£100 fines for London’s Cyclists

What reward do you get for cycling in London? Well, under new proposals by Westminster Council you could be fined £100 (up from £30) for doing the things cyclists sometimes do.

These include:

  • Jumping red lights
  • Riding on the pavement
  • Ignoring one way signs

 

It doesn’t matter if the traffic light has absolutely no one crossing, or if you don’t take the one way street you have to go down a busy, dangerous road or if you ride slowly on an empty pavement to avoid getting crushed by cars.

Nor does it matter than cyclists cause less than 1% of injuries to pedestrians or that in the past 8 years in London a cyclist has not killed a single person.

Angela Harvey, who is apparently chairman of Westminster’s scrutiny committee and probably not one for creating liveable streets that we can all enjoy, had this to say:

“We’re always getting little old ladies who are knocked down and abused by a cyclist, who leaves them on the ground as they ride away.”

Is it just me who has never seen a “little old lady” run over by a bike? And if it does happen is this really done more by cyclists or by motorists?

The truth is the UK road system is designed around cars with no real regard for cyclists which is why we are forced to “break” these rules. As recently quoted by Freewheeler regarding the campaign to get cyclists to stop at red lights:

‘Dave M’:

‘Stop at Red’ completely misunderstands the problem – rather than campaigning for road laws which accommodate cyclists, they are campaigning to force cyclists to conform to the current laws – which are designed for cars.

Many (although not all) riders who jump lights have simply seen the truth of this, and choose to take responsibility for progressing when it is safe, just as pedestrians do. The elephant in the room is that bikes are *not* cars.

The fact that the law largely requires cyclists to obey “car laws” is a problem which should be addressed by new laws. Pedestrians already treat the ‘red man’ as a ‘give way’ sign, and there is no reason why cyclists should be persecuted for the equivalent. If cyclists are cutting up pedestrians on crossings they should be hit with fixed penalties – but not for jumping lights when there are no pedestrians.

Luckily there has been some progress with trials of allowing cyclists to ignore one way street signs.

Westminster council should be doing everything in its power to encourage cycling not to fine people who choose to brave the London roads. How many more people will be discouraged from cycling after hearing stories about the £100 fines people have received?

I for one am glad I live just outside the Westminster council boundary and while I definitely don’t make a habit of skipping red lights and cycling down one way streets I will be less than happy if I receive the proposed increased fine.

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65 Responses to £100 fines for London’s Cyclists

  1. Adam 07/12/2009 at 1:07 pm #

    At one particular set of lights I have to go through every day, the road forks and the right fork is the main road, the left being a left turn. Few cars ever indicate when taking the left fork. As I go right and have to do so from the pavement side of the road (whether I got there first or wait behind the car that got there before me). I will, one day, get knocked off at this junction by someone who hasn’t indicated thier intention. I would never get knocked off if I jumped the red (safely). What a dilemma. Obey the law and risk getting killed or disobey and survive. Stupidly, I take the first option, but my family won’t like it when I get run over.

    • Heather 23/04/2010 at 3:48 pm #

      Damn straight! You’re speaking good sense here, Adam. (Good post – I’m so happy to have found this blog.)

      On topic: When will people realise that when they start an accusation with the words ‘always’ or ‘never’, they’ve already lost the game?

      Now, what about pedestrians who walk across my path when it’s a green for me and a red for them? This happens to me at very least 2-3 times a day and I can’t recall one incidence where a pedestrian apologised to me for making me have to break really hard. Hitting a pedestrian is going to hurt me almost as much, if not more than it’s going to hurt them.

      This system is screwed up – this £100 fine is over the top. It is tough cycling in the city; we have to deal with every other form of transport – cabs, buses, lorrys, cars, peds and it’s just not right that we’re being demonised. This mob mentality against cyclist is unfounded and deeply unfair and I am sick of it. I will cycle up a one way, if it means avoiding heavy traffic and I will cross a red if it puts me at a distinct advantage. Surely, this is better than more cycle deaths? I’ll bet they cost the city a fortune…

      We really do need to fight this one; this is the thin edge of the wedge.

  2. GB 07/12/2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Westminster Council are using typical rabble rousing techniques to get mob mentallity Britain behind them and out against the target du jour, us cyclists, they wheel out a comment designed to enrage – the little old lady knocked over and then abused – without any statistical backing, no numbers that relate to the ‘always’ she uses, is this the same lady over and over again or multiple old ladies but there is always one on her back receiving abuse?

    I don’t jump lights or ride on the pavement but:

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  3. James 07/12/2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Speaking as a commuting cyclist, the arrogance of the quoted text would make many an angry driver feel justified.

    Cyclists are not above the law. I agree that the laws may not suit and are badly designed, but the solution is lobbying to have them changed – not breaking the law. Those who treat the road rules with contempt merely make other road users less tolerant of cyclists in general. After all, we’d be rightfully scornful of any other vehicle than ran an apparently clear red line and killed a cyclist they didn’t see.

    I have a suspicion Westminster are going for a crowd-pleasing target here rather than doing anything of great value, but they’re merely enforcing long-standing rules. We all know where our MPs are if we’d like to see these improved.

  4. James 07/12/2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Adam – take the lane. You have the full right to occupy an entire lane, and if you’re turning right it’s bloody dangerous to do so from the pavement. It’s much harder for people to turn across you when you’re blocking their path.

  5. purpaboo 07/12/2009 at 1:27 pm #

    As a cyclist who enters the “Westminster” zone every day, I am all for penalising cyclists who ride on pavements, and those who ride the wrong way up one way streets.

    I’m also all for handing out the same penalties to pedestrians who fail to look where they’re going before stepping out into the street! This is the most common type of stupidity on Westminster’s streets, and I see it at least 5 times a day. Just remember, pedestrians, this time it’s just little old me on a bike – next time it might be a silent electric car, and you’ll be dead.

    As for jumping red lights, I’ll always do this where I feel it’s neccessary to get ahead of traffic, but with the proviso that I’ll only ever sail slowly through a set of lights if I could also comfortably jaywalk them as a pedestrian.

    And regarding the actual fine? You’ll have to catch me first. ;-)

  6. Andreas 07/12/2009 at 1:33 pm #

    Adam – I can mention many situations where it is actually safer for me to break the law than to stick to it. When the lights turn green all the cars start racing forward and you don’t have time as a cyclist to really get going so it is sometimes safer to go before all the cars (hense the advanced stop boxes for cyclists that are so commonly abused and also the fact in many cycle friend cities the light turns green for cyclists first)

    James – I see your point about not breaking the rules, I don’t feel like I’m above the law it is just frustrating that the law does not help me much as a cyclist and makes it harder for me. I can’t see any seriously law changes and I know where my local MP is but last time I tried to contact them got 0 response. In 95% of cases I stop at red, don’t use one way etc. I don’t just flout the law for the sake of it. I do think it is important to stop at red so as not to build any hatred of cyclists but at the same time I long for the day that lights turn green for cyclists first which as far as I can see won’t be in my life time!

  7. James 07/12/2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Andreas – I do feel your frustration, and do appreciate your point. What scares me silly are not the sensible cyclists who assess the safety of the situation and use the best tool, but the many people I see who appear to drift through the lights or across the pavement with little regard for anyone’s safety, including their own.

    Let us just hope such laws are applied with common sense, and those who are behaving foolishly get treated from those who are doing what they reluctantly must.

  8. MarkA 07/12/2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Westminster Council have never been the most bike-friendly local authority – this is the Council who, remember, wanted to remove people’s bikes and throw them away without notice unless they were locked to ‘approved cycle parking’.

    I cycle through Westminster every day on my way to and from work. I cycle the wrong way down a one way street because it is far safer than the alternative route. The street in question is almost entirely made up of pubs and clubs and so in the morning is lined with back to back delivery vans – many of whom I see parked on pavements, or double yellow lines. I don’t mind getting caught and paying for a fine for breaking the law so long as there is an even application of the law and all these vans and haulage firms get their fines too….. (I don’t think this is going to happen somehow though) It was on this same road that I came close to being run off the road (whilst cycling the right way down it in the evening) by a Westminster Council recycling van which didn’t yeald at a give way line – I assume they would also get the appropriate fine and punishment?

    All of this is tit for tat of course, but if the Council were brave and intelligent governors of the borough they’d be better spending their time and energy on providing safe cycling facilities (how about more advance stop line boxes and cycle traffic lights?) instead of seeing us as a cash-cow for their populist car-owners appeasement?

  9. Andreas 07/12/2009 at 2:11 pm #

    James – these cyclists that you see powering through the lights are also the ones least likely to be caught by this. The new laws are looking to allow council members to fine people – only a police officer on a bike could perhaps catch up with some of those cycling at speed through capital. The person they are likely to catch is the one that 99% of the time doesn’t go through a red and only does so occassionally as it is actually less risky.

    MarkA – your point about the spending on cyclists vs spending on motorists is very true. I’m not anti-motorists but it is a shame to see how much cash they use up. Westminster council seems to be jumping on the issue without any real figures to back up their claims. You were there at the “cyclists are a menace debate” and we all know the conclusion is we are not menaces! I’m going to speak to my local council member about this and check they are not planning on enforcing in camden council area as that would be a blow for cycling.

  10. tacitus 07/12/2009 at 2:14 pm #

    I’d be most keen to see the hard stats to support the assertions that are being made to support this campaign (little old ladies etc).

    Without those it’s simply BS based on some bureauocrats’ ‘perception’ of a ‘problem’

  11. brompton_owner 07/12/2009 at 3:31 pm #

    While I am ok with fines for jumping red lights – what will happen with the roads I cycle down ever day that have a cycle lane that ends and then becomes a one way road – but with no signage to motorists? Also what will happen to numerous cycle routes that already cross pavements – without clear indications or warnings to pedestrians?

    Surely better signage would help in most of these situations?

  12. Craig 07/12/2009 at 3:58 pm #

    So irresponsible kids knock grannies down when they ride on the pavement – they aren’t going to stop if there is a £100 fine in the offing. Actually, they aren’t going to stop, full stop. They won’t care about the fine and are unlikely to be caught. SO it will be the responsible ones who are using a safer route which also happens to be a low use footpath that will get fined.

    My answer is if you are treated like a car, ride like a car. Sit in the middle of the road at every junction, and make sure that every road user has to drive a 7mph for the duration of your journey. It will soon make the By-law makers rethink street design.

  13. Andreas 07/12/2009 at 4:08 pm #

    @brompton – it probably would, but there is so much signage already all over the place in London. The problem is the councils have tried to build cycle paths so they can say “look we have built x miles of cycle path” but in many cases they have not been built in the key places and the paths themselves are very poor.
    @Craig – lol @ 7mph suggestion

  14. Morgan 07/12/2009 at 4:18 pm #

    So how are they going to catch me when I run a red? (as I do most days to get away from traffic a little early at one particular junction on my commute). What happens if I don’t stop? These aren’t police officers after all so they can’t arrest or detain me right? What if they do stop me (they’ll have to do it physically) and I refuse to show my ID? It’s not like I have a registration plate!

  15. purpaboo 07/12/2009 at 4:27 pm #

    My point exactly, Morgan.

    There’s mostly SFA they can do about it.

  16. thereverent 07/12/2009 at 5:29 pm #

    This must be more about revenue raising than enforcement. If the police fine you the money goes elsewhere, but if its a council warden the council gets all the money.

    I can imagine the enforcement of this being as effective as the enforcement of bike light at my old university. Bloke in yellow jacket steps out, says ‘excuse me’ while the cyclist shoots past. They’ll go for easy targets, as that the only way the council wardens will pay for themselves.

    Also I wonder what appeal procedure is availble if for instance you were on a cycle path which ended in the middle of a pavement (I can think of quite a few in Westminster). Or if you jumped a red as an HGV had pulled up inches behind you (and so you were in a blind spot).

  17. Andreas 07/12/2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Yeah, there is definitely a huge problem of enforcement. Perhaps this is just to scare people – “oh I’ll risk a 30 pounds fine” vs “I won’t risk a £100 fine”
    My friend got fined once and the police were very harsh with their handling. I doubt the none police officers will be anywhere near as able to enforce this.

  18. Angi 07/12/2009 at 10:06 pm #

    There is a one way road that I go up the wrong way on a daily basis…the green ‘cycle path’ actually goes up this road the wrong way. They cannot decide they want to bring in stupid laws and still have these road markings.

    Also in regards to occasionally mounting the pavement…well do we really have any other choice at times? Ignorant drivers are constantly ushering cyclists into the path of parked cars and blind spots…sometimes you just have to mount the pavement.

  19. Angi 07/12/2009 at 10:12 pm #

    @Craig – we have every right to position ourselves in the middle of the road if it means we are seen and safer. It just irritates me when I do so and a driver wants me to eff off because he/she wants to speed along a 20mph road at 60mph.

    Though I do not cycle in the Westminster area so am not familiar with cycling issues there.

  20. Adam Edwards 08/12/2009 at 9:24 am #

    Let me be unpopular by giving you two cases of red light runners nearly causing accidents.

    1)

  21. Adam Edwards 08/12/2009 at 9:32 am #

    Trying again having pressed the wrong key!

    Let me be unpopular by giving you two cases of red light runners nearly causing accidents.

    1) Leaving Vauxhall station carrying my folded Brompton I was crossing on green man at the pedestrian crossing heading for the tube when I was hit (not badly) by a female cyclists on mountain bike. She was going through the pelican when on green for pedestrians, the wrong way down a one way street. Not fun for me, but the bruises didn’t last too long.

    2) Crossing Fleet Street with a blind student I was escorting. The pedestrian crossing is green for us and the tone is sounding so he knows it’s safe to cross. He’s got his white stick out in front to touch the curb and he’s nearly over when a cyclist whizzes through the gap. Far too close for comfort.

    Just imagine the tabloid headlines when there is a serious accident and the cuts in funding for cycle paths, laws on helmets etc that will follow when the politicians then clamp down on us.

    I’m sure many people will dissagree!

    Adam

  22. purpaboo 08/12/2009 at 9:41 am #

    I absolutely agree, Adam. Both are examples where cyclists should NOT have gone through at all, never mind at speed.

  23. Andreas 08/12/2009 at 9:52 am #

    I agree aswell Adam, I think the majority of red light jumping is not justified. There definitely does not need to be any negative press about someone getting hurt by a cyclist. As is so often the case it is the few that make it bad for the many.

  24. winston thomas 08/12/2009 at 12:34 pm #

    Don’t worry about it. It’s illegal for anyone but the police to stop you. Threaten them with obstruction and assualt.

  25. Martin 08/12/2009 at 1:24 pm #

    I suspect this is more about raising money than anything to do with cyclist (bad) behaviours. Westminster has ‘flagship tory council’ written all over it and whilst others London boroughs are raising council tax and cutting services it wants to lead the way. So creative new ways of getting cash out of the general public are being sort out. Motorists are targeted with parking fines and cyclists are just another money raising idea. Best avoid Westminster if you possibly can. If you can’t then don’t flout the rules unless you are happy to fund local services.

  26. purpaboo 08/12/2009 at 1:50 pm #

    “I suspect this is more about raising money than anything to do with cyclist (bad) behaviours.”

    Possibly. But how are they going to catch me?

  27. James 08/12/2009 at 7:56 pm #

    So?

    I’m a cyclist, I’m not above the law.

    Drivers are fined for certain acts, so why not cyclists? Yes the road laws may have 4 wheeled machines in mind. But a red light is a signal whatever size or shape you are.

    Surely we should welcome such measures to discourage bad cycling. (although the fines are likely just another money making method).

  28. James 08/12/2009 at 7:59 pm #

    with regards to Dave M in the article ‘ The elephant in the room is that bikes are *not* cars.’

    Where do we draw the line?

    whats the difference between a electric cycle and a scooter?
    A horse isn’t a car, but they stop at red lights.

  29. thereverent 09/12/2009 at 12:54 pm #

    If the wardens get the powers I expect stories in the Evening Standard about them giving out fines to 6 year olds with stabilizers riding on the pavement. Also wardens making up incidents to fine people to get their numbers up.
    This is based on how parking warden operate in London.

    I’ve already decided no matter what never to stop for them.

  30. Andreas 09/12/2009 at 2:15 pm #

    I just read on the Freewheeler blog ‘84 per cent obey’ red lights ‘16 per cent disobey’ according to TfL research.

  31. Martin 10/12/2009 at 10:19 pm #

    @Andreas: I strongly disagree with you here: “the truth is the UK road system is designed around cars with no real regard for cyclists which is why we are forced to “break” these rules.”

    First of all, we’re not “forced” to break them. Not even slightly. Secondly, why is “break” in quotes? They’re actual rules, some of us actually break them.

    @GB: that’s right, it’s just like the Holocaust. Sheesh.

  32. Century Training 15/12/2009 at 12:56 am #

    It drives me mad. The petty beurocracy that we have to deal with. DFon’t the authorities have better things to do with their time. As urban cyclists it is OUR responsibility to stay safe. It is also our responsibility to ride with care and consideratoion for other travelers whether they are on foot or in a vehicle. frankly I think the less regulation we have the better

  33. marion pavitt 16/12/2009 at 4:21 pm #

    As a life-long driver, I used to be outraged at some of the things cyclists did. However, I have now been cycling to work every day for 3 months about 4 miles through heavy traffic to Chelsea and I have a completely different outlook.

    As a cyclist, I now ride in a way that increases my safety. I occasionally pass through a red light if it is safe to do so, and it will put me in a safer position (particularly if a bus is beside me). To avoid being crushed (again, usually by a bus), I very occasionally mount a pavement, so long as it is not busy, and ride slowly and considerately. I have been known to ride along a quiet one-way street, again if it takes me out of the way of a busy road.

    Since becoming a cyclist, I have been really shocked by motorists’ lack of attention. I regularly have to avoid cars pulling in front of me because they simply haven’t seen me, or because another motorist who also hasn’t noticed me has stopped for them. Then there is the shocked ‘how am I supposed to see a cyclist when I’m busy on my phone’ motorist. There is the ‘it’s far more important for me to squeeze past this bollard that wait 2 seconds for a cyclist’ motorist – really, I could go on and on, and often do!

    However, cyclists who speed straight across pedestrian crossings without looking and mount the pavements and hurtle past pedestrians are giving us all a bad name! We all see it every day. We need to share the roads and make them safe for all.

  34. purpaboo 16/12/2009 at 4:24 pm #

    How do people feel about pedestrians?

    I get nearly knocked off my bike about once a week on average by cars/buses/taxis, but have to take emergency at least 4 times a day to avoid jaywalking pedestrians.

    This is mostly in the Soho/Oxford Street area, where pedestrians don’t even bother to look before stepping out into the road.

  35. Andreas 16/12/2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Marion, thanks very much for your comments, it was really interesting to read from someone who has experienced it both as a motorist and then as a convert into cycling. I like the way you called them the “how am I supposed to see a cyclist when I’m busy on my phone” – you got it spot on! And they say they want to fine us for occasionally bumping up and down a pavement!
    I also agreed that there is those “cyclist outlaws” that give us a bad name and unfortunately are tarnishing what is a pretty squeaky clean image

  36. Headhunter 06/01/2010 at 4:43 pm #

    I agree with Andreas. The road system is by and large designed for bulky, heavy and dangerous motor vehicles. I frequently jump red lights to get ahead of traffic at junctions. I would never “blast” through at full speed, if I go through a red it’s after slowing to walking pace and only if the way is clear. I usually feel safer crossing a clear junction on red than waiting for the typical whacky races at major intersections when the lights go green.

    I may feel less inclined to jump reds if the police ever bothered to enforce the ASL green boxes at junctions, which allow cyclists to safely and legally get ahead of motor traffic at junctions, however they don’t and these are generally blocked by cabs, buses, motorbikes etc. Perhaps Westminster Council could turn its attention to these rather than penalising cyclists.

    Or how about some investment in filter traffic lights at major junctions which actually allow cyclists to move off first? IMO these would be a better investment than pointless cycle lanes which come and go with the wind along the gutter, are usually full of debris and are largely ignored by motorists anyway.

  37. Dan 14/01/2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Without doubt the laws of the road are important and are to be respected at all times. However I place a higher importance on my life and wellbeing and I will ALWAYS take a course of action (occasional RLJing, riding on pavements) if it is the safer option, which it sometimes is, regardless of what the law says.

  38. Tamas 05/02/2010 at 10:45 pm #

    Just for record: got £30 fine for crossing red lights (two of them).
    It happened in Greenwich as I head for Uni in the morning. One of the lights is just before a fork where two lanes come into one: solid block of cars on my side, on the other lane there are 2 cars a bit further then 100metres. Jumped and had clear route until I come across a ped. light: NOBODY there, so jumped again. Got caught in the bicycle park and fined £30.
    I know I should not have cross the red light (Which I never do when I drive) but one of the reasons why I cycle (and many other us ) because it is faster then public transport. I had a strong feeling to actually stop cycling because if I stop at every light (about 30-40 in 3 miles) then I will never get there before the bus or car (which is nicer and warmer in these days). I think it has a very strong discouraging effect for semi-regular cyclist (don’t know if the category exist but if it then I’m in) to cycle on a daily basis.
    I got also a theory of people who believes (in a strong sense) and uses traffic signals tend to be less careful and observant: it is a sort of “green then I go” attitude. A few times happened to people being almost killed on the front of me one as they had their right of way but somebody was “naughty” (a car, never a cyclist).

  39. Andreas 05/02/2010 at 11:02 pm #

    Interesting. Imagine if that fine you got was £100! That would easily have put you off cycling for a long time. I see where you are coming from on your theory of “green so go” and no further thought given. In countries such as Germany after a certain time many of the traffic lights are turned off because they think people can use their common sense. Unfortunately here common sense is often lacking. I also feel your frustration when you are at a red light and there is literally no one around, no one crossing the road, no cars etc. You kinda feel, what’s the point in waiting here? Surely with common sense you can safely cross without anyone else ever even noticing.

  40. Teresa 02/03/2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Purpaboo – amen to that. I’ve been knocked off by a pedestrian deciding to make a run for it across regent street. I’d just turned left onto regent street so wouldn’t have seen her peak through the red buses whilst plotting her move.

  41. Jon Haywood 02/03/2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Im not so sure about the thinking behind lights being there for just cars. Traffic signs are there for traffic be it cyclists or cars etc.

    Pavements I have to say are also for pedestrians….

    As cyclists we should adhere to the laws of the road surely?

  42. Stephen 13/03/2010 at 12:56 am #

    You lot remind me of those kids who couldn’t just wear their school uniform
    and came up with all these elaborate reasons to hide the fact they were just to dumb to realise this was not a fight worth fighting.
    In at 11 out at 16 was always my attitude.
    Spare yourself the grief. Stop tipping at windmills.
    Red means stop.
    Stop. Wait. Get ready to go. Go
    Easy.
    Now when the tanks start rolling down Whitehall thats a reason to skip the lights until then shhh I’m watching Jeremy Kyle!

  43. cyclist and driver since 1970's 20/03/2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Unfortunately a cyclist has managed to kill a pedestrian recently: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8577612.stm (gives no details apart from location).

    I’m not surprised, having seen some cyclists behave in a reckless and aggressive manner for many years. The attitude of some cyclists is indistinguishable from that of angry motorists.

  44. Robin 27/04/2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi All

    There is a worrying trend for populist Councillors to pick on cyclists developing – looking for personal aggrandisment as with all politicos. How many of them actually use a bike?

    Many of the points have already been well made above but let me put another side to the case.

    Personally I consider myself a responsible and considerate rider of many years fairly unblemished experience.

    In London I commuted from Putney up to the City for work everyday. It was a wonderfully liberating experience – pounding up the middle of the Kings Rd bypassing all the log-jammed traffic then screaming – literally around trafalgar square – nail biting stuff.

    The biggest danger came from pedestrians trying to cross roads who simply dont “see” you. You can sense this and I used to shout at them (there’s no time to reach for the bull horn). It worked for me but probably not very nice for them – but I survived.

    What really concerns me today is the inconsiderate cyclist who really is a menace – zebra crossing have been mentioned particularly. If you hit and injure someone whilst illegally speeding across, you are in for potentially serious grief – not just a £30 fine.

    I considerate inexcusable to menace and fail to give way to a pedestrian on a zebra – no contest

    Same with pavements. I often use pavements as its so much safer and they are mostly sparsely used in my county town – now I am retired from working. I ride no faster than say a jogger. My bike is a fold up type with 20″ wheel – highly manouverable and can stop on a dime. If I encounter a pedestrian or any possible difficulty I stop and give way (very important with young kids – you don’t want to hit one of them). People have always appreciated my manner and Ive never had harsh words. So it works for me.

    What doesnt work is the selfish youth on their BMX chopper bikes tearing around on pavements and precincts causing all manner of nuisance and giving us genuine bikers a bad name. At night time they are a serious social menace up to all kinds of mischief and detested by the police – because its difficult to catch them in a panda car.

    Zealous councillors can pick on this kind of behaviour as an excuse for draconian controls on our last remaining freedoms – think of it – compulsory registration, licensing, tax = more jobs for the jobsworth. I remember seeing small registration plates on bikes in Holland?

    IMHO we need a cyclists code of practice to legitimise reasonable use (bit like the highway code when motor cars first hit the highway) with sanctions against improper behaviour as above for example. We need to take the initiative before gov nazis can get hold of it.
    Use of the pavement should be permitted when reasonable to do so but always giving right of way to pedestrians when required. …. and so on

    cheers Robin

  45. philip 31/05/2010 at 1:36 pm #

    i dont get what the fuss is about – there are rules to using the raod – and if you have to stop at a red light whats the problem? if you dont like the rules on the road, just get a bus or walk – i cycle, drive and walk – and took a guy off a bike on the hammersmith roundabout as he went through a redlight and straight in to the back of my corsa – so its a case of follow the laws and you will be safer – nobody ever intends to cause a crash and “he came out of nowhere” is basically “i wasnt looking” so when some fixed gear looney hits theback of your car – its notup to you to be looking for traffic jumping red lights, but it was still up to me to spend £260 having the back end of my car resprayed!

    common sense people

  46. Andrew Gray 01/06/2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Its not just in the capital. Up in Lancashire we have a new road layout. Now I don’t know if I could be prosecuted, but I waited a t a set of roundabout lights for 4 minutes and there was no one around. The lights changed for the other entries to the roundabout, but not mine! It wasn’t until a car turned up next to me that I got the go ahead. It was then that I noticed that the system had the tell tail signs of pressure units under the road, and I wasn’t heavy engough to trigger them!

  47. brodog 15/06/2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Of course cyclists should just be allowed to sail through red light, I am in a hurry to get home & traffic lights, well they are for motorised vehicles only. I ride using a fixed gear bike so NOTHING will prevent me from maintaining maximum momentum if i can help it. When i ride home I am always attempting to my personal best times from the office, this is essential as it keeps me fit & is something to brag about after a few beers before I ride home late at night.
    One way roads, who really cares…I am only going the one way anyway, if pedestrians bothered to look both ways then they will be fine, cycling on the path is fine but i never do it faster than 20 mph……i just need to get home using the most direct route in the shortest time possible, i hope that other highway users & highways agencies can understand this!

  48. Chris 19/07/2010 at 7:17 pm #

    As a disabled pedestrian I am getting rather tired of having my day ruined by cyclists riding on the pavements or shooting through crossings. I have been hit several times and even the near misses cause me severe pain. I have of course been told that this is all my fault – if only you didn’t walk so erratically – commented a cyclist who had just run into me as he tried to sway around other pedestrians. I have been spat on, had abuse thrown at me all for having the audacity to use the pavement. And when you, as cyclists, do decide to come back to have words with me for having pointed out that you have just missed me and it is illegal to ride your cycle on the pavement – please don’t use your cycle to block me against a wall as you direct your tirade against me.

    Those who say that they have no option but to ride on the pavement are missing the point. If you find yourself having to use the pavement you are supposed to dismount and walk your bike – you do not need to ride it.

    Yes, I have a lot of sympathy for the dangers that cyclists face upon the road, and I am happy for my taxes to be spent to make them safer for cyclists, but riding cycles on the pavement will only serve to endanger pedestrians – any claim otherwise is sophistry and selfishness. After all – making the pavements more dangerous will not make the roads safer.

    As I said – I am very happy to have my taxes used to make life safer for cyclists but that might change if cyclists don’t stop thinking only of themselves.

  49. Leesa Pettry 20/08/2010 at 11:36 am #

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  50. Effie 07/10/2010 at 9:09 am #

    How about fines for taxi drivers who don’t care if they pass you by just to stop right in front of you 10 meters later (and if it’s only 10 meters you’re lucky)? Or pedestrians jumping on the street, knocking you off the bike cos they have to catch a bus on the other side of the road? Or maybe cars/buses that even tho there is a cycle lane, they squeeze you to the edge of pavement without possibility to pass? No one fine them for their ridiculous and many time dangerous behaviour. I wish i could fine every taxi driver that behaves like a moron on the street.

    • brodog 05/05/2011 at 10:55 pm #

      Quote Fistme

      ”taxi drivers who don’t care if they pass you by just to stop right in front of you 10 meters later”

      Hi Fistiee,

      You know those things on your handlebars…..no, not the bell which I doubt you actually have …The brakes.

      If you squeeze them then your bike will eventually come to a halt……give it a try some time. If you cannot get your bike to stop in 30ft distance then you really need lessons on how to do it properly.

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  1. “Acceptable and proportionate” | As Easy As Riding A Bike - 06/09/2011

    [...] City Council evidently did not think this was severe enough, proposing the introduction of a £100 fine for cycling on the pavement, or cycling the wrong way on a one-way street (although I am not sure [...]

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