A cyclist who strayed into the pedestrian side of a shared use path has been fined £50 by a police officer.
Kristian Gregory, of the Croydon Cycling Campaign, was riding along the New Kent Road on Thursday morning when he was stopped by the officer who asked him why he was not riding on the cycle path. Responding that the path was shared use, Kristian is then told that he is in fact on the footpath.
As seen on helmet camera footage Kristian points out that the ‘cycle path’ is blocked at one point by a telephone box which he is forced to move into the footpath to avoid, but the officer is unswayed by his protests that he is making the best of a very bad situation and a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued. It would also seem to be impossible for cyclists to reach the crossing seen at the end of the footage without also crossing the footpath.
According to the Highway Code, when using segregated tracks cyclists must keep to the side intended for cyclists as the pedestrian side remains a pavement or footpath.
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark's cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transport, told the SE1 website:
"Although this is not a Southwark Council managed road, we've already contacted the police asking them to review enforcement action on this stretch as cyclists are forced to cross the pavement to get safely across the New Kent Road.
"We want to encourage and increase the number of cyclists in Southwark, but need to get the balance right between what looks like overzealous action in this case and the safety of others on roads and pavements.
"I am also asking Transport for London to look urgently at the design of the cycle path on the New Kent Road which appears to be the cause of these problems.
"This highlights how we need better design for cyclists across London, which is why we are leading the way by bringing in Danish and Dutch experts to help come up with the best and safest solutions to get more people to cycle and significantly reduce casualties at the same time."
Kristian said: "When the FPN for cycling on the pavement was introduced, the minister responsible at the time, Paul Boateng stated: 'The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users. '
"Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road.
"Sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.
"I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law and would support Paul Boeteng's original guidance."
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.