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Midtown Rangers paid for by local businesses; will work with police to bring bad cyclists to book

Rogue cyclists in London are being targeted by private wardens paid for by local businesses.

The Evening Standard reports that people in Holborn and Bloomsbury are being encouraged to report bad cycling to the new street “rangers”, who are under instructions to alert the police.

Most receive a verbal warning but some have been given on-the-spot fines. Some could also be sent on a course highlighting the dangers of weaving in and out of traffic and riding too close to lorries.

The initiative has been launched by the inmidtown organisation, which represents about 550 businesses in an area around Holborn. Some have expressed fears that the Mayor's bike hire scheme will increase problems in central London.

The orange-jacketed wardens, the midtown rangers, are already helping visitors and workers and identifying criminal behaviour —including cash machine fraud — which is reported to police. The wardens were involved in the recent arrest of two drug users and also target rough sleepers.

inmidtown, which is funded by a levy on the business rates of its members, works with Transport for London and Camden council.

The organisation will be issuing a Considerate Cyclist Code next month, with 10 tips for better cycling. They will include:

  • Don't cycle on pavements
  • Don't cycle after drinking
  • Use back streets to avoid traffic

Tass Mavrogordato, chief executive of inmidtown, told The Standard, “We encourage cycling in the district and welcome the Mayor's new bike hire scheme. However, we need to ensure responsible cycling, for cyclists' own safety, as well as that of pedestrians.”

A spokeswoman for inmidtown told road.cc, “We are keen to encourage both new and experienced cyclists into the area and wherever possible, to travel off the beaten track and make the most of our side streets. Not only will this reduce congestion on the major roads and help us to reach our target of lowering carbon emissions by 10% but this will give cyclists the opportunity to explore some of the hidden gems of the district.

"The inmidtown Rangers are a friendly face for workers, visitors and residents alike. They are able to provide cycling advice, such as route-planning and shortcuts, and in partnership with the Police and PCSO’s, help improve the behaviour of a minority of poor and anti-social cyclists.”

Mark Ames of ibikelondon told the Standard, “While encouraging people to take to two wheels is a good thing, I don't feel that cyclists need their own rules on top of the Highway Code, which the police should be enforcing.

“However, all cyclists should cycle with consideration and know that pedestrians have number one priority.”

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc). 

14 comments

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graemeshaw [23 posts] 6 years ago
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How about we get some Rangers to inform to the Police about drivers who tail gate, speed, jump red lights, left hook cyclists, don't indicate etc? Once we have that sort of behavior resolved, then maybe we can start looking at inconsiderate (but mostly harmless) cyclists.

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swldxer [84 posts] 6 years ago
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How will cyclists using side streets reduce congestion?Surely the only way to do that is to reduce the number of motor vehicles on the roads. For them to say that advising cyclists to use side roads will reduce carbon emissions is a joke and the worst use of the carbon footprint argument I've heard. If they really wanted to reduce it by 10%, why not encourage drivers out of cars and onto bikes which would *really* reduce CO2.

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Chuck [556 posts] 6 years ago
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Makes a bit more sense if she meant:

"We are keen to encourage both new and experienced cyclists into the area [...] Not only will this reduce congestion...."

Although who knows what she meant. And +1 to graeme's point about drivers- cyclists sure are the low-hanging fruit.

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37monkey [138 posts] 6 years ago
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graemeshaw wrote:

How about we get some Rangers to inform to the Police about drivers who tail gate, speed, jump red lights, left hook cyclists, don't indicate etc? Once we have that sort of behavior resolved, then maybe we can start looking at inconsiderate (but mostly harmless) cyclists.

+1

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timlennon [210 posts] 6 years ago
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I bet I'm not the only one who's spent a fruitless few minutes trying to find a website or similar for this midtown outfit.

Personally I'm delighted these businesses are making so much money they want to pick a selection of customers to piss off.

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 6 years ago
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So why are they just targeting bad cyclists? The DfT data says that 85% of accidents involving cyclists are not the fault of the cyclist. Will they also target zoned out zombies wearing iPods? And what about nutter city boys in BMWs?

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kilotango [5 posts] 6 years ago
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www.inmidtown.org

info [at] inholborn.org

This is nonsense. I work in the area and rarely see cyclists on the pavement. In fact, it's more likely that crowds outside pubs spill into the street and block the cycle paths.

Inconsiderate parking, blatant bad driving and cars/vans/trucks red-light running are far greater hazards.

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Fish_n_Chips [486 posts] 6 years ago
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Well if you ride on pavements or weave through traffic then they can't stop you for anything.

If you cycle legally then you won't get stopped.

I would like to apply to all including bad drivers too as stated above by Graham.

Soon I'll start jogging and dump my bike!

Why don't they just bring in a set of rules for cyclists only and we can see what we can and cannot do as it is taking the pi55.

But yes there are idiot cyclists giving the rest of us a bad name.

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wild man [297 posts] 6 years ago
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The sort of cyclists who dodge traffic are hardly likely to be caught by a pedestrian in a daft uniform who is lower down the food chain than a PCSO. And even less likely to take any notice of their meaningless reprimand.

As I'm sure Simon in Kingston Upon Hull will know, a Hull cyclist was killed yesterday by a metal container falling from a lorry. It's so obvious who poses the danger on the roads.

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TiNuts [97 posts] 6 years ago
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Can we please have rangers who have the power to send to the crusher vehicles belonging to those incapable of not having a mobile clamped to their ear whilst driving?

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David French [50 posts] 6 years ago
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Stupid berk warden bloke: "Oi you.... you don't have brakes/went on the pavement/didn't signal/jumped a light"

Me: Rides off.

Stupid berk warden bloke gives chase: "Oi I am giving you a fine."

Me as I pedal away from him: "Yes I am fine thanks, how are you?"

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STATO [509 posts] 6 years ago
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Come on folks lets not just jump into the generic 'cycling is great' defensive arguments, has anyone actually read the article? they are there combatting all sorts of stuff of which one is dangerous cycling.

Im not supprised we have the same stock responses tho with that Daily Mail-esque title... 'New force to be reckoned with for London's rogue cyclists' ...really? Are you trying to get a job at the Mail Martin?

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 6 years ago
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Weaving through traffic is one of the reasons people cycle, because they hate being stuck in traffic, like cars, you know..?

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Tony Farrelly [2869 posts] 6 years ago
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I've changed the headline a bit statto rogue cyclists is now in quote marks - but it reflects the tone of the Standard report, which very much majors on the threat posed by errant cyclists and now seems to have added in fears posed by the arrival of the Boris Bike. Although having lived in the area I'd say the odd 'rogue cyclist' is the least of their worries… although if I was armed with only an orange tie it might be one of the first I'd consider tackling too.