Cambridge cyclists warned of police operation by passer by

Woman told bike riders that cyclists were being stopped for ignoring one-way signs

by Simon_MacMichael   October 13, 2010  

cambridge%20bikes.jpg

Police in Cambridge issued ten fixed penalty notices last week in a crackdown against cyclists riding the wrong way up a one-way street last Thursday, but were unaware that further up the street, a woman was warning other bike riders of the operation.

According to the website Cambridge News, police say that they would have arrested the woman for obstruction had they known what she was doing.

The police operation took place on the city’s Sidney Sussex Street, where officers managed to stop more than 20 cyclists for ignoring one-way signs and for riding their bikes in a no-cycling zone. They also checked for stolen bicycles and issued advice on bike security.

Bystander Royston Rose told Cambridge News that he had seen the woman tell as many as ten other cyclists of the police presence.

After giving his backing to the operation, he added: “Not so well done to the young woman who positioned herself further up the street to warn the law-breaking cyclists of the police activity.

“She and many others I am sure will feel she was performing a public service. How are we ever to rid Cambridge of the scourge of irresponsible cyclists whilst they are supported by such idiots as this young woman?”

PC Katie Norman told the website: “Many cyclists ignore the no entry signs in Sidney Street and many feel it is fine for them to continue cycling.

“We wanted to remind cyclists they were breaking the law and issued them with a £30 fine.

“We also took this opportunity to carry out checks for stolen cycles and educate cyclists about immobilize” – the website www.immobilise.com where owners can register their bike’s details – “and give general cycle crime prevention advice.”

PC Norman added: “The immobilise website is a great tool for uniting victims of bike crime with their property. I strongly suggest that cyclists visit the site and register their bikes today.”
 

27 user comments

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*mockney voice* Well aaaarrt of oooooorda.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [302 posts]
13th October 2010 - 9:14

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I don't know if this is a particularly dangerous street, but you would wonder whether the police don't have anything better to do? How many people have been killed or injured by poor driving in Cambridge? What's the level of street crime? I bet both are more serious but less visible threats to life, limb, and property in the city.

We're going to be asking that question as the annual cycling crackdown season approaches.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4127 posts]
13th October 2010 - 9:40

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You beat me to it Tony. Was going to suggest that maybe we should all move to Cambridge as it seems that there is absolutely no-one in a car breaking the law, therefore we will all be getting at least 3ft space at each overtake.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
13th October 2010 - 9:43

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Why the need to issue £30 fines? Why not just stand at the street entrance and warn them not to ride down it?

posted by Chrisc [136 posts]
13th October 2010 - 9:56

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As someone pointed out on Twitter: drivers warn other drivers of speed traps all the time (by flashing their lights), and you don't hear of those "helpful" drivers being condemned by the Police. Usual UK double standards apply.

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [86 posts]
13th October 2010 - 10:08

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if she tells people about the sting and then they don't break the law, then that's a good thing from a police point of view, no? Plain Face

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7181 posts]
13th October 2010 - 10:29

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It's a busy pedestrianised route. People don't expect bikes coming that direction. So it's good that plod stop the students cutting down from Huntingdon Road.

At the same time they should have Plod on Newmarket Road stopping the drivers in the bike lanes.

So if you're harping on, get over it. Next time you get squeezed by a car, it's because car drivers think all cyclists are law-breaking idiots who cycle the wrong way down one way streets and get what's coming to them. No, it's not fair, but "life isn't fair. Anyone telling you otherwise is selling something"

posted by lardychap [4 posts]
13th October 2010 - 10:41

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What's the difference between what the woman in this story was doing and signs warning speeding motorists that "speed cameras are in operation in this area"?

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [192 posts]
13th October 2010 - 10:44

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lardychap gets kudos for first Princess Bride quote on road.cc

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7181 posts]
13th October 2010 - 10:52

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tony_farrelly wrote:
I don't know if this is a particularly dangerous street, but you would wonder whether the police don't have anything better to do? How many people have been killed or injured by poor driving in Cambridge? What's the level of street crime? I bet both are more serious but less visible threats to life, limb, and property in the city.

We're going to be asking that question as the annual cycling crackdown season approaches.

Speaking as a Cambridge resident, I say that this is not a particularly dangerous street, and there is no reason why it couldn't be two way for bicycles.

The police do this every year at this time. I think it is to "welcome" the new students!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1315 posts]
13th October 2010 - 10:55

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dave_atkinson wrote:
if she tells people about the sting and then they don't break the law, then that's a good thing from a police point of view, no? Plain Face

Absolutely! It does bugger up the tickets issued quota tho... Wink
Surely the friendly warning approach is better than a heavy handed fine?

posted by Chrisc [136 posts]
13th October 2010 - 11:01

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I think that there should be a general regulation that permits cycling contra flows on all one-way streets ... after all it's usually motorised vehicular traffic that create the need for one-way streets not cycles. This would save the police (a lower case p, I think) some work, too.

Mike
-------__0
--- --- \_ \¬
------ (+) / (+)______ better by bike!

Mike McBeth's picture

posted by Mike McBeth [72 posts]
13th October 2010 - 11:23

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what's to stop you giving a false address (not that I
would of course !!!) for your fixed penalty ? Seriously
though - how do they check ? I certainly don't have
any form of ID when I'm out on my bike .....

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [639 posts]
13th October 2010 - 11:34

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It's a strange world that we live in where a person warning people of police action for a possible minor traffic offence could face prosecution if caught. Given that her warning has possibly made those offending cyclists think twice about offending again in the future, you have to ask whether her action has been of as much benefit as the efforts the police were making. If you ask me, the answer is yes.

I live in a part of London where shootings occur (another one last Saturday, not fatal at least) and where violent muggings occur (one directly outside my house as I ate dinner on Monday evening). I do find it rather curious when police choose to act on such low level offences and pretend more serious crimes don't exist. I'm sure far more serious drug-related offences occur regularly in cambridge for instance.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2067 posts]
13th October 2010 - 12:03

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A 26-yo female cyclist in Bath was recently fined *and fingerprinted* when she couldn't produce any ID after being caught pavement cycling:
http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/letters/cycling-fine-necessary/article-26482...

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [86 posts]
13th October 2010 - 12:55

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Agree with Dave - surely reminding people not to break the law is a good thing not an arrestable offence. i heard of a motorist using that as a defence for warning drivers about a speed trap many years ago. I think that nice lady was doing a great job.

posted by Boneshaker [18 posts]
13th October 2010 - 13:00

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This woman clearly has more clout with the threat of a fine than I have trying to stop cyclists (thankfully in a minority) from jumping red lights in London - this morning one muppet was inches from being mown down crossing Bayswater Road near Lancaster Gate. If only I had superpowers reminiscent of the old box junction public information films on the TV !

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [203 posts]
13th October 2010 - 13:13

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therevokid wrote:
what's to stop you giving a false address .....

There's nothing to stop you giving false details, but I believe you are committing another offence by doing so. Obviously they need to catch you at it.

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [226 posts]
13th October 2010 - 13:27

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Riding down one way streets, Jumping lights, pavement riding etc Is fine when your 8 on a BMX trying to recreate the Chase from ET.
Other than that its just ammo for the "you don't pay road tax" Daily Mail brigade, there's just a couple of them in Cambridge, tune into the open minded & progressive views offered on cycling & cyclists on the Cambridge News forums whenever there's a bike related story.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
13th October 2010 - 13:44

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no need to give the daily mail army any more ammunition.

I wonder what advice the police were giving on security?..."dont tell us when your bike gets stolen, we couldnt care less"

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1080 posts]
13th October 2010 - 20:04

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The other thing about Sidney Street is that it is on a very strong "desire line" for cyclists. Cycling south, contraflow cycling is permitted after the junction with Market Street. To avoid the one way bit of Sidney Street (for cyclists), you more or less have to go out of your way around three sides of a rectangle.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1315 posts]
14th October 2010 - 3:50

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while i don't condone reckless cyclists and i don't know the area or geography of the region, i often.. sometimes in full view of the PSNI[N IRISH police] Hop onto a pavement that avoids a hilly box junction with 3 sets of lights to avoid a dangerous and possibly injurious confrontation with dosy early morning car commuters.. well done that girl.. and i feel like some other posters... have the police nothing more useful to do, maybe the only palatable thing which may come out of these cuts is less jobs worths in police and other uncivil servants.. they might have to do real work for the first time in their lives, if anybody hires them!!!

cyclecrank

posted by CYCLECRANK [8 posts]
22nd October 2010 - 19:12

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The police tell us that speeding motorists contribute to 1000 deaths every year on our roads, where as being killed by a cyclist (on a pavement or riding the wrong way down a one way street) is almost unheard of.
Ironically the police would like to prosecute the woman for warning cyclists of the police "cyclist" trap, yet on Cambridgeshire Police Website their is a link to the location of all their Speed Camera sites, which means the police are only doing exactly the same as that woman.
Double standards I think from the police.

Steve

posted by gmccsteve [4 posts]
22nd October 2010 - 20:26

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"around three sides of a rectangle"

Sorry to be pedantic, but it's two sides of a triangle (the hypotenuse and the short side)

Wrong way cycling along here is a real problem though: it's busy and narrow with pedestrians wandering all over it.

Oddly enough, the lawbreaking came about because of the city centre cycling ban (now repealed): given that cycling was banned anyway, breaking another rule hardly mattered. The same applies on Trinity Street (the hypotenuse!).

I'd really like to see the police clamp down on the bullies in taxis who squeeze timid cyclists and/or drive on the pavement to get past.

Paul Robison

posted by paulr [6 posts]
5th November 2010 - 18:04

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props to paulr for first use of the word 'hypotenuse' on road.cc. what next? complex vectors?

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [301 posts]
5th November 2010 - 18:29

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t1mmyb wrote:
As someone pointed out on Twitter: drivers warn other drivers of speed traps all the time (by flashing their lights), and you don't hear of those "helpful" drivers being condemned by the Police. Usual UK double standards apply.

not so, it seems:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-12115179

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7181 posts]
4th January 2011 - 18:10

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t1mmyb wrote:
A 26-yo female cyclist in Bath was recently fined *and fingerprinted* when she couldn't produce any ID after being caught pavement cycling:
http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/letters/cycling-fine-necessary/article-2648237-detail/article.html

A comment on that story has some of the craziest logic I've ever heard:

“It seems to me that the cyclists who also drive cars are the offenders here.
They choose to ignor rules for cycling on pavements and no doubt choose to ignore any rules that do not suit them whilst driving.
The traffic offenders they see are no doubt cyclist who are trying to drive a car for a day.
Meanwhile all the people who stick to four wheels stick to the rules of the road.”

So even when a motorist drives like an arse, that's our fault as well! Mad as a lemonade sandwich...

Unless my sarcasm detector has fallen over.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2796 posts]
17th June 2012 - 0:10

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