200 fined by police in Cambridge clampdown on law-breaking cyclists and drivers

Fines issued to cyclists include 50 for riding wrong way up one-way street

by Simon_MacMichael   April 21, 2014  

Bikes outside Pembroke College Cambridge

Police in Cambridge say that a clampdown on motorists and bike riders breaking traffic laws in the centre of the city resulted in more than 200 fines being issued – 50 of those to cyclists riding the wrong way up a one-way street.

The campaign, which lasted 20 weeks – meaning an average of less than two fines a day were isued – targeted roads identified as dangerous either through data on crashes or because people living there had raised issues about safety, reports Cambridge News.

Inspector Steve Poppitt, in a report to Cambridge City Council’s West/Central Area Committee, said the operation had been a success and that officers had been told to stop any road user they saw committing an offence.

The first ten weeks of the exercise, targeting locations including Downing Street, East Road, Fen Causeway and Mitcham’s Corner, saw 17 cyclists fined for on the pavement, 12 for red light jumping, and six for their bikes not being equipped with lights.

Meanwhile 63 drivers received fines for the lights on their vehicles being defective, seven for failing to use a seatbelt, six for using a handheld mobile phone while driving, five for ignoring red lights and three for speeding.

Among fines handed out during the second ten weeks were 50 to cyclists for riding the wrong way up Sidney Street.

Action was also taken by officers against taxis on St Andrew’s Street – a problem that Inspector Poppitt acknowledged appeared to have moved to Emmanuel Road, where officers continue to tackle the problem.

He also said that police had also spoken to haulage companies about a 7.5 tonne weight restriction on Newmarket Road and Maid’s Causeway being ignored, adding that “as a direct result there has been a reduction in the number of vehicles coming along these restricted routes.”

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So officers "had been told to stop any road user they saw committing an offence”.

So they’re normally told to ignore road users committing offences?

posted by Pub bike [24 posts]
21st April 2014 - 10:44

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Side Issue:

There should be a move to make more one-way streets in towns apply to motor vehicles only. It would encourage more cycling in town centres, but wouldn't have any serious negative impact on drivers. It would be relatively inexpensive as well.

There are a few in my town that have a simple bike sign painted on the road with the odd arrow, but they're not properly joined up, so you can't make sensible journeys from one part of town to the next.

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posted by nowasps [246 posts]
21st April 2014 - 10:45

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Quite. Enforce the highway code equally for all. A bad driver is likely to be a danger to themself and others. A incompetent cyclist that disobeys the highway code will at some point put themself in harms way.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
21st April 2014 - 11:11

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Police Policing shocker!

posted by IanW1968 [154 posts]
21st April 2014 - 11:34

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The more I read these comments on like subjects the road cc group as a whole or it may be the loud minority, criticise the police for doing their job and complain when they don't.

posted by Rouboy [63 posts]
21st April 2014 - 13:00

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Rouboy wrote:
The more I read these comments on like subjects the road cc group as a whole or it may be the loud minority, criticise the police for doing their job and complain when they don't.

Which of the comments posted before yours are you refering to when you speak of 'criticising the police for doing their job'?

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [665 posts]
21st April 2014 - 14:34

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I'm always glad to hear of the police undertaking these 'blitzes'. I'm sure London cyclists are slightly better behaved after the last one here. I was chatting to a 'old' Londoner during our ride this morning and he told me the behaviour of cyclists has improved greatly over the last decade. I'm sure these campaigns have an effect as they do highlight to people that what they are doing is bad behaviour.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [151 posts]
21st April 2014 - 15:33

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nowasps wrote:
Side Issue:

There should be a move to make more one-way streets in towns apply to motor vehicles only. It would encourage more cycling in town centres, but wouldn't have any serious negative impact on drivers. It would be relatively inexpensive as well.

There are a few in my town that have a simple bike sign painted on the road with the odd arrow, but they're not properly joined up, so you can't make sensible journeys from one part of town to the next.

Sorry, but no!
A one-way street is a one-way street. If you wish to go against the traffic flow there is only one way for you to do this legally - as a pedestrian! Where it is necessary and practicable then I (and probably every-other road user) would support the use of properly signed and marked contraflow cycle lanes.

Some car drivers can't cope with you travelling with the flow, what do you think will be the likely outcome of you willy-nilly approaching from an unexpected direction?

The one on Horseferry Rd, Limehouse, London is a good example of one that works well (by and large).

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
21st April 2014 - 16:07

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I hate seeing cyclists riding the wrong way on a one-way. It gives a very bad image for all cyclists and is one of the worst things for car/cycle safety because it is very confusing to the cars. But, there are definitely one-way roads I encounter that absolutely should have marked and/or protected contra-flow cycle lanes. Unfortunately, I don't think that many urban traffic planners in the US are keen to include contra-flow cycle lanes.

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posted by pedalpowerDC [217 posts]
21st April 2014 - 16:15

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jmaccelari wrote:
I'm always glad to hear of the police undertaking these 'blitzes'. I'm sure London cyclists are slightly better behaved after the last one here.

Really? Can't say I've noticed any difference at all in terms of the number of annoying scrotes whizzing along the pavement.

And, far more depressingly still, the rate of cyclist deaths in London so far this year is running at almost _exactly_ the same rate as it averged in each of the last two years (a little over one a month).

If it continues as its begun we'll end up with about 14 deaths this year, just as in 2012 and 2013. So, so far, little sign the "blitz" changed anything.

An ongoing effort, concentrating most on those that pose the most danger (*cough* motorised vehicles *cough*), would perhaps achieve better results.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [665 posts]
21st April 2014 - 16:17

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levermonkey wrote:
nowasps wrote:
Side Issue:

There should be a move to make more one-way streets in towns apply to motor vehicles only...

Sorry, but no!
A one-way street is a one-way street. If you wish to go against the traffic flow there is only one way for you to do this legally - as a pedestrian! Where it is necessary and practicable then I (and probably every-other road user) would support the use of properly signed and marked contraflow cycle lanes.

Some car drivers can't cope with you travelling with the flow, what do you think will be the likely outcome of you willy-nilly approaching from an unexpected direction?

The one on Horseferry Rd, Limehouse, London is a good example of one that works well (by and large).

I quite agree Levermonkey! Contraflow bike lanes are the way forward! Cambridge has a number of these on appropriate streets but an absurd number of people still go against the flow even where it's not allowed. Sidney Street, as mentioned by the article, is a particular culprit, it's narrow and psuedo-pedestrianised so cyclists going the wrong way cause a significant problem. By my house there a number of one way streets, one with a contraflow cycle lane, the rest without. It makes me irate the number of people I encounter cycling the wrong way up a street (often without lights) when they could do so perfectly legally just one street over.
As an aside, in Cambridge many of the cycling culprits going the wrong way, running red lights etc. appear to be the middle aged folk on city bikes (not to say that there aren't a fair share of students doing the same in the town centre).

posted by Cantab [59 posts]
21st April 2014 - 18:26

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levermonkey wrote:
nowasps wrote:
Side Issue:

There should be a move to make more one-way streets in towns apply to motor vehicles only. It would encourage more cycling in town centres, but wouldn't have any serious negative impact on drivers. It would be relatively inexpensive as well.

There are a few in my town that have a simple bike sign painted on the road with the odd arrow, but they're not properly joined up, so you can't make sensible journeys from one part of town to the next.

Sorry, but no!
A one-way street is a one-way street. If you wish to go against the traffic flow there is only one way for you to do this legally - as a pedestrian! Where it is necessary and practicable then I (and probably every-other road user) would support the use of properly signed and marked contraflow cycle lanes.

Some car drivers can't cope with you travelling with the flow, what do you think will be the likely outcome of you willy-nilly approaching from an unexpected direction?

The one on Horseferry Rd, Limehouse, London is a good example of one that works well (by and large).

Indeed, a one-way street is exactly that. General traffic rules apply to us all. Cyclists who act otherwise imperil themselves, as was shown by the fatal accident reported here within the last week: http://road.cc/content/news/116184-cyclist-killed-whitechapel-november-h...

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posted by harman_mogul [121 posts]
21st April 2014 - 18:33

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Glad to see them doing this,

BUT surely a couple of offences a day, or more, ought to be every day minimum if they were policing properly!

Shay

posted by shay cycles [221 posts]
21st April 2014 - 20:33

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shay cycles wrote:
Glad to see them doing this,

BUT surely a couple of offences a day, or more, ought to be every day minimum if they were policing properly!

Or they were being sensible and advising minor offenders rather than hand out fines willy nilly.

You just cannot satisfy some people. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, comes to mind.

posted by indyjukebox [47 posts]
21st April 2014 - 20:48

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I see several serious traffic offences most days from various kinds of mobile phone use, smoking dope and at least a couple of cases of other dangerous behaviour including harassment and intimidation. None of those would be appropriate cases for advising offenders.

Proper policing means zero tolerance of the things that are serious and cause danger to others and giving advice for more minor offences where such advice is likely to lead to improved behaviour.

Shay

posted by shay cycles [221 posts]
21st April 2014 - 22:39

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I have commuted into cambridge by bike and car for nearly 15 years now. You could fine 200 people-on-bikes (note i don't use the term 'cyclist') in 24 hours, easily. Hardly a clampdown. The misguided animosity i receive from non cycling co-workers and locals because of the ignorance of law breakers and the weak enforcement of the law by the police is tedious, to say the very least.

posted by Hoester [53 posts]
21st April 2014 - 23:03

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Hoester wrote:
... people-on-bikes (note i don't use the term 'cyclist') ...

OK - how and when do you use the term 'cyclist'?

Is a cyclist just a person riding a bike who doesn't break the traffic laws? Or do you have to be a 'roadie' to be a 'proper' cyclist? I'd love to know.

I ride a hybrid with panniers and mudguards to and from work every working day (13-20 mile round trip, depending on the route). I am a card-carrying member of my local cycle campaign and of the CTC. I have never ridden a bike with drop handlebars, nor worn lycra in any form, in my entire life. I do occasionally ride on footpaths which are not shared spaces (and which are alongside a main road, and on which I have never yet actually met a pedestrian).

Am I a cyclist, or am I just a person-on-a-bike?

posted by brooksby [96 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 9:15

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The road in question is basically only used by cyclists anyway, who clearly don't need all the room for one way. If you really wanted to obey every road rule in Cambridge, you'd need a sat-nav as it makes absolutely no sense.

posted by jazzykoenig [16 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 10:43

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Brooksby,

Good question. I'm still formulating my own personal definition, it grows and changes as I grow, and change.

I think a cyclist is someone who enthusiastically chooses to ride regularly and respectfully.

Hope that helps, it seems like you were beginning to stumble towards the wrong conclusion there for a minute.

If you (or anyone else) don't agree with that definition, thats cool. Maybe we can all discuss it online with less acrimonious undertones, I'm open to improvements.

Take it easy.

posted by Hoester [53 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 13:28

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
jmaccelari wrote:
I'm always glad to hear of the police undertaking these 'blitzes'. I'm sure London cyclists are slightly better behaved after the last one here.

Really? Can't say I've noticed any difference at all in terms of the number of annoying scrotes whizzing along the pavement.

And, far more depressingly still, the rate of cyclist deaths in London so far this year is running at almost _exactly_ the same rate as it averged in each of the last two years (a little over one a month).

If it continues as its begun we'll end up with about 14 deaths this year, just as in 2012 and 2013. So, so far, little sign the "blitz" changed anything.

An ongoing effort, concentrating most on those that pose the most danger (*cough* motorised vehicles *cough*), would perhaps achieve better results.

A little over 1 a month you say? I'd be pissed off if I was the one, but considering the number of journeys by the number of people, and all in the massive melting pot of potholes, diesel spills and the huge diversity of different vehicles operated by people with differing abilities and attitudes to traffic law and courtesy, that average may compare quite favourably with fatality rates of other aspects of London life.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 14:02

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Hoester wrote:
Good question. I'm still formulating my own personal definition, it grows and changes as I grow, and change.

I think a cyclist is someone who enthusiastically chooses to ride regularly and respectfully.

Hope that helps...

Yes, it does. My hackles just start rising a bit when people on these comments/forums start talking about cyclists vs people-on-bikes or having a go at 'nodders' (they'll be having a go at the flowers, next!).

Quote:
Take it easy.

Always (or, I try to) Wink

posted by brooksby [96 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 14:38

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levermonkey wrote:
nowasps wrote:
Side Issue:

There should be a move to make more one-way streets in towns apply to motor vehicles only. It would encourage more cycling in town centres, but wouldn't have any serious negative impact on drivers. It would be relatively inexpensive as well.

There are a few in my town that have a simple bike sign painted on the road with the odd arrow, but they're not properly joined up, so you can't make sensible journeys from one part of town to the next.

Sorry, but no!
A one-way street is a one-way street. If you wish to go against the traffic flow there is only one way for you to do this legally - as a pedestrian! Where it is necessary and practicable then I (and probably every-other road user) would support the use of properly signed and marked contraflow cycle lanes.

Some car drivers can't cope with you travelling with the flow, what do you think will be the likely outcome of you willy-nilly approaching from an unexpected direction?

The one on Horseferry Rd, Limehouse, London is a good example of one that works well (by and large).

Cambridge already has quite a few streets that are two-way for cycling but one way for motor traffic, and there's currently a consultation out for more. Most of them don't have contraflow cycle lanes, it's just legal to cycle in the opposite direction. Sometimes it means someone has to give way because the street is narrow, but it's not a big deal. Also plenty of streets that are two-way to all traffic but too narrow for two cars to pass each other anyway (due to car parking taking up the rest of the space).

There have not, to my knowledge, ever been any issues with legal two-way cycling on one-way streets. It opens up a network of side-streets and quiet routes for cycling, given the main road provision in Cambridge is often woeful.

I get annoyed with people cycling the wrong way down Sidney St purely for the fact that they are breaking the law, but it's never dangerous. If they changed it to two-way cycling tomorrow it would be fine.

posted by HKCambridge [130 posts]
22nd April 2014 - 17:21

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Hoester wrote:
Brooksby,

Good question. I'm still formulating my own personal definition, it grows and changes as I grow, and change.

I think a cyclist is someone who enthusiastically chooses to ride regularly and respectfully.

Hope that helps, it seems like you were beginning to stumble towards the wrong conclusion there for a minute.

If you (or anyone else) don't agree with that definition, thats cool. Maybe we can all discuss it online with less acrimonious undertones, I'm open to improvements.

Take it easy.

Maybe you wouldn't have garnered such a response if your initial comments hadn't been so dismissive of those that don't quite fit YOUR criteria?

Nothing like a bit of snobbery to show a fellow up.

We're all in this together aren't we, aren't we.................I guess not?

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posted by chrisp1973 [57 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 13:35

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chrisp1973 wrote:

Maybe you wouldn't have garnered such a response if your initial comments hadn't been so dismissive of those that don't quite fit YOUR criteria?

Nothing like a bit of snobbery to show a fellow up.

We're all in this together aren't we, aren't we.................I guess not?

I think you may be inferring his criteria, there was nothing in the original post about clothing, style of bike, shaven legs etc, he simply said law-breakers (although I concede that there are "cyclists" by my definition who break the law).

I think that a cyclist could be defined as someone who has an interest in cycling, be it to keep fit, as a sport or the whole deal rather than someone that just rides a bike as a mode of transport. It's like saying that you're a car driver compared to a car enthusiast or petrol head, but that's just my opinion.

Si

posted by sim1515 [137 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 13:59

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sim1515 wrote:
chrisp1973 wrote:

Maybe you wouldn't have garnered such a response if your initial comments hadn't been so dismissive of those that don't quite fit YOUR criteria?

Nothing like a bit of snobbery to show a fellow up.

We're all in this together aren't we, aren't we.................I guess not?

I think you may be inferring his criteria, there was nothing in the original post about clothing, style of bike, shaven legs etc, he simply said law-breakers (although I concede that there are "cyclists" by my definition who break the law).

I think that a cyclist could be defined as someone who has an interest in cycling, be it to keep fit, as a sport or the whole deal rather than someone that just rides a bike as a mode of transport. It's like saying that you're a car driver compared to a car enthusiast or petrol head, but that's just my opinion.

"people-on-bikes (note i don't use the term 'cyclist')" - is what I was referring to however, you're quite right, the criteria appeared in his second, equally acidic post.

The point is that whether you ride a mountain bike, a hybrid or a road bike you're on a bike and so by definition a cyclist, how commited and for what reason doeasn't really matter, and shouldn't.

A bit of friendly banter is one thing but, as the saying goes "united we stand, divided we fall" we've enough to contend with without infighting because of cycle preference or misguided labelling.

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posted by chrisp1973 [57 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 14:08

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chrisp1973 wrote:
sim1515 wrote:
chrisp1973 wrote:

Maybe you wouldn't have garnered such a response if your initial comments hadn't been so dismissive of those that don't quite fit YOUR criteria?

Nothing like a bit of snobbery to show a fellow up.

We're all in this together aren't we, aren't we.................I guess not?

I think you may be inferring his criteria, there was nothing in the original post about clothing, style of bike, shaven legs etc, he simply said law-breakers (although I concede that there are "cyclists" by my definition who break the law).

I think that a cyclist could be defined as someone who has an interest in cycling, be it to keep fit, as a sport or the whole deal rather than someone that just rides a bike as a mode of transport. It's like saying that you're a car driver compared to a car enthusiast or petrol head, but that's just my opinion.

"people-on-bikes (note i don't use the term 'cyclist')" - is what I was referring to however, you're quite right, the criteria appeared in his second, equally acidic post.

The point is that whether you ride a mountain bike, a hybrid or a road bike you're on a bike and so by definition a cyclist, how commited and for what reason doeasn't really matter, and shouldn't.

A bit of friendly banter is one thing but, as the saying goes "united we stand, divided we fall" we've enough to contend with without infighting because of cycle preference or misguided labelling.

I actually think there is a distinction between people on bikes and cyclists, I would say (if someone asked) that I am a cyclist, but my wife, who occasionally pops out for a short ride to a pub on a nice day, or my friend who rides a Boris bike to get from a station to work would not describe themselves as cyclists, even when they are riding a bike.

I don't care what kind of cycling you're into (road, cross, mountain etc), I think if you're into cycling, you'd probably class yourself as a cyclist, if you just ride a bike sometimes, you're probably not. But again, that's just my take on it.

Si

posted by sim1515 [137 posts]
23rd April 2014 - 16:46

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What is a cyclist? - Someone who propels themselves (usually using pedals) through the world on a human powered vehicle.

Any other term is therefore redundant. As cyclist covers all riders of cycles and all cycles (unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, hand, recumbent, etc.) then I will always use the terms cycle and cyclist.

Any further sub-divisions are therefore divisive and should be resisted. The views and opinions of someone who pootles along, puffing away on a pipe on their way to their allotment if they so wish, are just as valid as those of the Strava junkie going for a segment record.

All cyclists of all abilities are welcome. The more the merrier. These petty squabbles between artificially created 'tribes' must stop if we are to achieve anything.

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
24th April 2014 - 17:28

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If one were to read my posts in an acidic manner, then I guess I could come across as an 'acidic snob'. Personally, when the prose allows, I like to read the good in people. I'm no english expert but, i think you can do the same with my posts too. They were certainly written in that manner.

Keep riding guys, on whatever, whenever, with whoever, and for whatever reason. Be nice to people, and have fun. That was the intent of my 'cyclist' definition after all!

Cheers

posted by Hoester [53 posts]
24th April 2014 - 20:21

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Trust me! My last post was not a dig at anyone merely a statement of position and an appeal to a bit of harmony and unity. Cool

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
24th April 2014 - 21:22

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I use both the term "cyclist" and also "people on bikes" to refer to anyone riding about on cycles. Levermonkey is right in that anyone self propelling on any kind of cycle is actually a "cyclist" and they all have a right to their opinions and to share them.

Sometimes when I'm trying to get non-cyclists (and some cyclists too) to understand the needs and vulnerability of those who cycle I'll tend to use "people on bikes" because I want to remind them that they are dealing with people, fellow human beings rather than some object that needs neither care nor consideration.

Shay

posted by shay cycles [221 posts]
24th April 2014 - 22:03

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