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Tried in court after being stopped by police

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.”

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

45 comments

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bikecellar [268 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder how many fixed penalty notices have been issued to motor vehicle drivers driving onto footways, usually to park ?

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fatbeggaronabike [759 posts] 3 years ago
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bikecellar wrote:

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

+1

The number of cars/vans parked half on-half off the pavement round my way is ridiculous but when you try to get anything done you end up being "piggy in the middle" because the police claim it's a parking offence and upto the council to enforce and vice versa when you complain to the council.  14

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nbrus [293 posts] 3 years ago
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"...fined £30 plus a £15 victim surcharge" ... Did he hit someone?

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BBB [295 posts] 3 years ago
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If only the police was so keen and efficient in dealing with drivers on mobiles.

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A V Lowe [568 posts] 3 years ago
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Interesting detail. In Scotland it seems the surcharging to £60 for an FPN includes putting 3 penalty points on your driving licence. This apparently has resulted in total confusion for the fines system when someone without a driving licence hits the system.

It always amazes me that the law can use a photograph of a motor vehicle exceeding the speed limit, passing a traffic signal showing a stop aspect (3 aspects = stop), using a road in contravention of TRO (no entry, buses only etc), and parking offences, and prosecute the registered keeper for that offence, unless the keeper provides details of the driver at that time, yet this simple process is not applied toe a 'carriage driven on the footway' that basic offence for which cyclists are also prosecuted (s.72 Highways Act 1835). Please ask your MP to ask why this anomaly exists, given that several hundred pedestrians are killed or injured annually by motor vehicles being driven on a footway. In Scotland we have, frankly, frivolous legislation proposed to create yet another offence - let's just stick with the basic offence and the option to award penalty points, or take a driver education course, as with the other traffic offences.

Motor cars became a recognised category, and were defined as carriages in 1903 (prior to this they had been categorised as road locomotives with the red flag restriction).

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cidermart [486 posts] 3 years ago
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nbrus wrote:

"...fined £30 plus a £15 victim surcharge" ... Did he hit someone?

I keep seeing this, victim surcharge  7 , in the local paper court sections for offences that have clearly got no victims. No doubt there is something official about it but it does smell suspiciously of a tax  39 Got to pay for their holidays some how  3

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nbrus [293 posts] 3 years ago
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Just done some googling...

Anyone given a fine after being convicted of a criminal offence in court will have to pay an additional £15.

The levy will go towards a fund to help improve services for victims of crime.

The £15 is a flat-rate charge and will apply no matter how big or small the fine.

The surcharge - introduced as part of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 - is part of an attempt by the home secretary, John Reid, to "rebalance" the criminal justice system in favour of victims.

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thelimopit [136 posts] 3 years ago
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I just had a quick perv on Streetview and it seems that this is the bit of pavement in question:
http://goo.gl/maps/9V8Kq

It seems a bit unfair really - the cycle path just ends and there's apparently no indication that cyclists must join the road. I would have given the guy the benefit of the doubt and a slap on the wrist, rather than ruining his chances of employment in the future.

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stumps [3186 posts] 3 years ago
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Firstly cycling on a pavement is not a crime, assault, theft, damage are crimes but this is not so i dont understand the victim surcharge for this.

Secondly the Police issue hundreds of thousands of tickets a year for motoring offences including phone use.

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.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Doesn't the offence get deleted after 5 years? Always wonder about this though in the digital age where records seem to be kept on everything for years.

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stumps [3186 posts] 3 years ago
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Nothing gets deleted. Basically if you are convicted for any offence it stays on the system and can be produced as previous convictions.

Cautions are slightly different for time periods but will stay on a record once created.

Points on your licence are removed, depending on the offence after time however if you are convicted at court for a motoring offence this record will remain but the points will be removed so it looks like you have a clean licence.

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Gnomeicide [7 posts] 3 years ago
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No, local paper makes it clear this was Arbury Road/Milton Road junction. Which is every bit as confused:
http://cambridgecyclist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cambs-police-arresting-cy...

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Gnomeicide [7 posts] 3 years ago
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You mean, if this were a motorist no one would be bellyaching that its unfair?

Bottom line - there is no obvious way of knowing the cycle route has ended. Why therefore assume that it has?

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a.jumper [845 posts] 3 years ago
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I rode that recently. I didn't notice there was any shared use pavement. I was on the road. It was pretty horrible. I guess some of the motorists were trying to bully me off the road then, if there was shared use nearby.

Aren't you allowed to use the footpath if you fear for your life, anyway? But it seems that wasn't the defence used here.

Finally, if they're catching that many, even in Cambridge, it sounds like the signs are probably duff.

By the way, about motorists - I used to keep meeting them in the bus/disabled/taxi-only stretch in Weston-super-Mare. Never heard of anyone prosecuted for that. Not surprised, as the signs weren't great.

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Mostyn [396 posts] 3 years ago
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While I believe we should all adhere to the law of the land, on this occasion I believe the law to be an Ass. Talk about making a mountain from a mole hill! This man was made out to be a criminal where there was no criminal intent. The law is certainly an asshole.

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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stumps [3186 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Municipal Waste [238 posts] 3 years ago
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Rule number 1 when riding on the pavement:

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

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Critchio [163 posts] 3 years ago
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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...

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OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 3 years ago
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It is a stupid ruling if you ask me. Far more serious offences get ignored every day.

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Simmo72 [584 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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kitkat [313 posts] 3 years ago
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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...

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Jerm [39 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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spindoctore [53 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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antigee [278 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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thereverent [390 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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mingmong [254 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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cidermart [486 posts] 3 years ago
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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  19

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stumps [3186 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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andyp [1436 posts] 3 years ago
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Good to see. More of the same would be great.

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