Easy Target?

by Some Fella   September 17, 2012  

I hope the local dibble are showing the same diligence when dealing with drivers who park cars on pavements and, for that matter, on bike lanes?
And are they dishing out as many fixed penalty notices to drivers who cut cyclists up or put them in mortal danger every day?

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1588902_hundreds-fine...

*WARNING* - if you are having a good day do not read the comments section below the story. The MEN attracts more than its fair share if half wits and mouth breathers.

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I don't have a problem with it per se, although today in Manchester in about 20 minutes I've seen;

2 x minicabs parked illegally (one in the mandatory bike lane just before Sainsburys in Fallowfield - it means cyclists will need to join the main traffic lane here before crossing the junction - not always easy/safe. and the other by the pub just after again, dangerous as it forces cyclists out into the path of traffic - the cab would also be screened from sight by busses picking up here).

Across the road, a truck (in the LGV sense) bumping onto, and driving along (for a short distance) the pavement before Blackwells, presumably to make a delivery.

I daresay the usual litany of mobile using drivers, and red light jumping cars (Fairfield St. / London Road is particularly bad for this) could be recited too, had I bothered to look out for them.

I know which offences I'd consider most dangerous, and prioritise, (and it's possible, I guess, that enforcement is ongoing of driving offences too) but hey, what do I know.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

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posted by John_the_Monkey [414 posts]
17th September 2012 - 14:01

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If they break the law so be it, no one is above the law. I'm sure common sense will come into it but as usual the gutter press paint the wrong picture.

In the last year i have handed out dozens of tickets to vehicle users why dont they write about that ? I wont hold my breath. Angry

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2528 posts]
17th September 2012 - 14:54

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I took the bait unfortunately. See the comment by 'Batfink' on the third page for my rant. Honestly, judging by the knuckle-draggers who post on there, I'm surprised I manage to survive riding a bike in the Mcr area.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2693 posts]
17th September 2012 - 15:41

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Stump, as cyclists I reckon we are all grateful for your efforts as an individual plod to bring bad drivers' behaviour to their attention. However, I think John the Monkey's point is that we rarely see GMP perform any operations on bad driving that particularly affects cyclists in Manchester.
It's not as if it would be difficult or futile. There are particular areas where selfish driver behaviour puts cyclists at risk - Rusholme for dbl parking and risk of getting doored; Fallowfield for a cycle lane with a solid white line and dbl yellows routinely blocked by parked cars.
How hard can it be for a local police service to use local media to launch an operation against such behaviour by drivers and state why it puts cyclists in danger?

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posted by Joselito [122 posts]
17th September 2012 - 16:12

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Joselito wrote:
Stump, as cyclists I reckon we are all grateful for your efforts as an individual plod to bring bad drivers' behaviour to their attention. However, I think John the Monkey's point is that we rarely see GMP perform any operations on bad driving that particularly affects cyclists in Manchester.
It's not as if it would be difficult or futile. There are particular areas where selfish driver behaviour puts cyclists at risk - Rusholme for dbl parking and risk of getting doored; Fallowfield for a cycle lane with a solid white line and dbl yellows routinely blocked by parked cars.
How hard can it be for a local police service to use local media to launch an operation against such behaviour by drivers and state why it puts cyclists in danger?

I agree with your points however i'm sure the local cops will say double yellows etc etc are covered by traffic wardens which are now run by the local council and not us. As i said though i agree with your points and its not that hard to set up a quick op order. Mind you GMP is a massive force with a hell of a lot of local problems so dont hold your breath Big Grin

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2528 posts]
17th September 2012 - 16:22

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I had 18 months as a lollypop man after I retired. It very boring for much of the time so I used to observe what passing drivers were doing.

In the mornings 1 in 10 were on hand held 'phones, others were shaving/applying make-up/reading/eating and/or drinking. One man in a van passed at the same time each day eating from a large cereal bowl in one hand with a spoon in the other.

I suggested that the police liaison officer should join me to watch the cavalcade and was told that it was pointless as they would take no action unless there had been an accident.

I also had several incidents of drivers ignoring the 'stop' sign, including one who drove around stationary traffic via the footpath.

Eventually a child was clipped by a non stopper, not injured as it was just the sleeve of her coat that was hit. There were witnesses and we submitted a report to GMP. No action was taken and I resigned.

Sorry Stumps, but my impression is that motorists can do what they want in Manchester unless they cause injury or death.

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posted by Crosshouses [148 posts]
17th September 2012 - 23:00

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I'd argue that the police forces around the country, and particularly in metropolitan areas, are already pretty stretched and after losing front line officers as a result of the coalition cuts they're even more stretched than before.

They just don't have the capacity to deal with 'non-serious' crime as much as we, and most likely they, would like. Unfortunately traffic police seems to have been easier for forces to cut than beat officers, serious crime, drugs and other high profile areas. It's also likely that the 'why don't you catch proper criminals' attitude of the public towards traffic police has helped make that decision easier for the forces to implement. If you're going to have to cut an area of your force, it's easier to cut the least popular one.

It's difficult to criticise the police (my dad's a policeman) in this because in most cases they do the best job that they can. What officers they have are targeted in areas that either a) require it most or b) are most likely to have a long lasting effect. Sadly traffic incidents that don't result in serious injury or death fall outside both of these as they're a lower priority for forces and any action the police take isn't likely to have long lasting effects when the general culture of driving is so poor.

posted by drheaton [3378 posts]
18th September 2012 - 9:04

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drheaton wrote:
I'd argue that the police forces around the country, and particularly in metropolitan areas, are already pretty stretched and after losing front line officers as a result of the coalition cuts they're even more stretched than before.

They just don't have the capacity to deal with 'non-serious' crime as much as we, and most likely they, would like. Unfortunately traffic police seems to have been easier for forces to cut than beat officers, serious crime, drugs and other high profile areas. It's also likely that the 'why don't you catch proper criminals' attitude of the public towards traffic police has helped make that decision easier for the forces to implement. If you're going to have to cut an area of your force, it's easier to cut the least popular one.

It's difficult to criticise the police (my dad's a policeman) in this because in most cases they do the best job that they can. What officers they have are targeted in areas that either a) require it most or b) are most likely to have a long lasting effect. Sadly traffic incidents that don't result in serious injury or death fall outside both of these as they're a lower priority for forces and any action the police take isn't likely to have long lasting effects when the general culture of driving is so poor.

all that being the case, why bother with pavement cyclists?

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7130 posts]
18th September 2012 - 10:36

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To be honest, having read the article it doesn't sound like a 'crack down'. More like the MEN making a big thing out of a small number of fines handed down in 2009(!). 251 people fined in an area as large as Greater Manchester over a whole year isn't a particularly large number. That's less than one person a day in an area which covers 493 square miles and is home to 2.68 million people (thanks Wikipedia). Sounds like the MEN were looking to do a follow up story after reporting on one woman's 'campaign' and embelished the facts slightly. Either that or they have an axe to grind against cyclists.

posted by drheaton [3378 posts]
18th September 2012 - 11:12

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posted by Some Fella [644 posts]
18th September 2012 - 14:48

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Hmmm. Like a good little fish, I took the bait again. I'm thinking though that the MEN have merely worked out that cycling stories invite numerous comments, driving their ad revenue.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2693 posts]
18th September 2012 - 15:13

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notfastenough wrote:
I'm thinking though that the MEN have merely worked out that cycling stories invite numerous comments, driving their ad revenue.

I think you're right. After re-reading the original piece it really is a non-story. There are no figures for years after 2009, no attempt has been made to get a comment from the Police about their 'crackdown' and there's nothing in the piece AT ALL to back up their arguement that the number of fines has recently increased (how can they prove it with three year old figures?!).

The fact that there is no comment from the Police is the biggest issue, surely if they were actually cracking down on pavement cycling and had had some success they'd want to shout about it but no, not a peep, so I doubt this is a crackdown so much as just the normal level of fines being handed out consistently to dangerous cyclists rather than just anyone seen on a pavement.

However, the MEN have clearly got something right as we've all gone and read the story and plenty of people have commented.

The article isn't journalism, it's practically an opinion piece designed to get people riled up.

posted by drheaton [3378 posts]
18th September 2012 - 15:24

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I've just heard that 2 police officers have been killed in Manchester - makes me feel rather small minded for complaining about traffic offences.

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posted by Crosshouses [148 posts]
18th September 2012 - 15:51

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