Cambridge cyclist receives criminal record for cycling on the pavement

Tried in court after being stopped by police

by Sarah Barth   December 9, 2012  

Gavel

A cyclist in Cambridge now has a criminal record after he faced a Magistrates’ Court trial for cycling on the pavement.

David Arnold, 35, was one of 40 cyclists who were caught on the pavement in Arbury Road in a police sting.

They were all offered the opportunity to pay a fine, but Arnold refused, saying that the footpath had been mixed use further along, and there had been no signage to indicate bicycles were no longer permitted.

He was convicted of riding a pedal cycle on a footpath after a one-hour trial at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, and was fined £30 plus a £15 victim surcharge. The fixed penalty notice that he was offered on the day would have been a £30 fine.

However Arnold now carries a criminal record, potentially something he has to declare to employers and other officials.

Cambridgeshire police defended their actions though, saying that local communities had requested the crackdown, because they were angry that cyclists dodged traffic lights by cycling on the pavement.

A spokesman told Cambridge News: “We want cyclists to stop using the pavement as they pose a danger to pedestrians.

“We will continue to carry out enforcement days and anyone caught riding on pavements faces being fined.

“Ultimately we do not want them riding on the pavement, but if they do we will give them fixed penalty notices and it is their decision to contest that.”

Mr Arnold said after the trial: “I have cycled along that bit of pavement on what must be 500 occasions. I am not the only one who is confused by this.

“There must be better signage so people know when they can cycle on pavements and when they can’t so this does not happen to anyone else.”

Colin Rosenstiel, a cyclist and city councillor, said some of the signage in the city was “appalling” and he was surprised the cyclist was made to go through legal proceedings.

He added: “It’s a bit harsh if he was saying he was genuinely confused by the signage. The trouble is as a cyclist you are trying to stick to the law and some of the signage does not help at all.”

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: “Shared use footpaths are clearly marked and our advice to cyclists would be that unless the footpath is clearly signed as such they should not use it as a cycleway.”

 

45 user comments

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stumps wrote:
Finally are we, as cyclists, above the law ? No, so stop complaining when one of us is nabbed for doing something wrong regardless of how minor it is.

It annoys me when people cycle on pavements and its good to see people being fined for it. In this case though, I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he acted in good faith and the signage was lacking.

Shared use paths are a ridiculous idea in the first place though, the fact they're poorly defimed and can land you in court is yet another reason to not use them. They are only useful as a cop out for councils to put up signs on the cheap and claim they've implemented cycle routes when in reality they've not done anything at all to make the roads safer.

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
9th December 2012 - 17:35

1 Like

CraigS wrote:
stumps wrote:
Finally are we, as cyclists, above the law ? No, so stop complaining when one of us is nabbed for doing something wrong regardless of how minor it is.

It annoys me when people cycle on pavements and its good to see people being fined for it. In this case though, I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he acted in good faith and the signage was lacking.

Shared use paths are a ridiculous idea in the first place though, the fact they're poorly defimed and can land you in court is yet another reason to not use them. They are only useful as a cop out for councils to put up signs on the cheap and claim they've implemented cycle routes when in reality they've not done anything at all to make the roads safer.

Totally agree, they then coerce the Police into trying to regulate them with ops like the one which got this bloke into the clarts.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2826 posts]
9th December 2012 - 17:53

3 Likes

Rule number 1 when riding on the pavement:

If the police try to stop you, ride away real fast.

Municipal Waste's picture

posted by Municipal Waste [191 posts]
9th December 2012 - 18:39

1 Like

Good old Cambs Police cocking it up again. That piece of road is perfectly wide enough for pedestrians and cyclists. Cars even illegally park there if you want to be technical about it. Did they receive tickets?

The case is more about not losing face in court, not about whether its in the public interest. Another stupid prosecution. Paint a white line and stick a cycle symbol on it. Bad cyclist can still be prosecuted - wherever they ride lawfully.

Cambs Police would probably try to stick cyclists on if they dismounted and ran with their bikes to the other side of the lights before getting back onto their bike in the road. A perfectly lawful move but would somehow still piss people off...

posted by Critchio [117 posts]
9th December 2012 - 21:24

3 Likes

It is a stupid ruling if you ask me. Far more serious offences get ignored every day.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2288 posts]
9th December 2012 - 21:38

3 Likes

All that tax payers money spent to charge someone £45, a loss of 2-3 grand. I dont support riding on the pavement but come on, what a joke?

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [386 posts]
9th December 2012 - 21:57

1 Like

if the chap goes for a new job and the employers read that he was charged for riding a bicycle on the pavement it would have to be a strange company that thought the criminal charge was a risk to their business. GBH, drink driving? yes. Cycling on a pavement? No.

From the link above the signage is definitely confusing. If the path has stopped it should be marked End, some indication that it does not continue or that cyclists should join the road. One for Crap cycle paths?

Finally, a quick pervy pan by 90d shows a great scene, cyclist stopped at red light and white van ready to terrorise the cyclist... action!
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Arbury+Road,+Cambridge&hl=en&ll=52.2260...

posted by kitkat [221 posts]
9th December 2012 - 22:47

8 Likes

Just thought I'd correct a few legal misconceptions.

He does not get a criminal record. That is nonsense. Riding on the pavement is a non-recordable offence. It will not appear on a list of convictions.

As stated, a victim surcharge is paid in all cases where there is a fine. It goes towards supporting victims of crime generally rather than the victim of the specific case. In fact victim surcharges are now imposed whatever the sentence.

There was no reason for the case to cost taxpayers thousands of pounds. He could have paid the fixed penalty notice!

The period during which a criminal conviction has to be declared to a potential employer has now been drastically reduced. In the case of a fine it is now 12 months from the date of conviction but as stated above this is not a criminal conviction.

posted by Jerm [39 posts]
9th December 2012 - 23:09

4 Likes

no justification for riding on a pavement, he was in the wrong and got caught, fair dos.. what I find odd is that he went to court instead of just pleading guilty, that in itself suggests he thought he could argue a case to be outside the law - sound a bit of a knob, which is perhaps an explanation as to why he was riding on the pavement in the first place

spindoctore's picture

posted by spindoctore [49 posts]
10th December 2012 - 4:52

0 Likes

I hope the guy who decided to go to court weighed up the potential consequences

I don't live in Cambridge but i know i've seen plenty of disappearing shared use paths elsewhere and not sure if this is correct:
“Shared use footpaths are clearly marked and our advice to cyclists would be that unless the footpath is clearly signed as such they should not use it as a cycleway.”

a comparable situation would be a driver going to court because the move from a 40mph to 30mph zone not well signed - need a very good lawyer - default is lights/built up = 30 - default pavements = no cycling

big issue is that police are under pressure from local politicians to sort pavement cycling because of complaining pedestrians - what pedestrians and cyclists need is more room - but no politicians will push to reduce road space for cars and operations like this just
i'm sure would have been more cost effective to hand out cycleroute maps and help people plan journey better

antigee's picture

posted by antigee [169 posts]
10th December 2012 - 7:59

4 Likes

This kind of thing is why I avoid shared use paths as much as possible.
They have a tendancy to end with little or no warning, or have a gap wher you are not sure if you are allowed to cycle or not.

posted by thereverent [314 posts]
10th December 2012 - 9:11

1 Like

bikecellar wrote:
I wonder how many fixed penalty notices have been issued to motor vehicle drivers driving onto footways, usually to park ?

+1.

I see cars parked wholly on the pavement. What fine for them?

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [208 posts]
10th December 2012 - 9:35

2 Likes

Jerm wrote:

The period during which a criminal conviction has to be declared to a potential employer has now been drastically reduced.

Is this because you can now get charged for even the slightest indiscretion? After all farting in public upsets someone Devil

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [468 posts]
10th December 2012 - 10:17

1 Like

Jerm wrote:
Just thought I'd correct a few legal misconceptions.

The period during which a criminal conviction has to be declared to a potential employer has now been drastically reduced. In the case of a fine it is now 12 months from the date of conviction but as stated above this is not a criminal conviction.

Depends on the offence and the rehabilitation period that follows. If we, as Police, search a persons record a conviction will always show up regardless of the time period, you just dont have to declare it to an employer.

There are certain jobs where, regardless of time period, you have to declare. If you check Rehabilitation of
Offenders Act 1974 it shows you the chart with time periods. Obviously the Govt is in the process of altering these time periods at the mo so some may have already changed.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2826 posts]
10th December 2012 - 10:47

2 Likes

Good to see. More of the same would be great.

posted by andyp [1013 posts]
10th December 2012 - 12:27

4 Likes

It's delicious - if you pan the view to the right and zoom in you will see a man, apparently in late middle age, riding a bike on the pavement!

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
10th December 2012 - 13:46

4 Likes

Putting aside the rights and wrongs of Cambridgeshire plod persecuting cyclists (don't you have any burglaries or robberies to solve? you might well ask) and the atrocious conditions which apparently have earned Cambridge the title of "UK's top cycling town" (er, what?)it does appear to me that the defendant here made a grave error of judgement in contesting the FPN.

If you look at google streetview - perhaps not a definitive guide but all we have - you can see that there is a shared use path on Milton Rd both sides of the Arbury Road junction, in each case set on the right hand side of the road as it approaches Arbury Rd. There is a clear "End" plate on both paths at that junction. Arbury Rd itself, and Union Lane opposite, appear to have no cycle paths at all.

If this chap decided to challenge the case he would have been a lot safer to engage a good solicitor - perhaps one of those who seem successful at getting footballers off speeding charges on the basis of technicalities about signage - rather than attempt to defend himself. That of course would have cost a lot of money. Coughing up the £30 FPN would have been much wiser, even if it does stick in the craw.

I wonder whether his case is strong enough, in relation to defective signage, to get assistance from the CTC defence fund? Remember Daniel Cadden, convicted of inconsiderate cycling for riding on a road insead of a glass-strewn cycle path, whose conviction was overturned on appeal?

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
10th December 2012 - 14:49

2 Likes

I'm local...

You're correct that the bottom end of Arbury Road and Union Lane there is no cycle lane; it isn't clear at all whether on the run up to that junction on Milton Road there is a cycle lane (if heading up Milton Road as if to turn Left on to Arbury Road). And as such it may seem not unreasonable that you can continue up Arbury Road for a distance.

If we interpret the infrastructure as ending at the roundabout before Arbury Road then we must ask why this shared use facility vanishes as soon as its actually required.

The problem here is simple enough - you can't morally prosecute someone where the signs are so ambiguous, and he interprets their meaning in what is the safest way. I hope everyone would agree that to do so is a nonsense.

posted by Gnomeicide [7 posts]
10th December 2012 - 15:59

1 Like

spindoctore wrote:
no justification for riding on a pavement, he was in the wrong and got caught, fair dos.. what I find odd is that he went to court instead of just pleading guilty, that in itself suggests he thought he could argue a case to be outside the law - sound a bit of a knob, which is perhaps an explanation as to why he was riding on the pavement in the first place

Your interpretation is flat out wrong - he's gone to court because he's not passed a sign saying the cycle lane ends. Cambridge Evening News article tells us that he was at the junction of Milton Road and Arbury Road - he hasn't passed a sign telling him the shared use facility has ended (not one that makes sense to anyone anyway - most cyclists on the shared use path remain on the pavement to that junction). And he's been done for it. Thats flat out a misuse of police time and resources.

If there isn't a sign telling you the shared use facility has ended, why ought you assume that it has?

posted by Gnomeicide [7 posts]
10th December 2012 - 16:03

3 Likes

The time periods have just been changed under Section 139 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offecnders Act. Although convictions are available to the police that isn't most people's concern. Most people are concerned about how they affect their employment.

The reason that there was a change in the time periods is that those with convictions who needed to be steered away from a criminal lifestyle were finding it impossible to do so because they always had to declare their convictions. Whether one agrees with that or not, that was the reason.

As you say some jobs such as those involving the govern,ent or child are require you to declare them in any event but even then you wouldn't have to declare cycling on a pavement!

posted by Jerm [39 posts]
10th December 2012 - 20:01

6 Likes

Jerm wrote:
As you say some jobs such as those involving the govern,ent or child are require you to declare them in any event but even then you wouldn't have to declare cycling on a pavement!

The government and companies involved in children / pensioners will make a full convictions search prior to interview so if you tell fibs you will be caught out, regardless of offence its still a conviction.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2826 posts]
12th December 2012 - 6:03

3 Likes

Sounds like some legal advice would have been useful. As comes free with CTC or LCC membership. Probably to members of BC too.
The 3rd party insurance is handy too.

posted by Recumbenteer [149 posts]
12th December 2012 - 19:17

2 Likes

Considering the pressure that is growing for a Go Dutch type system you think simple things like making the transport infrastructure easy to understand would take some sort of priority but alas no...

On a secondary note, Due to unclear signage, pedestrians tend to wander all over "shared space" cycle lanes and when cyclists wizz past get pissed off. My route for instance has a shared space cycle lane on the A23 by a bus shelter and roundabout that are so laughable and have no way of making it clear to joe public there might be bikes coming. Spot the bike lane http://goo.gl/maps/xRlnZ

Thirdly- How may pedestrians get done for J - walking a year i wonder?

posted by Nzlucas [105 posts]
12th December 2012 - 21:56

5 Likes

Re. Jay-walking; there is no such offence in UK law.

posted by don_don [149 posts]
12th December 2012 - 22:38

2 Likes

Jerm wrote:
Just thought I'd correct a few legal misconceptions.

He does not get a criminal record. That is nonsense. Riding on the pavement is a non-recordable offence. It will not appear on a list of convictions.

As stated, a victim surcharge is paid in all cases where there is a fine. It goes towards supporting victims of crime generally rather than the victim of the specific case. In fact victim surcharges are now imposed whatever the sentence.

There was no reason for the case to cost taxpayers thousands of pounds. He could have paid the fixed penalty notice!

The period during which a criminal conviction has to be declared to a potential employer has now been drastically reduced. In the case of a fine it is now 12 months from the date of conviction but as stated above this is not a criminal conviction.


[[[[[[ But why should he "pay the fixed penalty"? Wouldn't that be an admission of guilt? The guilty party here is the local council, for neglecting to provide proper signs at the end of the shared-use section. In this cyclist's position, I would be appealing the court's decision immediately. Was he represented in court by an idiot?
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [304 posts]
12th December 2012 - 22:50

5 Likes

Seems to me he has good grounds for an appeal. Peterborough is plagued with shared use cycle paths and they are really badly signposted. In some cases you're already on the wrong path before you realise and there is no road to ride on alongside. Good to see the City Councillor backing him too.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [291 posts]
12th December 2012 - 23:02

5 Likes

I was fined £30 for riding at 2mph on an empty pavement for a distance of ten yards. When I asked the officer if he was going to do anything about the 4x4 parked on the cycle lane directly behind him, he just said it wasn't his job.

posted by matthewuniverse [17 posts]
13th December 2012 - 0:20

5 Likes


But why should he "pay the fixed penalty"? Wouldn't that be an admission of guilt?

Totally agree; it's just an attempt to bully you into admitting guilt that you to not agree with.


The guilty party here is the local council, for neglecting to provide proper signs at the end of the shared-use section.

In my opinion the police share the blame, for failing to recognise the problem, and for abusing their powers.

posted by matthewuniverse [17 posts]
13th December 2012 - 0:30

1 Like

Cambridge signage is woefully inadequate. Leaving a 20 zone in the town centre there is a sign that marks the end of that zone. There is nothing to warn you that you have subsequently entered a 20 limit. With normal street lighting and no zone 'furniture' it is easy to imagine that you are in a 30 limit and it is only when they have been pointed out that the (smaller than usual and poorly sited) repeaters are evident. Repeaters are not enough, and if you have to search for them then you're not looking for pedestrians who have meandered onto the road, are you? Driving around Portsmouth there is absolutely no doubt about the speed limit/zone, there are signs painted on the roads and huge signs at the entrance to each zone/limit.
My guess is Cambridge want to A. Save money at road users expense. B. Don't want to litter their streets with ugly signage. At road users expense. C. Both of the above.
I hope they'll be censured/made to do something about it, but I bet they won't be required to compensate all those who've unwittingly fallen foul of their rubbish signage.
Shame on Cambridge Council.

posted by Laurence [7 posts]
13th December 2012 - 10:43

0 Likes

Great picture of a street furniture zone with a bike lane attached

posted by adaminbristol [2 posts]
13th December 2012 - 11:46

1 Like