New force to be reckoned with for London's "rogue cyclists"

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

by Martin Thomas   August 20, 2010  

Midtown Ranger

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.”

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

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.

posted by graemeshaw [21 posts]
20th August 2010 - 18:21

3 Likes

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.

Simon Mason, Kingston upon Hull

posted by swldxer [34 posts]
20th August 2010 - 18:34

4 Likes

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.

posted by Chuck [461 posts]
20th August 2010 - 19:12

2 Likes

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

posted by 37monkey [144 posts]
20th August 2010 - 19:16

2 Likes

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.

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
20th August 2010 - 19:28

1 Like

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?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2445 posts]
20th August 2010 - 21:49

2 Likes

www.inmidtown.org

info@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.

posted by kilotango [7 posts]
21st August 2010 - 11:02

3 Likes

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.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [328 posts]
21st August 2010 - 14:25

4 Likes

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.

posted by wild man [290 posts]
21st August 2010 - 14:54

4 Likes

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?

TiNuts's picture

posted by TiNuts [95 posts]
21st August 2010 - 15:56

4 Likes

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?"

posted by David French [49 posts]
22nd August 2010 - 19:43

3 Likes

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?

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [435 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 8:23

3 Likes

Weaving through traffic is one of the reasons people cycle, because they hate being stuck in traffic, like cars, you know..?

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 9:53

2 Likes

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.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4177 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 10:32

2 Likes