Avon & Somerset Constabulary have produced a ‘Cycle Code’ leaflet telling cyclists how to behave on the road – and warning them of the legal consequences they could face if they don’t. The leaflet has attracted criticism on Twitter from cyclists.
Illustrated with a prominent ‘No Cycling’ sign, the leaflet says: “Police want cyclists to be safe on the road and not put themselves or anyone else at risk.
“However we are getting more and more complaints from pedestrians and drivers about cyclists riding irresponsibly.
“As well as putting themselves and others at risk of injury, cyclists could be committing offences.”
Those are listed on the leaflet, a picture of which was posted to Twitter by Bristol-based Boneshaker Magazine.
— Boneshaker Magazine (@boneshakermag) May 13, 2015
It lists four offences for which cyclists risk a £50 fine – riding on the footpath, ignoring red traffic lights, not displaying lights at night, and carrying more than one person on a standard bicycle – as well as outlining circumstances where the courts can impose tougher penalties.
It points out that cycling carelessly or dangerously can lead to a fine of up to £2,500, while causing injury through wanton or furious cycling can lead to a prison sentence of up to two years.
The leaflet came under criticism from several cyclists on Twitter, with tweets including:
— Alex Oates (@Velocentric) May 13, 2015
— Bez (@beztweets) May 13, 2015
— Louie Strychnine (@louiestrychnine) May 13, 2015
In late 2013, the first two weeks of a major road safety campaign run by the police force saw 365 drivers and 324 cyclists stopped for a variety of offences.
In the case of drivers, the most likely reason to be stopped was for encroaching on Advanced Stop Lines, while for cyclists it was riding through red lights.
At the time, Sergeant Sean Underwood, who led the operation said: “The campaign has been going really well.
“The more people we speak to, the more we realise that there is a genuine lack of knowledge of the law in this area.
“The fact that we have stopped and spoken to so many motorists for stopping in the cycle box just goes to show that people don’t realise this is an offence.”
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.