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Operation Oatmeal caught over 100 cyclists and raised £1770 in fines

It's not a time of day you imagine too many cyclists - or pedestrians - will be out in the street, but in Spalding police officers chose 5am as the moment to launch a dawn raid on cyclists riding on pavements.

Operation Oatmeal, as it was known, was designed to target regular offenders in the hotspots of Pinchbeck Road towards Pinchbeck, Winsover Road towards Spalding, Hawthorn Bank and Halmer Gate - and 100 were spotted over the course of the activity.

59 of them receieved fixed penalty fines of £30, netting the force £1770 in total.

Sgt Stuart Brotherton, who led the operation, told Spalding Today: “The facts don’t lie – it was a shocking result. Cycling on the pavements is the second biggest concern in Spalding after street drinking.

“While the operation was taking place, one resident came out and shouted ‘bravo’.

“Of course, some were tweeting asking what we were doing – and I am sure many will think there are more important things we could have been dealing with.

“But whenever we attend community panels, pavement cycling is the one people are always complaining about.

“It is a serious crime. As soon as a rider takes to the footpath they are putting pedestrians at risk.

“This operation is sending out a clear message - when people ride a cycle they are riding a vehicle.

“There’s no excuse for the people who were caught and no point saying why can’t we be more lenient because we have been out before and they know they should not be doing it.”

During the operation, 10 cars were stopped for breaking the 30mph speed limit among other vehicles stopped.

According to Bikehub, police have been encouraged to take a common sense view when it comes to pavement cycling.

They say: 

On 1st August 1999, new legislation came into force to allow a fixed penalty notice to be served on anyone who is guilty of cycling on a footway. However the Home Office issued guidance on how the new legislation should be applied, indicating that they should only be used where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others. The then Home Office Minister Paul Boateng issued a letter stating that:

 

“The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

and 

I should stress that the issue is about inconsiderate cycling on the pavements. The new provisions are not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other road users when doing so. Chief officers recognise that the fixed penalty needs to be used with a considerable degree of discretion and it cannot be issued to anyone under the age of 16. (Letter to Mr H. Peel from John Crozier of The Home Office, reference T5080/4, 23 February 2004)

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.

31 comments

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nod [66 posts] 2 years ago
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The police are f***ing idiots. They're only interested
in arrest statistics and money generated from fines. Upholding the law and common sense don't factor into it.

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stefv [211 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm so glad in a time of public sector cuts, crimes that cause the most damage to society are being prioritised by the police.  22

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm truly astonished - your police are up at 5am to deliberately target something SO HARMLESS that's it is no longer an offence in Scotland?

Bravo indeed!

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jova54 [649 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

“It is a serious crime. As soon as a rider takes to the footpath they are putting pedestrians at risk...."

Seriously, at 5.00am. How long did the exercise last for?
And since when was riding on the pavement a crime? I thought it was public order offence.

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jasecd [388 posts] 2 years ago
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You hardly ever see cyclists on the pavement so if these are hotspots where this regularly occurs then it is probably for a reason - i.e the roads are either unsafe or extremely inefficient for cyclists.

How about a bit of common sense and working with cyclists to improve these junctions rather than persecuting them. This smacks of tacit discrimination towards cyclists.

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downfader [203 posts] 2 years ago
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jova54 wrote:

[Quote}“It is a serious crime. As soon as a rider takes to the footpath they are putting pedestrians at risk...."

Seriously, at 5.00am. How long did the exercise last for?
And since when was riding on the pavement a crime? I thought it was public order offence.[/quote]

Committing a public order offence is still technically breaking the law...  26

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downfader [203 posts] 2 years ago
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Not sure why it highlighted that part, my reply was the last sentence...?

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alronald [58 posts] 2 years ago
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On average 0.3 pedestrians per year killed by cyclists while on the pavement. Compare that to the over 50 per year who will die as a result of being struck by motorised vehicles while on the pavement. Not condoning antisocial or illegal behaviour, merely pointing out that the police's insistence that pavement cycling is a major concern may be slightly misguided

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dave atkinson [6209 posts] 2 years ago
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alronald wrote:

On average 0.3 pedestrians per year killed by cyclists while on the pavement. Compare that to the over 50 per year who will die as a result of being struck by motorised vehicles while on the pavement. Not condoning antisocial or illegal behaviour, merely pointing out that the police's insistence that pavement cycling is a major concern may be slightly misguided

their hands are tied to a certain extent, in that they have to ask the public what's important and then prioritise that, rather than relying on stuff such as 'evidence' and 'genuine risk'. which is obviously bullshit. but there you go.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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“The facts don’t lie – it was a shocking result. Cycling on the pavements is the second biggest concern in Spalding after street drinking."

LOL - I bet driving is more of a concern but the nimby's who are probably drivers whinge about the problem they seemingly cause.

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Simon E [2652 posts] 2 years ago
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Reminiscent of the crackdown / blitz / whatever on anti-social cycling in Manchester reported two days ago:

http://road.cc/content/news/86258-hundreds-fined-police-clamp-down-anti-...

If only they took dangerous and illegal driving half as seriously. Greater Manchester crime stats for April 2013 from http://www.ukcrimestats.com/Police_Force/Greater_Manchester_Police

Anti-Social 10,892
Burglary 2,391
Robbery 295
Vehicle Crime 1,697
Violent Crime 2,384
Other Crime 8,266

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BenMWilliamson [27 posts] 2 years ago
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'Operation Oatmeal'? That is creative genius right there!

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zagatosam [54 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah, but they don't seem to prioritise what we (as the cycling public) consider to be important.  13

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mattsccm [327 posts] 2 years ago
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And just why is there a problem.
Riders were caught breaking the law and thus showing the world what twats they are. The fact that so many were caught shows that at this place there was an issue. It might not be where you are but there is obviously was.

You cannot say that the police should be out "doing something more useful" . They have to do a little bit of everything even if you don't like that.
The local resident's are presumably happy and their vies has value whereas those of you who live elsewhere have no say in the matter.
Grow up Citizen.

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doc [167 posts] 2 years ago
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Just a thought. Is the traffic flow at 5 am in Spalding so heavy that some people feel the need to ride on pavements for their own safety? If not, why are they doing it? There's probably more to this than is obvious, so over reacting without actually knowing all the facts is a bit daft, and just another polarising problem. There are not "cyclists" and "motorists", and "public" and "pedestrians" and "police". There are humans wanting to stay safe, do their jobs, be treated with fairness and consideration. Amongst the humans are some nitwits who consider they are entitled to do what they like and don't care about anyone else. Unfortunately some of the "militant" cyclists in this group give us all a bad name, and might even be the cause of someone getting badly hurt due to irritated and unattentive road users who have just encountered one of these "militants". Message to the militants, you are not helping, pack it in, we justall want to survive and enjoy life. Message to stupid drivers, pedestrians (of which we are almost all at some time), be kinder and more considerate. Then the world is a less polarised and happier place.

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ScotchPoth (not verified) [368 posts] 2 years ago
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Police hve got fuck all better to do,go and catch some burglers you useless pricks

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wobblerthe1st [5 posts] 2 years ago
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ScotchPoth wrote:

Police hve got fuck all better to do,go and catch some burglers you useless pricks

Strangely enough most criminals, like the burglars you suggest they deal with, use transport to get around and a lot use a bike, so at 5am thay are not out catching club riders or people who use a bike properly (i.e within the law) but more likely to catch a burglar or at least get them through the courts using this method.

If you want them to deal with motorists more or anything else get yoursleves down to a your local Neighbourhood team and moan at them, obviously these officers had lots of people moaning at them about cyclists.

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Argos74 [389 posts] 2 years ago
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Don't have much of a problem with this. Police are reacting to understandable local concerns. After policing costs, the revenue effect will be broadly neutral, so bringing in the moolah wouldn't have been even a tertiary consideration.

At 5am in the morning, heavy road traffic shouldn't be an issue. So there's really no excuse. We (cyclists) are road users. We use the road. Not the pavement. Riding on the pavement is illegal and scares the living daylights out of pedestrians, of which I'm one occasionally.

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teamjon [27 posts] 2 years ago
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+1 Argos 74 and wobblerthe1st.

Police safer neighbourhood teams or the like run priority setting meetings every couple of months in pretty much every district in England & Wales. The usual composition is
various council/police/residents representatives.

The usual turn out is one old doris complaining about dog poo, 3 slummy mummies complaining about school parking and the parish clerk complaining about speeding on their road. If a club load of cyclists turn up to make representations about this, that or the other, they are quite likely to get on the agenda as a priority, be that for the police or council. That's how come the poor sods in Spalding ended up being ticketed and doing the ticketing.

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pmanc [202 posts] 2 years ago
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Ah yes, but where I live in Manchester all parking issues have been passed to the council and are therefore not a police issue any more.

How is this relevant? Because when cyclists are on the pavement, rightly or wrongly - see the home office guidance in the article - the police will prosecute them. But all drivers on the pavement are considered to be parking, so the police want nothing to do with it. And the council don't give a toss either.

The system is broken.

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antigee [309 posts] 2 years ago
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5am in Lincolnshire - an area with food processing factories and seasonal agricultural work with non local labour that works long shifts and doesn't earn much doing it - suspect police are picking a very easy target and probably some of the poorest people around - not sure if this was the target consultations suggested but I guess a lot of people are happy

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djcritchley [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

“Cycling on the pavements is the second biggest concern in Spalding after street drinking."

Wow Spalding must be one really quiet place if pavement cycling is the second biggest concern.

Quote:

"100 were spotted over the course of the activity."

Whilst I don't condone cycling on the pavement, it's not clear whether these people chose to do so through laziness or for safety.
As the operation started at 0500 I assume that most of these people were commuting.

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stefv [211 posts] 2 years ago
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I disagree with the notion that police priorities should be based on who complains the loudest. Policing priority should be based on which 'crimes' cause the most damage to society (which can be empirically measured, e.g., http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1083212.stm).

I also don't think NHS treatments should be prioritised to those who shout the loudest. Some people will demand that their doctor gives them antibiotics when they have a virus - they are wrong.

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 2 years ago
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Despite what was said by the minister at the time it has become entrenched that cyclists shouldn't be on the pavement, however responsible they are.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were riding with our 10 year old daughter along a footpath through a Common. It was not only the most direct route to a cycle path but also avoided a narrow road with a nasty pinch point.

As we cycled slowly in single file to one side of the path - my wife in front, then our daughter, then me - a jogger coming the other way felt entitled to shout No Cycling at each of us as he passed. I imagine Sgt Brotherton would have had us fined as well to add to his statistics.

I'm so sick of cyclists being the whipping boys. I suspect much of the hatred which used to be formerly directed at immigrants, gays etc is now transferred to cyclists as an unprotected target.

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Carlton Reid [128 posts] 2 years ago
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Cycling on the pavement and parking on the pavement are the same offence, 1835 Highway Act.

http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/pavementparking/

I should imagine there were plenty of cars parked on the pavement in the same area the police were targeting but, oddly, police rarely seem to "clamp down on" or even seem terribly fussed about parking on the pavement.

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mr_leemur [35 posts] 2 years ago
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I was born, and grew up in Spalding, i still work their a couple of days a week.

There is a high migrant work force there, and you would well imagine that would bring a large ignorance of the law (let's face it, when you move to a new country you're unlikely to check if you can ride on the footpath)

Drinking in public is a vary visible problem there, and probably stands out more than the cycling on footpaths, but the thing that stands out about this is that many were caught on Pinchbeck road.

Most of pinchbeck road has a cycle path on it, has done for at least 20 years, it's connected to the sports complex which you can cycle through, which connects to the river on albion st, which i *think* has a cycle path, so there are many cycle friendly options, without ridding on the roads.

An operation like this i would imagine will have a massive educational benefit, if the migrant population were unaware that cycling on a foot path was against the law, there's a good chance they all are now.

Shock and awe.

I also agree that it may also possible to catch other criminals in the process. Spalding police (many years ago) caught a burglar carrying some of my Dad's tools, riding my bike, because it didn't seem right at the time of the morning he was doing it.

I see it a positive operation, and i'm sure my parents, who still live there, would agree.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Did the police do anything about the local resident who thought that it was acceptable to shout "Bravo" at 5 in the morning?

Creating a racket at the time of the morning should be punishable by death.

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HKCambridge [219 posts] 2 years ago
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In my area a police priority against anti-social cycling was overturned because cyclists attended the relevant meeting. The areas the police were targeting was genuinely badly signed (cycle routes that stop and start unclearly) on a dangerous road, and stats on the actual danger posed were presented. Helped that one of the local county councillors was also a cyclist.

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UrbanBushman [26 posts] 2 years ago
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Cycling on footpaths not next to roads is not a criminal act. These footpaths need to have By-laws to prevent cycling (i.e pedestrian town centers). Had a lovely debate with a community support officer as i was cycling down an ally way.

The sign may say no cycling but is totally unenforceable without a by-law. These will never give blanket bans on cycling but will have time restrictions. Amazing how many police officers are not aware of the laws they are trying to enforce.

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AWPeleton [3277 posts] 2 years ago
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Fines dont go to the force who issue them, it goes straight to the govt.

Since cameron and his cronies brought in crime commissioners you will find that these sort of operations will become more and more frequent. The commissioners have sent leaflets out asking what are the main problems the public face and the replies received relate to the policies they adopt for a force.

Rightly or wrongly the hands of the Police are tied. In the end though at 5am catching over 100 people riding on the pavement is obscene and any cyclist on this forum who thinks its ok is just as bad.

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