City of Westminster to seek powers for council officers to fine cyclists

Council believes police not taking issue "seriously enough" but LCC says they are best qualified to tackle issue

by Simon_MacMichael   December 7, 2009  

London Cyclist.JPG

The City of Westminster is reportedly planning to become the first local authority to seek powers for council staff to issue fixed penalty notices to cyclists breaking the law.

According to a report in The Times, the borough plans to approach the Metropolitan Police to secure delegated authority under existing legislation to allow its city inspectors, who normally deal with issues such as licensing, waste and noise, to issue fines to cyclists caught committing offences such as riding through red lights or cycling on the pavement.

The plan, which still needs to be approved by the full council, has been drawn up by Westminster’s Scrutiny Committee, whose chairman, Angela Harvey, told The Times that law-breaking cyclists were the principal factor behind complaints from the borough’s residents.

“So many people are frustrated with it,” she said. “We’re always getting little old ladies who are knocked down and abused by a cyclist, who leaves them on the ground as they ride away.”

Ms Harvey added: “The police are the only people who have the ability to enforce this issue, and they just aren’t taking this seriously enough. There are more of our officers on the street than there are police at any given time, so it is a sensible solution.”

However, Tom Bogdanowicz, campaigns director of the London Cycling Campaign, believes that giving council staff powers to stop cyclists and issue fines would be a mistake, saying “enforcement of moving traffic offences needs to be carried out by trained police or police community support officers. They are best qualified to enforce the regulations on pavement cycling and most other offences as they have the training and authority to do their work.”

He added: “It is also vital that local authorities address road danger to cycle users by improving the very conditions that force some cyclists to seek the refuge of pavements. Where road design improvements have been made, offending falls significantly.”


10 user comments

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How many little old ladies? What does "always" mean? As dispicable as knocking over little old ladies and abusing them is, where are the numbers backing this up?

And the sortr of person who does knock over the little old lady and then abuses her is going to stop for a local authority member of staff?

Sounds to me like a way to maximise the revenue stream from traffic wardens...

posted by guidob [57 posts]
7th December 2009 - 10:56


Who needs numbers, if you say it often enough it's true! I have to say though, on my infrequent trips to London I've not seen legions of A over T old ladies littering the streets.

Start Cycle Commuting. Write off your car!

posted by step.doran [71 posts]
7th December 2009 - 11:18


So traffic wardens can fine cyclsits for riding on the pavement but not fine car/truck drivers for driving badly and in some instances, forcing cyclists to ride on the pavement? No doubt Westminster traffic wardens will be 'incentivised' to hand out tickets left, right and centre, as happened with parking tickets and with predictable results when it is revealed that the vast majority of these are spurious.


posted by OldRidgeback [2492 posts]
7th December 2009 - 11:19


Good grief, could she be any more cynical in her choice of language? Little old ladies indeed. I'm surprised they haven't been seen clubbing baby seals or taking candy from babies as well...

posted by not the chef [2 posts]
7th December 2009 - 11:41


a) so many people are frsutrated by it - yep, I'm frustrated by a lot of things too, poor driving, too much rain, dog poo, crap tv, can I make a complaint and get Westminster to solve it?

b)they should probably look at helping out these little old ladies, sounds like they if they're always falling over, they should be given a Little Old Lady Lane

c) knocked down and abused by a cyclist - just the one? Fair enough, he sounds like an idiot, lock him up and make him drive a bus for 10 years.

And if they've got more officers on the street than the police, then they're over spending and should offload a few, rather than make them profitable.

AndyyK's picture

posted by AndyyK [40 posts]
7th December 2009 - 12:22


Frustration? Frustrating is what happened to me on Friday. Cycling up Vauxhal Street, I see a guy in a wheelchair getting off the pavement onto the road. Thought it was a bit weird and risky. Overtook him, with enough room, and got to the lights. I was waiting there, a car stopped on the advance box, so I positioned myself next to it. Suddenly, I hear an angry male voice "get out of the way". I immediately thought it might be the driver, but no, it was the guy in the wheelchair!!! He wanted to use the advance box!! Confused

He was quite rude, and it really pissed me off at first. On second thought, I thought that maybe he is in a wheelchair b/c he had a road accident...?

I just hope it doesn't happen again, though. Now that would be FRUSTRATING!! Angry

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
7th December 2009 - 13:09


Do Traffic Wardens in Westminster have the power to ticket cars stopped in mandatory cycle lanes? In Cambridge they don't, and the police never enforce it.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1403 posts]
7th December 2009 - 15:02


Lets be honest - who's going to stop for the warden trying to give you a ticket - stationary vehicles its pretty easy... Now a bicyle on a pavement putting risk to little old ladies - I ain't gonna throw myself in front of them and shout "STOP".

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
7th December 2009 - 16:35


So would wardens have powers of detention? Err, no. So what's the point? It won't work. Does the council have figures for how many little old ladies have been intimidated by cyclists? Perhaps the council has data for how many little old ladies have been knocked down by cars, trucks and buses though. In fact, if the council doesn't have the latter it's failing in its job. And if the figures don't suggest that the latter is the cause of 100x the number of accidents (at least) I'll be somewhat surprised.

By the way, the guy on the bike in the photo looks a bit, like my old mate Robin.


posted by OldRidgeback [2492 posts]
7th December 2009 - 18:51

1 Like

That's just comical, I can just imagine every single person that gets asked to stop giving a cockney wideboy 'Faa*** orrrrf'.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [316 posts]
9th December 2009 - 12:13