Video: Reports of "chaos" caused by M25 cyclist "an exaggeration"

Police video reveals traffic speeding past despite motorists' claims presence of rider had caused delays

by Simon_MacMichael   February 26, 2014  

M25 cyclist (Surrey Police YouTube video still)

Just as premature news of Mark Twain’s death were, as the writer said, “an exaggeration,” so too it appears were reports yesterday the "chaos" caused by a cyclist sent onto the M25 by mistake thanks to a not-so-smartphone app. 

That word was used in more than one headline - the Mirror and ITV Meridian News, for example - and some motorists took to Twitter to complain about the delay the cyclist’s presence had caused to their journey.

But it now seems that as on any normal day when bike riders haven’t strayed onto the M25, something else was behind the traffic jams they encountered.

A video released by Surrey Police shows traffic speeding past the unwitting bike rider with not a tailback in sight as he made his way onto the motorway, directed there by the app as he sought a shorter route home.

The video continues to show traffic flowing past smoothly as a police car is sent to intercept him, and it continues to do so as he is moved out of harm's way.

Sergeant Phil Dix of Surrey Police Road's Policing Unit, who was dispatched to intercept the errant cyclist, said: "The cyclist was apparently taking a short cut home and was following a satellite navigation system on his mobile phone.

"It is extremely fortunate that there was a safe outcome and that the cyclist was not injured, or worse - especially as he had crossed several slip roads coming off the motorway.

“This is a good example of why motorists should always remain alert and vigilant on the roads as you never know what you may come across on your travels."

He added: "I would urge all road users to use a common sense approach when using a satnav, whether that be on foot, two wheels or more."

The rider received a £50 fine for ignoring a sign prohibiting bicycles from the motorway, before Sergeant Dix helped him find his way back off it.

20 user comments

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So you're telling me that the media lie??? Oh the horror Wink

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posted by cidermart [457 posts]
26th February 2014 - 23:05

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Christ, what a nutter crossing the slip roads like that...

posted by Nick T [763 posts]
26th February 2014 - 23:14

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If he's a nutter for cycling on a 70 mph motorway, then what does that say about cycling on A-roads?

60 mph, single-lane A-roads are simply unavoidable in many parts, being the only roads in some areas (I can think of a good few examples in Scotland). Alternatives to 70 mph dual-carriageway A-roads in some places take very, very circuitous routes, leaving cyclists with an unpalatable choice. A 70mph dual-carriage really is little different to a motorway, from a cyclist's perspective. Indeed, the 70mph A-road is probably far more dangerous, as there is no requirement for a hard-shoulder on them.

posted by Paul J [561 posts]
26th February 2014 - 23:26

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Thanks for following up on this road.cc.

I wonder is there any plausible basis to claims like the below? Maybe all the motorists were so busy tweeting and texting that they slowed down somewhere?:

Quote:

"One person caught up in the delays was Hannah Leonard, who tweeted:: "My usual 40 minute commute to work took an hour and a half due to a cyclist on the M25!"

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/cyclist-caused-chaos-after-t...

posted by Ush [379 posts]
27th February 2014 - 1:54

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It is not so much that the media lie, but that they blindly report things they are told by individuals or receive in official press releases without checking facts — despite that fact-checking is supposedly an elemental part of journalism.

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posted by DavidC [34 posts]
27th February 2014 - 5:57

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Paul J makes a good point, I commute along the A303 everyday, it has no hard shoulder vehicles are regularly doing in excess of 70mph and yet you can legally ride along it. I have seen people cycle along it from small groups of road cyclists to commuters and even someone making their way to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.
Now not that I would want to cycle along it but in my mind it would be safer to cycle down the hard shoulder (and don't condone it) of the M25 than cycle down the A303 Wink

posted by martib [33 posts]
27th February 2014 - 7:18

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Unfortunately facts don't appeal to the masses, whereas hyperbole does.

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posted by djcritchley [146 posts]
27th February 2014 - 8:37

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Paul J wrote:
If he's a nutter for cycling on a 70 mph motorway, then what does that say about cycling on A-roads?

Only one difference, car drivers don't expect cyclists to be on motorways, as it is too many fail to understand that there might be pedestrians, horses and cyclists on the rest of the road network as it is.

How many motorists actually pay attention to what is going on around them, how many are on auto pilot and only looking for what they expect to see.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1032 posts]
27th February 2014 - 9:40

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I work on the motorway and it isnt that uncommon to have someone cycling along the hardshoulder. Just normally tell them to carry on and get off at the next junction. Certainly no reason to cause any traffic "chaos" Laughing

posted by lookmanohands [94 posts]
27th February 2014 - 10:00

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Ush wrote:
Thanks for following up on this road.cc.

I wonder is there any plausible basis to claims like the below? Maybe all the motorists were so busy tweeting and texting that they slowed down somewhere?:

Quote:

"One person caught up in the delays was Hannah Leonard, who tweeted:: "My usual 40 minute commute to work took an hour and a half due to a cyclist on the M25!"

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/cyclist-caused-chaos-after-travel-app-directed-him-to-busy-motorway-30040588.html

Well her boss may want to look into this. Clearly she was at least 45 mins late for work and tried to blame a cyclist on the motorway.

You know what would have impressed me. If the cars really had slowed down to make sure that the cyclist stayed safe. Sure then they could moan but it would have been safety first recriminations later. But it doesn't look like any of them did that

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [505 posts]
27th February 2014 - 11:00

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I am sure that the press will correct their miss reporting and make certain that their correction will have equal prominence to their original story. Of course they will point out that not all cyclists are irresponsible etc Rolling On The Floor
But, the big one, the question on the whole nations lips....... was he wearing a helmet?????? Rolling Eyes

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
27th February 2014 - 11:07

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lookmanohands wrote:
I work on the motorway and it isnt that uncommon to have someone cycling along the hardshoulder. Just normally tell them to carry on and get off at the next junction. Certainly no reason to cause any traffic "chaos" Laughing

I wondered why some of your commutes were so quick, drafting the trucks Smile

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posted by mrmo [1032 posts]
27th February 2014 - 11:29

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We were forced to ride on the hard shoulder of a motorway in Spain (typically, they closed a road and we were given no option).

We were very reluctant, but in the end it wasn't too bad at all. We missioned it for one junction, it was even enjoyable as we were a lot quicker than normal (on fully loaded touring bikes), and a hell of a lot safer than riding into Madrid.

posted by robthehungrymonkey [33 posts]
27th February 2014 - 12:37

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Its no wonder car drivers and the media have a go at us. £50 fine is woefully inadequatefor someone whose actions in crossing the slip carriageways could have caused untold chaos in addition to endangering his own life. He ought to be banned from cycling until he has taken a safety awareness course.

posted by a9350058 [43 posts]
27th February 2014 - 13:31

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a9350058 wrote:
Its no wonder car drivers and the media have a go at us. £50 fine is woefully inadequatefor someone whose actions in crossing the slip carriageways could have caused untold chaos in addition to endangering his own life. He ought to be banned from cycling until he has taken a safety awareness course.

He is out of order of course. But £50 is similar in nature to an FPN for driving whilst using a mobile phone. And the likeliest victim of any incident is going to be him.

Pull a u turn in a car then drive the wrong way on a motorway because your sat nav says turn round (similar sort of thing) £300 fine. And victimhood is unlikely to be limited to the offender.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [505 posts]
27th February 2014 - 13:47

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Haha, why would it cause chaos? Not like anyone crashed because of it!

http://matmitchellcycling.wordpress.com
The usual new 4th Cat blog with some stuff about Pros too.

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posted by mtm_01 [90 posts]
27th February 2014 - 15:13

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Said it before and I'll say it again - motorways are probably the safest place to cycle in the UK. Huge verges (with traffic prohibited in most cases) traffic in one direction only, wide lanes (so no squeezing of cyclists).

As others have pointed out, there are plenty of bike lanes in absolutely terrifying locations (like the tiny verge of the narrow 70mph A34) that seem to have been put in without a thought and as a sop to "facilitating cycling".

http://pedaller.org.uk/2013/10/14/on-cycling-along-motorways-and-a-roads/

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [120 posts]
27th February 2014 - 15:35

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An avoidable incident caused by an idiot relying on an electronic device instead of engaging his brain.
Luckily no drivers had to have accidentally hitting him on their conscience.

posted by fret [18 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:34

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In California there are many highways where cycling is permitted specifically because it estimated and confirmed to be a good way to lower the cyclist death rate on high speed rural roads with inconsistent or absent shoulders.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [100 posts]
1st March 2014 - 9:40

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If anyone was delayed by this riders error. They should stop rubber necking and slowing down just to be down right nosey! !!! Surprise

Live to Ride, 'cycling a real sport'

posted by shaun finnis [24 posts]
1st March 2014 - 22:19

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