETIRED policeman is leading calls for a curb on cyclists plaguing pavements in and around his hometown of Innerleithen.

Allan Johnston raised his concerns at this week's meeting of the town's community council.

Over the past couple of decades Innerleithen and the wider Tweed Valley has become a Mecca for mountain bikers.

Thousands arrive every month to enjoy the Glentress and Innerleithen trails.

But many of the riders are using pavements for getting around.

Mr Johnston told this week's meeting: "I have witnessed several near misses between cyclists and pedestrians and in fact I have been the victim of such a near miss when exiting from my gate onto Peebles Road.

"On one occasion a group of five were travelling down from the Co-op at speed.

"The lead cyclist when confronted by me exiting my gate had to swerve onto the road to avoid a collision only to be then in the path of an oncoming car.

"He then had to swerve back onto the pavement to avoid being struck and as he went around the corner into Traquair Road he did a wheelie and let out a loud 'Whooop'!

"Incidents such as this happen most of the times and are not exceptional."

Over the past seven years in the UK there have been 25 pedestrians killed in accidents involving bikes and another 700 seriously injured.

The owners of the local bike shop have erected signs to remind riders not to cycle on the pavements.

Mr Johnston has already met with local police officers in a bid to prevent Innerleithen adding to the statistics.

And he wants the community council to back his calls for a clampdown.

Mr Johnston added: "The incidence of cyclists cycling on the pavements in and around the centre of Innerleithen has reached epidemic proportions and it is now the norm for cyclists, almost exclusively mountain bikers, in full body armour and full-face helmets, to cycle at speed and in groups of two, three or more, on the pavements, particularly in the areas of the High Street, Peebles Road, Traquair Road and Hall Street.

"My concern is that sooner than later Innerleithen is going to feature amongst the statistics with a fatality or a serious injury on our streets."