The Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) is appealing for donations to help Kristian Gregory, who was recently issued a £50 fixed penalty notice after alledgedly straying off a sub-standard cycle path alongside London’s Old Kent Road.
After Gregory posted helmet-cam footage of the incident, the Metropolitan Police said they would ease off “over-zealous” enforcement on this spot. However, Kristian still faces a possible fine, as do many others fined for similar 'offences'.
In a similar situation last year, where cyclist Alex Paxton allegedly broke the rules in order to safely negotiate a junction whose advanced cycle line box was blocked by a car, a fixed penalty notice was dropped after a crowd-funded appeal.
In case you missed it, here's Gregory's helmet cam video of the incident.
As well as asking for his own fine to be annulled, Gregory wants them lifted from other cyclists fined for similar offences where cyclist have broken the rules in order to minimise the danger to themselves. He believes it is not in the public interest to prosecute him, or others fined at this same location, not least because the cycle track itself is poorly designed and signed, creating legal uncertainty.
Gregory and the CDF re also calling on the Met to reconsider the priorities of Operation Safeway. The crackdown on driving and cycling offences that was launched launched following a six cyclist fatalities in November 2013 has seen a disproportionate number of cyclists fined, yet the number of cyclist deaths in London so far this year is not significantly different from previous years. The Met should focus on evidence-based enforcement that targets the real dangers cyclists face, they say.
Alex Paxton, whose FPN was dropped after a crowd-funded appeal last year
The CDF believes Gregory has grounds to appeal his fine on a number of counts:
- The signing where he was fined fails to show clearly where, if anywhere, cyclists are allowed to turn right from the cycle track to cross the road.
- The crossing in question is a pelican rather than a toucan crossing - so cyclists have no clear right to use it either, despite the signing advising them to do so.
- The cycle track from which he allegedly strayed is narrow, well below national design guidelines and at onepoint is obstructed by a phone box a phone box.
- If cyclists are required to turn tightly to reach the crossing, as the PCSO suggests he should have done, this would be a further breach of national design guidelines.
Even if Gregory did ride from the cycle path on to the footway, Home Office guidance is that cyclists should not be fined for using pavements in a considerate manner for their own safety.
Gregory has been backed by Cllr Mark Williams, transport portfolio holder at Southwark Council. After Gregory's fine was issued, Southwark Council wrote to the Met and to Transport for London. In response, the local police and Boris Johnson's cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan have both agreed to put an end to what Williams describes as "over zealous" policing at this location. However, Kristian's own fine has yet to be cancelled.
Last November, the Met Police were forced to deny a report in the Times last November suggesting that police officers taking part in Operation Safeway had been set quotas to fine 10 cyclists a month.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.