Home
Man was using GPS phone app to try and find a quicker route home from work

 

It almost goes without saying that there’s a reason cyclists aren’t allowed to ride on motorways: being close to vehicles thundering by at 80mph isn’t exactly safe or fun. So you can imagine the surprise of the Surrey police officers this morning called to investigate reports of a cyclist riding on the M25 between junctions 12 and 13.

Just before 9am this morning, @SurreyRoadCops tweeted: “Currently awaiting a cyclist seen on the M25 between 12 & 13. CCTV watching him on the hard shoulder. Should be with me very soon.”

About 50 minutes later came the next instalment: “Cyclist stopped and after a long conversation he has been safely removed with his copy of his ticket for £50.”

It turns out the male rider — no other details have been released — was trying to find a quicker route home for his daily commute. He was using the GGPS mapping on his mobile phone to find his way.

“A male was looking for a shorter route to cycle home from work,” tweeted @SurreyRoadCops. “Phone app sent him on motorway so thought it ok.”

For this chap it seems, to nick a phrase from Douglas Adams, GPS apps are definitive; reality is frequently inaccurate.

‏@HushLegs pointed out that it was probably a genuine error.

“Genuine mistake I'm sure but could have stopped at bottom of slip road! Most children know not to stray onto a motorway,” @SurreyRoadCops said. “Nice chap but unaware of the rules of the road. Believed it ok to ride/walk on hard shoulder, struggled to see why not.”

With the rider out of harm’s way, the cycling Twitterati and the police saw the funny side.

@GavinCritchley tweeted: “Name? 'Wiggins'. First name? 'Bradley'.”

@SurreyRoadCops said: “No Sir Bradley would have been going faster than the cars.”

Roger Smith suggested the rider was “probably the quickest moving vehicle on that stretch.”

“Not today at that time,” @SurreyRoadCops “the opposite carriageway a different story.”

Despite the signs warning cyclists to stay off, riders do from time to time stray on to motorways. In March last year, police stopped a cyclist who was riding along the hard shoulder of the M5, and heading in the opposite direction to traffic. In June, police escorted a female cyclist off the M1 near Milton Keynes.

Perhaps the most celebrated instance of cyclists inadvertently ending up on a motorway came in 2002, when two members of the Kenya squad training for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester used the M61 to train.

Dressed in national kit, they spent three quarters of an hour riding along the hard shoulder before being stopped by police, who treated the episode as “a genuine mistake” on the riders’ part.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

30 comments

Avatar
Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

What a pillock, sounds so innocent and the fuzz believed it all!
Durr!

Avatar
notfastenough [3719 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The light lines on the pic make it look like the trffic moves at speed. On the M25. Ha!

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1612 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I think I probably said this previously... but over to the left hand side of the hard shoulder you're further away from the traffic than on a normal A-road, and the gradient will not exceed 5%. Sounds a pretty good place for a cycle path to me  1

Avatar
Saratoga [42 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Odd how motorists driving the wrong way on motorways or dual carriageways frequently just get a telling off, but a cyclist gets a fine. I know which is more dangerous. See here and here for just two examples this year.

Avatar
Tom Amos [236 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

If only the police showed the same enthusiasm for fining motorists in cycle lanes and other driving offences.

Avatar
seven [154 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Oh god we will never hear the end of this from the motoring loons.

Look! See! Stupid cyclist! Each and every one of them is only seconds away from causing carnage on a scale never before witnessed! Two wheeled terrors! It's the bikepocalypse!

Avatar
congokid [307 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Gizmo_ wrote:

over to the left hand side of the hard shoulder you're further away from the traffic than on a normal A-road...Sounds a pretty good place for a cycle path to me  1

Before CSH8 was painted on Grosvenor Road and Millbank, and motor traffic had two lanes in each direction, I was regularly overtaken with inches to spare by cars doing around 70-80mph, racing each other to get to the next lights. They might not do much for cyclists in general, but on that particular stretch of road the superhighway offered some benefit.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1568 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well no reason why motorists should have a monopoly on mindlessly following a GPS!

One day the satellites will malfunction and a good proportion of the population will dutifully drive/cycle (or even, perhaps, walk) into the sea, never to be seen again.

Avatar
Doctor Fegg [147 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I've sometimes idly thought how useful it'd be to convert short stretches of motorway hard shoulder to (fully protected) cycle lanes. Take Tewkesbury, for example: the M50 crossing of the Severn, and the M5 crossing of the Avon, are the only ones for miles. Providing a cyclepath here would be a great boon; and given that 'Managed Motorways' have proved that hard shoulders are dispensable in this age of more reliable cars, there's no reason not to.

But it'd never happen.

Avatar
nbrus [330 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The hard shoulder is perfect for club runs ... loads of room and still leaves plenty of space for faster moving traffic to overtake.  39

Avatar
oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Gizmo_ wrote:

I think I probably said this previously... but over to the left hand side of the hard shoulder you're further away from the traffic than on a normal A-road, and the gradient will not exceed 5%. Sounds a pretty good place for a cycle path to me  1

Only that the hard shoulder is the most dangerous part of a motorway. Physics again (though its a moot point with cycling safety). Motorways are safe because in general everything is going in the same direction and at the same (ish) speed. The hard shoulder is the exception because on it things are stationary. Ipso facto closing speed reduces the time to react, increases the net velocity of impact.

ie if you are driving at 50mph say slowing down as you approach stationary traffic and get rear ended by something that doesn't stop in time ie doing 70mph you've been rear ended at a net 20mph.

If you are sat on the hard shoulder and get hit by something doing 70 then it's the full 70 I'm afraid.

I used to go skydiving at Uni. There was an adage used when novices equated height with being more dangerous. It isn't being too high that you have to worry about, it's being too low. Same on a motorway within reason. Being stationary or travelling slowly at the back of slow moving traffic is the most dangerous position and speed to have. Likewise doing 15mph on the hard shoulder is pretty dangerous.

Avatar
Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

One motorist is reported to have said:

"I was keeping an eye out for him, because I heard it on the radio. You didn't notice him until you were right up close to him. He came out of nowhere. No-one could react to him until you were almost on his backside".

The cyclist was wearing a black rain jacket.

Avatar
MrGear [86 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Riding on the hard-shoulder of the motorway illegally is probably safer than riding legally on many A-roads and dual carriageways.

Avatar
andylul [410 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Doctor Fegg wrote:

I've sometimes idly thought how useful it'd be to convert short stretches of motorway hard shoulder to (fully protected) cycle lanes. Take Tewkesbury, for example: the M50 crossing of the Severn, and the M5 crossing of the Avon, are the only ones for miles. Providing a cyclepath here would be a great boon; and given that 'Managed Motorways' have proved that hard shoulders are dispensable in this age of more reliable cars, there's no reason not to.

But it'd never happen.

Le Pont Du Normandie just outside Le Havre is a terrifying six lane motorway bridge - with a segregated cycle lane on each carriageway  1

Avatar
DaveE128 [826 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Even if it were legal and not a very dangerous place to be (eg nodding off lorry drivers - I've lost count of the number of times I've seen one stray into the hard shoulder), I wouldn't cycle there due to the amount of debris. It'd be a nightmare for punctures.

Avatar
Leodis [422 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

whats 20mph between road users? I cycle on Leeds ring road with cars flying past at 60+, little difference except the hard shoulder.

Avatar
Carl [142 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Makes you wonder whether in his life he has ever actually gone onto a motorway in a car, passing all those signs that say 'Motorway' and the one that clearly says what vehicles are prohibited.

Then when he was cycling along it clearly never occurred to him that he was on a hard shoulder (clues: lots more motorway signage....three-four lanes etc). No alarm bells ringing in his head.

Moron.

Avatar
SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Being passed by speeding motorists is not fun, you are correct, but to use it as a justification for not doing this? Given the choice between riding on a motorway and riding on the north Devon link road or the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth? I would say you would always be safer on the motorway. Drivers think nothing of driving at 100mph+ on these non-motorways. No hard shoulder!
When a person was 'nicked' for doing 91mph on the single carriageway A361 he thought his behaviour so trivial that he composed a poem! http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Driver-committed-crime-rhyme/story-12...
S
Still got fined £175
The Police normally turn a blind eye to speeding on these roads so he was very unlucky to be nicked.

Avatar
cidermart [496 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

WTF?? I know that it's wrong but the computer thingy told me to do it. Muppet! People need to accept responsibility for their actions.

Avatar
Cauld Lubter [135 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Doctor Fegg wrote:

I've sometimes idly thought how useful it'd be to convert short stretches of motorway hard shoulder to (fully protected) cycle lanes. Take Tewkesbury, for example: the M50 crossing of the Severn, and the M5 crossing of the Avon, are the only ones for miles. Providing a cyclepath here would be a great boon; and given that 'Managed Motorways' have proved that hard shoulders are dispensable in this age of more reliable cars, there's no reason not to.

But it'd never happen.

Given the existence of foot/cycle paths that were routinely incorporated into the designs of some other crossings (Forth, Severn, etc) I'm surprised the architects /planners didn't give it any thought. Perhaps they did, and it was ruled out on cost. I've heard some remarks made about the total lack of use of ped and cycle facilities on some bridges and how much it would save on maintenance if they simply weren't there, so that's a factor.

Avatar
stealth [254 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I fairly regularly ride on dual carriageway sections of both the A47 & A11, I can say that you do (sort of) get used to cars & trucks passing fairly close at speed, I would have thought that the hard shoulder would feel positively roomy!!
Still, we shouldn't be on there, so he is a numpty.

Avatar
tarquin_foxglove [147 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Easily done, especially if you are not sure of your route and following road signs to the next town.

Avatar
gareth2510 [167 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

My 6 year old knows you cant ride your bike on the 'big fast road'

No excuses, hes a grown man. Idiot

Avatar
andyp [1489 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

'He came out of nowhere. '

ah, the old faithful fall-back. Sounds so much better than 'I wasn't paying attention to the road'.

Avatar
andrew abbess [2 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

If he had been on the Surrey A3 cycle lane earlier then he probably thought the M25 hard shoulder was cycling heaven. http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/idiots/

Avatar
Paul_C [496 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Doctor Fegg wrote:

I've sometimes idly thought how useful it'd be to convert short stretches of motorway hard shoulder to (fully protected) cycle lanes. Take Tewkesbury, for example: the M50 crossing of the Severn, and the M5 crossing of the Avon, are the only ones for miles. Providing a cyclepath here would be a great boon; and given that 'Managed Motorways' have proved that hard shoulders are dispensable in this age of more reliable cars, there's no reason not to.

But it'd never happen.

Tewkesbury? Go out via the Bredon road (B4080) and you're on one side of the Avon, go over the Mythe bridge and out up the Mythe Road (A38) and you're the other side of the Avon. And at the Mythe hill, you get the opportunity to cross the Severn as well just by taking the left (A438) at the base of the hill.

There is NO need for a cycle path across those two motorway bridges.

Avatar
mtm_01 [201 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Still not as bad as the granny following the sat-nav who went down the slipway into the water...

Avatar
shmooster [24 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Not a sensible place to ride but just round the corner is the A3, a dual carriageway with the same speed limit and a cycle lane right down the left hand side. Mostly separated from the A3 but not completely.

Avatar
GrooveRidar [10 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I wonder if he got home and set it up as a Strava segment!  3

Avatar
Dizzy [68 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

When i first heard this story, I thought what a twonk.
But..
I have just been plotting a route, I usually do this via OS maps, check out elevations, gradients, quieter roads etc, then once i'm happy I'll stick it onto my gizmo via GarminConnect. I also always write out a basic cheat sheet which is what I go by, my Garmin really is only for back up.
I don't have maps that cover the area I will be going to, so I did a quick GoogleMap, put in my home & destination postcode & clicked on cycle option
The route came up...along the busiest stretch of the A27, one I would avoid at all costs, and then onto the M27!

I was quite shocked, what if I was a new cyclist, or maybe a tourist not knowing what these roads were? What if I was lost, or had been sent on a detour due to roadworks & had gone on via my phone looking for the best/alternative route?

I know we should use common sense when on our bikes, but how many folk these days rely on technology, do excatly as they are told, because 'the machine' told them it was ok.
Ultimately we are responsible for our choices, the routes we take, but the people who run things like GoogleMaps, need to sharpen up their acts too.