£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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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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65 Responses to £100 fines for London’s Cyclists

  1. noone 03/05/2011 at 3:13 pm #

    i drive, cycle and ride a motorbike and traffic laws are in place for all three of these you cant jump a red light just because it is clear no more than i can on a motorbike or in my car! the attitude of cyclists is shocking in London, there should be a test as there is with every other road going vehicle. Every bike should have a number plate and be subject to the same fines everybody else is.

    Just this morning a cyclist completely cut me up on my motorbike whilst he was shouting at a bus driver behind him for previously cutting him up! Instead of getting on with it and watching the road. Also at the time, no helmet, no hi-viz, no protective gear at all, just a bad attitude and shocking road sense!

    • thereverent 05/05/2011 at 9:47 pm #

      Cyclists are subject to the sames fines, these proposed ones are higher.
      Scooter riders have to take a test, a regestration plate and insurance and still hugh numbers of them can’t ride or obey the rules of the road.

      • brodog 05/05/2011 at 10:47 pm #

        quote thereverent

        ”Scooter riders have to take a test, a regestration plate and insurance and still hugh numbers of them can’t ride or obey the rules of the road”

        And cyclists do not have to take a test, do not have a registration plate, insurance is optional and still great numbers manage to ride around like lawless twats.

        At least the motorists are accountable for their crimes.

        You dug yourself a real deep hole there chap, lmfao!

        • thereverent 05/05/2011 at 11:34 pm #

          None of which make anyone more or less accountable for breaking of the law.
          A test, registration plate and insurance don’t improve behaviour on the road, as witnessed by looking at the cars, motorbikes, white vans, minicabs etc.
          All road users can be fined.

          Interesting:
          http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=brodog

  2. brodog 06/05/2011 at 12:38 am #

    quote thereverent

    ”None of which make anyone more or less accountable for breaking of the law”

    A test in theory should improve standards, insurance improves the chances of reinbursement, a registration plate ultimately leads to greater accountability via traceability.
    As you state ‘all road users can be fined’ but cyclists are not traceable unlike dvla registered motorists.

  3. Kam 11/05/2011 at 1:44 pm #

    The entire british road system remains largely safe when road users follow the rules, and therefore behave in a predicatble manner. By assuming other road users follow the rules, you can turn your attention to other aspects of driving. There simply is too much information to process continually, if you have to expect that anyone may do anything at anytime. This system applies to all road users and pedestrians crossing the roads.

    I occasionally drive a car in central London, and especially during rush hour, the constant weaving and unpredictable actions of cyclists makes driving extremely difficult. Buses and lorries have a much harder time because they have several blind spots, require much larger turning circles and are harder to stop quicklly. But buses and lorries, in my experience, almost always bahave predictably. Many times I see cyclists cycle alongside a lorry that is either turning, or is about to, because they see an opportunity to make progress themselves, not showing any consideration to others on the road.

    I may have more sympathy than most, because I myself hold amotorcycle, car, and PCV driving licences,.and I understand the difficulties each face when driving in traffic.

    Cyclists need to follow the rules like everyone else, to help them remain safe on the road, and when they don’t they put their own safety at risk since they are the most vulnerable in a collision. They are all too quick to blame anyone else for the accident, when in fact it shouldn’t have happened because the cyclist shouldn’t have been there at that moment. Sure there are bad drivers, but not as many as the cycluist would like you to believe. I think stricter regulation for cyclists and fines when they break the rules would make London a safer place for all.

    Incidentally I cycle to work everyday in central London, and hold many London cyclists in quite low regard.

    • brodog 11/05/2011 at 4:58 pm #

      Great post Kam,

      If we all stick to the rules/regulations then that should be sufficient to safeguard all road users.

      Lets face it. Those whom choose to flout the regulations are the real cause of concern here.

    • Mark S 18/11/2011 at 1:07 pm #

      Sorry this post is completely wrong IMO. I cycle every day and the ONLY way I feel safe is to assume that other drivers and cyclists will do something unpredictable. So I check every sidestreet, every car door and assume every driver/cyclist is likely to cut across me. If you think drivers are predictable you must be driving with your eyes closed – have you seen the number using phones, texting and applying their makeup?!

      And as for this “Cyclists need to follow the rules like everyone else, to help them remain safe on the road, and when they don’t they put their own safety at risk since they are the most vulnerable in a collision. They are all too quick to blame anyone else for the accident, when in fact it shouldn’t have happened because the cyclist shouldn’t have been there at that moment”

      My friend was hospitalised for seven months by a driver on the phone who hit him and drove away – I suppose that was his fault by your logic? Fines should be the same for all and applied consistently, for all.

      • kam 19/02/2012 at 2:08 pm #

        Mark, I think you missed my point. It would be safer for everyone, if everyone followed the rules and behaved predictably. I’ve driven a fair amount abroad, where no one follws the rules, and consequently everyone has to drive a lot slower whilst anticipating everything. However in the UK, the stricter rules allow for faster pace, and when someone does something unexpected, they increase their own risk. There is nothing contentious there.

        I’m sorry to hear about your friend, and car drivers on phones are a menace, and the police don’t show them much tolerance rightly. A percentage of people break the rules, and as in this case, cause an accident. My logic remains intact on this point too.

        However, it remains true, that too many cyclists cause problems for themselves, from what appears to be a completely selfish desire to make progress.

        Incidentally, I don’t cycle with my eyes closed, and I don’t believe it is always someone elses fault.

  4. Chris 19/06/2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Well, for once the Germans have it right! There are dedicated bike routes that are shared with the pavement, at times. Although I ride extremely fast, I run the risk of injury daily as cars no not always give way. I now have to cycle defensively and anticipate dangers as we all should. However I am contemplating creating a situation where a car hits me as I am up for this compensation rule. The injuries will be bad back, headaches…etc… and the question is: Deal or no Deal? Id obviously deal with an offer of 30K !!!

  5. Arnaud 30/10/2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Hackney seems to be a cheaper borough to be fine!
    http://www.bealondoner.com/en/blog/melinda/i-just-got-a-fine-for-cycling-through-a-red-light-damn

  6. Mark S 18/11/2011 at 11:44 am #

    Fines should be the same for all road users, except where blatantly nonsensical ie a crime that a bike user couldn’t commit (and vice-versa). The problem is that public pressure means cyclists are more likely to be fined for jumping a red light than a motorist would be for, say, using a phone. (Which in my view is a money-making exercise, if the police really want to stop this dangerous, potentially lethal practise, why not a £1000 fine?)
    I see idiot cyclists with no helmet, texting, no hands on the handlegrips, jumping red lights. I also see idiot road users opening doors, cutting left across me, deliberately driving too close, texting, phoning and putting on makeup. ALL road users breaking the law should be dealt with the same way, with the same penalty, and consistently. Is this just a pipe dream?

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