Another cyclist follows satnav on to motorway

Police rescue M3 rider before he ends up in Bracknell

by John Stevenson   March 6, 2014  

The M3 (CC licensed image by paul_appleyard:Flickr)

Surrey police have helped another confused cyclist who’d followed a phone satnav application on to the motorway.

The latest incident happened on the M3 yesterday afternoon at about 13:50 when Surrey Roads Police tweeted that they were responding to reports of a cyclist on the M3 motorway.

It turned out that the rider was using a phone satnav app and had followed its directions on to the motorway.

Surrey Roads Police (@SurreyRoadCops - worth following if you’re a fan of deadpan cop humour) tweeted: “Last time was M25, they are like buses, haven’t had any for months + months now we have had 2 + r looking for 3rd”

The police responded quickly. It helped that there was a driver training exercise in progress at the time. “He is cycling along the M3 from Sunbury towards the M25. The driving school are training in a group and have him surrounded,” tweeted the police.

Another Twitter user, Michael Gibson (‏@junglybarry) suggested that it was possible the rider had been on the A316 and didn’t notice when it turned into motorway.

“It is [possible],” police said, “but when he did twig he didn’t do anything about it just kept going. Just getting a van to take him off.”

Mr Gibson replied: “I dread to think what he’d do at j2... Go on to j3 and the poor sod’s at Bracknell #baddaytoworse”

Police later said that the rider was using an iPhone, though at the time it was just referred to as “not Android” and “a phone with an edible fruit on it”.

Surrey police added: “We think one maps app has been updated since our last event.”

Anyone who has used satnav apps for bike navigation extensively knows to treat their instructions with caution. Even bike-specific applications can take you by silly routes, though the problem is more often being led down impassible trails rather than illegal dual carriageways.

In this case, the rider copped a fine to remind him to be more sceptical in future.

“It’s similar to the one we had on the M25,” a police spokesman told the Evening Standard's Robin De Peyer.

“The cyclist, in his late 20s, was issued a £50 fine for contravening a road sign, and he was also given some words of advice.

“He was then taken safely off in a van. It seems he was following an iPhone app.”

It's not just cyclists who get into trouble blindly following satnav instructions. In Madrid, Spain last year there were multiple incidents of drivers attempting to go down a pedestrian street that comprises a sequence of flights of steps.

In 2012, 26 drivers were fined during a two-day crackdown on driving in a pedestrian zone in Livingston, Scotland. The majority claimed they had been following their satnavs. 

"Satnavs are a useful tool but they’re not definitive," said Councillor for Livingston South, Lawrence Fitzpatrick.

29 user comments

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what a pillock .... is 3 lanes of fast moving traffic not a clue
as to what you're riding towards !!!!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [698 posts]
6th March 2014 - 13:13

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therevokid wrote:
what a pillock .... is 3 lanes of fast moving traffic not a clue
as to what you're riding towards !!!!

I used to drive to work on the A316 every morning from Twickenham to Sunbury (it turns into the M3 straight after the Sunbury turnoff) and it is a motorway in all but name but with a reduced speed limit of 50, with most cars actually doing 60 plus. Everyday I would see cyclists on it and wonder why on earth anyone would want to cycle on such a hideous road.

posted by finknottle [1 posts]
6th March 2014 - 13:21

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Does no one learn road signs anymore? Those huge big blue signs are a dead give away.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1048 posts]
6th March 2014 - 13:35

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I just like the title 'Police rescue M3 rider before he ends up in Bracknell'. Being unlucky enough to work in Bracknell I totally appreciate any effort given by the police to save an individual from reaching the concrete chavscum shitehole town it is. I wish they would rescue me.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [290 posts]
6th March 2014 - 13:35

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Darwinism says let them die.

posted by MKultra [212 posts]
6th March 2014 - 14:08

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what is wrong with these riders? satnav on their bikes? wtf? isn't it obvious you're about to join a motorway? good god .....

posted by Karbon Kev [670 posts]
6th March 2014 - 14:34

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We have a bus gate system that is restricted to taxis, buses and bikes during the day, but you occasionally see unaware cars queuing at the lights. When someone pointed out to the driver that if they went through the gate they'd be fined, they replied, "it's OK, my SatNav is sending me through..it's top of the range". D Oh

Shades

posted by Shades [197 posts]
6th March 2014 - 14:53

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Que predictable misdirected anger

*yawns*

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
6th March 2014 - 15:16

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finknottle wrote:
therevokid wrote:
what a pillock .... is 3 lanes of fast moving traffic not a clue
as to what you're riding towards !!!!

I used to drive to work on the A316 every morning from Twickenham to Sunbury (it turns into the M3 straight after the Sunbury turnoff) and it is a motorway in all but name but with a reduced speed limit of 50, with most cars actually doing 60 plus. Everyday I would see cyclists on it and wonder why on earth anyone would want to cycle on such a hideous road.

And here is the award for the most stupid thing posted on the internet.

Because it's the most direct way, go and take issue with the motoring / car sick "society" which actively design everything but motor vehicles off our public highways to suit their petrol fumed induced dream.

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
6th March 2014 - 15:18

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It's like going around in circles with morons on here, amazing that people only see what they want to see through ages of brainwashing.

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
6th March 2014 - 15:20

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I dont know whats worse, taking him on the M3 or taking him to Bracknell

posted by jamtartman [32 posts]
6th March 2014 - 15:38

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Tis possible they cycle on A road as they can only commute by bike and it is the only practicle route. When nurse training my only means of transport for the fist year was by bike, lots of A road from Liverpool to UCL Preston but had no choice. The M58 would have been quicker for me Nerd but I could see the big blue signs!!I think statistically country B roads are the most dangerous in comparison to A roads. Don't get me wrong only a complete dick would cycle on a MWay. Perhaps there should be cycle motorways with no cars, now that would cause outrage with the Daily mail

HMCC

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posted by Beefy [113 posts]
6th March 2014 - 16:45

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Well it was his phone that told him, so it must be OK. I really worry about our society when we believe anything we read because its 1.) online or 2.) on a handset. Use your head you numpty.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
6th March 2014 - 16:47

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Right on queue.

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
6th March 2014 - 17:04

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posted by northstar [1100 posts]
6th March 2014 - 17:35

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Personally I would have let him off the fine and taken him straight to Bracknell but I fear that may contravene various human rights conventions. Devil

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
6th March 2014 - 18:01

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Some nice comment on the as easy as riding a bike blog.

On the A316 which he had come from, which just turns into a motorway, and where cycling is completely legal, conditions are identical except there's no hard shoulder to provide a bit of respite from the traffic.

"Given that the objective conditions on the M3 are superior to the A316, and that the two are essentially the same road, I can see where [the cyclist is] coming from."

posted by pmanc [115 posts]
6th March 2014 - 18:04

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'Smart' phones are making people less smart.
Trust a phone or your instincts?

posted by Some Fella [747 posts]
6th March 2014 - 19:47

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Notwithstanding the arguments over whether these riders are/aren't idiots and do/don't deserve to die, I'm wondering how hard it would be to update the software on these apps to stop this sort of thing. Something like a prompt when you turn on navigation, asking you what your mode of transport is (cycling/driving/walking) so it can plot the route accordingly. Isn't that feasible?

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [186 posts]
6th March 2014 - 20:10

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More's the point.

"The driving school are training in a group and have him surrounded,” tweeted the police."

Errrr ………. I didn't think learner drivers were allowed on motorways PC Bellend.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [283 posts]
6th March 2014 - 21:24

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The irony of that is motorways are the most direct way so why should they be reserved for motorists? you could easily put in a parallel route for people wishing to walk / ride that way.

Just no political will it seems.

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
6th March 2014 - 21:26

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Cross the Forth and try heading North for Perth and Inverness, and the only signs point you towards the M90.

At Warrington early (ie 4am) one morning en route to Liverpool and not wanting to hang about for the train I looked for signs - yes you've guessed - directed to use the M62, which was pleasantly lacking in traffic at that time of day. However since I recognisewd the stations on the 1830 Liverpool-Manchester railway, I was able to navigate from local road signs. At the Liverpool event the Sustrans person suggested I should have followed the signs to use the Trans Pennine Trail, and was met by hoots of derision - no way would I be using an unlit unsurfaced track with the Manchester Ship Canal on one side and unkempt undergrowth encroaching from the other in the blackness.

Dunblane-Stirling - same deal the signs send you down the M9...

That about sums it up.....

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [481 posts]
7th March 2014 - 2:48

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I'm afraid I did it before too. It was the start of the M11 as you leave East London.
It's an area I know really well, must of driven it a thousand times. Followed the Garmin, thinking erm.., but then remembered an imaginary slip road off it, there was a slip road but joining.
Going back looked shady, so continued for about a mile desperately scanning the fence for a spot to scale.
Found one and had a tricky climb down a thorny embankment to path alongside the River Roding.
Felt like a right k***head..

DanTe's picture

posted by DanTe [51 posts]
7th March 2014 - 9:49

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Smart phones......for people who aren't Silly

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [584 posts]
7th March 2014 - 10:13

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northstar wrote:
The irony of that is motorways are the most direct way so why should they be reserved for motorists? you could easily put in a parallel route for people wishing to walk / ride that way.

Just no political will it seems.

Yep I agree and lots of "motorway like" A roads as well. The A331 Blackwater Valley route runs from Camberley past, Frimley Farnborough, Mychett, Ash, Aldershot and Joins the A31 just Outside Farnham on the Farnham to Guildford Stretch. It's a lovely flat quick route for cyclists. There is actually a wide area along most of it that would make a great cycle path if it wasn't full of dead foxes and broken glass. Really a good sweep and an armco fence and it would make commuting in that area really quick especially if you carried on that approach and added a bike path over the Hogs Back to Guildford. All you'd have to change substantially was the negotiation for the slip roads on and off. But that's no biggie. You could add 20 miles of really good standard useful bike path for the cost of some white paint and some armco Or moving the armco that is already there in a lot of places.

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

posted by oozaveared [569 posts]
7th March 2014 - 11:00

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Him Up North wrote:
Notwithstanding the arguments over whether these riders are/aren't idiots and do/don't deserve to die, I'm wondering how hard it would be to update the software on these apps to stop this sort of thing. Something like a prompt when you turn on navigation, asking you what your mode of transport is (cycling/driving/walking) so it can plot the route accordingly. Isn't that feasible?

Used to happen all the time with lorry drivers ending up down some little country lane and getting stuck.

I'm afraid to say that there are people that park their own brain and faculties as soon as some electronic aid is switched on. It's a navigation aid. It isn't driving the car or riding the bike.

I can hear my mum now (I paraphrase) "If it told you to cycle off a cliff, I expect you'd do that as well"

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

posted by oozaveared [569 posts]
7th March 2014 - 11:04

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I remember once last year I nearly fell off my bike laughing. Was in traffic near a bus stop and over heard one women state "According to my iphone the bus should have been here by now, don't the drivers use iphones?"

Sad reflection on how in this day and age we have become so dependant on other things to make decisions for us.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [290 posts]
7th March 2014 - 11:27

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northstar wrote:
The irony of that is motorways are the most direct way so why should they be reserved for motorists? you could easily put in a parallel route for people wishing to walk / ride that way.

Just no political will it seems.

Exactly. Motorways are the only place where a segregated parallel road system makes sense for bicycles. Have to spend the extra money on overpasses, etc, but it would actually expand our options rather than restricting them.

posted by Ush [389 posts]
7th March 2014 - 14:16

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Ush wrote:
northstar wrote:
The irony of that is motorways are the most direct way so why should they be reserved for motorists? you could easily put in a parallel route for people wishing to walk / ride that way.

Just no political will it seems.

Exactly. Motorways are the only place where a segregated parallel road system makes sense for bicycles. Have to spend the extra money on overpasses, etc, but it would actually expand our options rather than restricting them.

Getting on/off the M'way isn't really an issue and the hard shoulder would make a decent cycle path - it's getting past slip roads for exits/entrances that you as a cyclist don't want. You could always take the exit, go straight on at the roundabout and then re-join...'though I don't really fancy that either.

posted by allezrider [64 posts]
7th March 2014 - 18:09

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