Greater Manchester Police hail success of initiative taken in response to local concerns despite seemingly low hit rate

Police in Greater Manchester have described a three-week campaign targeting pavement cyclists as a success – despite warning or fining an average of just under two transgressors a day, only half of whom were issued with £30 fixed penalty notices.

The clampdown, initiated on November 17, followed complaints by residents, businesses and shoppers regarding anti-social cyclists in The Rock and Kay Gardens in Bury and resulted in 21 cyclists being fined, with a further 19 warned about their behaviour.

By any standards, it seems a remarkably low ‘hit’ rate, especially when weighed against recent police initiatives elsewhere targeting law-breaking cyclists, such as one in Norwich that saw nearly 200 cyclists stopped, although it should be acknowledged that people riding without lights and not just pavement cyclists were targeted in that instance.

Inspector Charlotte Cadden of the Bury East Neighbourhood Police Team, told the Bury Times: “Incidents of cyclists using pavements and pedestrianised areas to cycle around the town is a genuine concern and is regularly raised by residents at community meetings.

“Many people, particularly older people, can feel very intimidated by cyclists using footpaths and, of course, there is a real risk that someone could be hurt,” although the newspaper didn’t cite any specific examples of that having happened.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police added: “Officers have so far had a lot of positive feedback from shopkeepers.”

One, Julia Mcloughlin, manager of Help The Aged in The Rock, told the paper: “People cycling on the pavements has been a problem in recent years because sometimes they don't realise how fast they are going and it is unsettling for elderly people.

“I have noticed fewer cyclists in pedestrianised areas since the start of this scheme and I welcome it strongly,” she continued.

That does beg the question of whether cyclists who would otherwise ride on pavements or through pedestrianised areas are simply dismounting the second they see a police officer ahead of them, although the number of cyclists stopped in other police campaigns such as the one in Norwich cited above suggests that errant cyclists only register a police presence once it is too late for them to stop.

Meanwhile, police in Southend have adopted a different approach towards cyclists caught riding their bikes in areas reserved for pedestrians. As reported last month on road.cc, rather than issuing fixed penalty notices, Essex Police are instead offering Bikeability training to cyclists.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.