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Senior police officer warns Yorkshire villages to expect rise in anti-social cycling as every cyclist worth his salt tries out Tour route

Yorkshire may be preparing to embrace the Tour de France in summer 2014, but it appears that not everybody is happy about expected influx of cyclists keen to try out the route. Responding to a local councillor's complaints about large groups of cyclists speeding through the village of Embsay and acting "as a law unto themselves" Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins of North Yorkshire Police told the councillor to expect more cyclists in the area in the run up to next year's Tour Grand Depart, even though the village is not on the route.

Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins of North Yorkshire Police told Councillor Quinn that more cyclists were expected to visit the area ahead of next year’s Grand Départ, adding “we are aware there is a problem, but it will not change overnight.”
The Craven Herald also reported her as saying that cyclists had to be ‘re-educated’ and that her force would seek to liaise with cycling groups, as it had previously done with motorcyclists.

Chief Inspector Simon Lovell, police commander for the Craven area, said that up to 500,000 were expected to visit for the weekend of the Grand Départ, but said that in the months ahead “every cyclist worth his salt” was likely to wish to tackle the route.

The exchange took place at a meeting of the council’s select committee last Wednesday that focused on crime and disorder, with Conservative councillor Andy Quinn claiming that cyclists were riding at speed through villages including Embsay and failing to stop at red lights, including at pelican crossings, reports the Craven Herald.

“They are a law unto themselves,” maintained Councillor Quinn. “We have an elderly population in Embsay and we’ve had incidents where car wing mirrors have gone missing. Something needs to be done.”

Unusually for a local newspaper report, involving bicycles, the comments to the Craven Herald's article aren't full of the typical accusations of all cyclists breaking the law and how they shouldn't be on the road in the first place because they "don't pay road tax," a common misconception due to that tax being abolished in the 1930s.

Instead, the comments, including some from cyclists who appear to be neighbours of Councillor Quinn, highlight logging trucks, cars and caravans as posing the greatest danger on Embsay's roads as well as being responsible for those broken wing mirrors, and also highlight the imppossibility of cyclists riding through the village at between 40 and 50mph as he had claimed.

The village is on Sustrans regional route 10, the Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way, which forms a 130-mile loop, and lies a couple of miles north east of Skipton, which is on the route of Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France from Leeds to Harrogate. As a result, the area is predicted to see growing numbers of cyclists take to the road over the next sixteen months.

While cyclists are not bound by speed limits, as Bike Hub’s Cycling and the Law article points out they can be prosecuted for “riding furiously”, an offence under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act, or for “wanton and furious driving.” Riders are of course bound by laws to obey traffic signals.

While studies featured here on road.cc show that is only a small minority of cyclists who do regularly break the law, they are a very visible one, and the situation is not helped by the fact that some see them, rightly or wrongly, as being allowed to get away with behaviour that they believe would not be tolerated if they were behind the wheel of a car.
 

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

53 comments

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Dave Ody [20 posts] 2 years ago
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there is something that reminds me of the film Hot Fuzz... "for the greater good".

As Rick Robson (csphotos) points out under the Herald article - it's a nothing story which heightens tension between residents, motorists and cyclists. shame about all those new visitors to the area potentially parting with cash at local businesses.

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bazzargh [150 posts] 2 years ago
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"we’ve had incidents where car wing mirrors have gone missing"

That bit sounds highly unlikely to be cyclists?
1) less likely than a car to aim that close to a car
2) don't have the momentum to knock a mirror out of sight
3) mirrors don't fit well in jersey pockets...not that I've tried

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alotronic [437 posts] 2 years ago
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4) Lack of evidence of cyclist/mirror interaction e.g. bloodied cyclists lying on the road in pain after hitting said wing mirrors at speed.

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djcritchley [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah, you better watch out for cyclists; we're a bunch of b@startds.
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Simon E [2539 posts] 2 years ago
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Bit of a non-story really, it sounds like the kind of exchange at any parish council / community meeting.

I'm sure someone will have said "Huh, Embsay will get nothing out of this Tour de France business." Or perhaps "The youth of today, honestly!!"

As if cars and lorries don't terrorise whole communities already... (and no, I'm not exaggerating)

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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Just under a month until we take on the first two stages over a weekend. Bring on the haters!

The 'Hot Fuzz' reference is spot on.

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solkanofastera [24 posts] 2 years ago
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Elderly villagers with cars? An accident waiting to happen,

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Rick Robson [10 posts] 2 years ago
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To be honest I was ashamed of the Craven Herald newspaper for printing the councillors remarks as a news story with no evidence to back up his comments. Clearly nobody at the newspaper had read through his comments and weighed up firstly is it possible to ride through Embsay at 40 - 50 mph three abreast or is it really likely that cyclists are somehow removing car mirrors? As i said in my comments on the original article, it would be very hard to knock off a wing mirror without sustaining injuries to your hand or having a major stack into the tarmac.

This morning by 8.30 school run time in Embsay main street, two logging trucks had passed through the village - surely a far more likely culprit than a cyclist, if any wing mirrors are actually going missing? Have missing wing mirrors been reported to the police?

Love the switch at the Craven Herald from feigning interest in Cycling when they don't usaully care less when the Tour route was announced, a very quick revert to type.

Shame efforts locally don't go into fixing roads or educating truck drivers on the Grassington road that 6 inches isn't an exceptable distance to give a cyclist.

But hey-ho that probably wouldn't get Mr Quinn re elected.

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doc [167 posts] 2 years ago
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"Welcome to Yorkshire"....but NIMBY.

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thelimopit [135 posts] 2 years ago
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I think there's something up with the link to the Craven Herald. It's a local newspaper's website and there doesn't seem to be a single mention of "Road tax" or "Red light jumping" in the comments. Someone fleetingly mentioned pavement cyclists, but that's it. Might be worth looking into.

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stumps [3184 posts] 2 years ago
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bazzargh wrote:

"we’ve had incidents where car wing mirrors have gone missing"

That bit sounds highly unlikely to be cyclists?
1) less likely than a car to aim that close to a car
2) don't have the momentum to knock a mirror out of sight
3) mirrors don't fit well in jersey pockets...not that I've tried

Excellent comment, as usual it takes someone with a bit of common sense to spell it out to people. It makes you wonder how these people get elected as councillors.

If a cyclist hit a wing mirror i know who would come off worst !

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crazy-legs [703 posts] 2 years ago
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From the picture of Councillor Quinn, it looks like he could do with getting on a bike, the weight loss might lower his blood pressure back down.

Not sure it'd help with his lack of common sense though.

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cookdn [22 posts] 2 years ago
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//lh6.googleusercontent.com/-MEkFLU5M17o/UTm9hBQUgRI/AAAAAAAABCU/AEWNfon4hz4/s800/CouncillorAndyQuinn.jpg)

Shock - rotund rural councillor is a cycling bigot.  29

If papers (local and national) weren't so desperate to try and keep themselves relevant in the digital economy then the views of these idiots wouldn't get any publicity.

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mintimperial [18 posts] 2 years ago
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The comments on the Craven Herald non-story are refreshing. Only one gibbering simpleton blethering about pavement cyclists, and everyone else calmly and logically taking this piece of dimwitted hackery apart.

I'll make a mental note never to spend any money in Embsay in future though, nasty little NIMBYs.

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 2 years ago
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During Sportives I have seen groups of cyclists run red lights and it is annoying. I have never seen a cyclist take off a wing mirror but have seen a few cyclists taken down by one on a moving car.

My biggest bugbear after a mass ride is the number of dropped gel wrappers (not a concern of the article I note).

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phax71 [284 posts] 2 years ago
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"Riding Furiously ..."

Love it ...  1

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 2 years ago
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Just did a tiny bit of research. 40mph on the flat would require on output of around 1400watts. TdF riders manager less than half of that!

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Fixedwheelnut [20 posts] 2 years ago
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There seem to be a small minority of people in power with loud voices that spout this anti-cycling tripe and surely it is tantamount to 'incitement' by all means prosecute any one for cycling illegally but don't stir up trouble and incite road rage.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 2 years ago
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it was me - i knocked out the 40/50mph through the village - don't really like to boast about it - will fire the strava info up in a mo  3

oh sorry about that mirror but u know it was in my way  16

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Bill McLaren [7 posts] 2 years ago
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This does highlight one major concern of mine; the selfish few causing problems for the majority.

I would guess that that a tiny number of people have ridden like plonkers through the villages but, of course, they are the ones that stand out and are remembered by the locals who then see everyone as being a problem.

What does it cost to think about the effect on others round you, slow down a fraction when coming though a place people live etc.? After all that is exactly what we want car and truck drivers to do for us.

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mattsccm [324 posts] 2 years ago
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bit of a pointless article here. Of course some people won't be happy. After all it will be all loss for many as they will get an influx of cyclists which isn't always nice, even if they are angelic, and get nothing for it. Any gains will be for the wider community and very often that means just a few. Just like the Olympics. I won't see any benefit but I do see negatives.
To be honest all these comments, even mine would be better off not being published, including the news item. How about an extra pic of a nice bike instead?

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lolol [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Down with this sort of thing

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Francois [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Some people are strange, lobby the world to get the TDF through your place and then complain because it is actually coming. Have a party, but banners up, pain the roads, etc.. Cheer up!!! It's your opprtunity to show the world how good you can be!

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Captain Beaky [31 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a change from Craven Herald's normal concerns of dog crap and drunk driving...

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Francois [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Send Councillor Quinn an email andygill.quinn [at] virgin.net - Let him know what real people think!

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mrchrispy [434 posts] 2 years ago
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I hope the local hardware shops going to ban this muppet for buying carpet tacks over the next 18 months!!!

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Carl [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Today I was crossing Piccadilly in London when a motorist stuck in a jam decided to use the pedestrian crossing as a way to avoid the traffic and turn round. Though he apologised for almost running me over in the 'safe' area in the middle of the road, I was able to share with him my opinion that he was a moron.

Predictably he was driving a big car....

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big shug [35 posts] 2 years ago
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Surly ther's an opportunity for a closed road Etape in Yorkshire next year; that would put some money back into the locals' pockets. I'd love to ride a stage, but can't afford to do a stage in France; must be loads of others who would fill the B&Bs for a weekend.

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Dog72 [106 posts] 2 years ago
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Cyclists are a fucking menace. We need to Cull them like the Badgers & Romanians.
If it goes on much longer, more and more people are going to be healthier and have a great sense of well being from a recreational activity that doesn't involve guzzling pints and eating shit food.
As for the biggest bike race in the world coming to our shores it can only be viewed as complete waste of taxpayers money just like the shitty olympics.
You Couldn't make it up, Words fail me, etc. etc

What a fucking tool banging on about wing mirrors. Can you imagine the pain of clipping ones of those in a Rapha Soft Shell or a Flimsy pair of DHB tights?  3

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Simmo72 [583 posts] 2 years ago
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That to me is a goal, “you sir are riding furiously”, “why thank you officer”.

You should see my wing mirror collection, its worth the broken hips, legs, collarbones and frames......what a d**k.

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