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Cycle campaigners agree with approach on anti-social cycling, but say better infrastructure needed

Cyclists in Avonmouth, Bristol, have received a letter from police telling them not to ride on pavements or through traffic signals. The letter, which has been welcomed by local cycling campaigners, forms part of a wider clampdown on anti-social cycling and was drawn up after concerns about people riding on pavements were raised at a neighbourhood forum.

In the letter, issued jointly with Bristol City Council, Avon & Somerset Constabulary says: "You are breaking the law when you cycle on the pavement. If you are found to be cycling on the pavement, you could have to pay an on-the-spot fine or be prosecuted." It is not clear whether the letters were sent to all households in the area, or didstributed in some other way.

The reverse of the letter outlines recommendations such as wearing a helmet and wheeling bikes across pedestrian crossings, as well as reinforcing laws including not riding on the pavement or through red lights, not to “ride dangerously, carelessly or inconsiderately," and not to "not hold onto other moving vehicles."

Bristol Cycling Campaign backed what it described as the “common sense” rules contained in the letter, with spokesman Eric Booth saying that it provided a "fair and complete summary" of the laws cyclists need to adhere to.

"We back the integrated approach from the council and police to tackle anti-social cycling on our streets,” he said, quoted by The Bristol Post, but added that issues such as pavement cycling were often due to a lack of adequate facilities for riders.

"But where there is a persistent problem it is usually the case that the engineering is not right,” he explained. “It is common that in areas where you find anti-social cycling, cyclists do not feel safe using the road plans in place."

Jon Usher from Sustrans added: "Everyone should abide by the law and many of these recommendations are a common-sense approach to encouraging a culture of mutual respect.

"Often cyclists feel they have no choice but to cycle on the pavement because speeding traffic and poor infrastructure make riding a bike on our roads so dangerous.

"We need more dedicated space for cyclists, slower speeds and improved driver training so that cyclists and pedestrians can travel safely."

As BikeHub’s comprehensive Cycling and the Law article written by Carlton Reid outlines, official guidance on issuing fixed penalty notices to cyclists riding on the footway is that they should only be given to cyclists riding inconsiderately, and there is an acknowledgment that at times, road conditions mean cyclists have no other safe option.

The Bristol Post adds that in June this year, Avon & Somerset’s chief constable, Nick Gargan, said he did not believe his officers should fine everyone found cycling on the pavement.

Nevertheless, the issue of anti-social cycling is one that regularly features at or near the top of list of residents’ concerns at neighbourhood forums, with riding on the pavement singled out as an area of prime concern that attendees want the police to address.

While most responsible cyclists share the view that riding recklessly or dangerously on the pavement is reprehensible, many argue that the emphasis given to the issue by neighbourhood forums is out of proportion to the danger in practice, and official statistics seem to back that up.

In 2011, the last year for which detailed statistics are available, according to the Department for Transport, there were 369 reported ‘accidents’ in which a pedestrian was injured following a collision with a cyclist.

Of those, 99 were classified as seriously injured, and there were 2 fatalities. The figures include all incidents, including for example when a pedestrian and cyclist collide while the former is crossing the road.

In the same year, 383 pedestrians were killed in collisions with vehicles other than bicycles, and nearly 5,000 suffered serious injuries.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

31 comments

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sfichele [140 posts] 2 years ago
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You shouldn't ride on the pavement! But...

//pbs.twimg.com/media/BRNmZWPCMAABA1j.jpg)

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crazy-legs [732 posts] 2 years ago
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I look forward to the next letter to all motorists telling them they mustn't use handheld mobile phones, mustn't speed, drive aggressively, park on double yellows, jump red lights, drive without insurance or tax, drive while under the influence of drink or drugs...

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klrsa05 [11 posts] 2 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

I look forward to the next letter to all motorists telling them they mustn't use handheld mobile phones, mustn't speed, drive aggressively, park on double yellows, jump red lights, drive without insurance or tax, drive while under the influence of drink or drugs...

+1

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Gashead [31 posts] 2 years ago
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Dear Pedestrians,

When walking onto the road ensure you look right, then left, then right again. Use of your ears hindered by headphones blasting out some generic R&B and peripheral vision while texting is insufficient.

Kindest Regards
The Fuzz

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jasecd [388 posts] 2 years ago
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What is the address for all cyclists? I might stop posting on this site if I can just send a letter to everyone who rides a bike.

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A V Lowe [573 posts] 2 years ago
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What an insult and waste of money with this scattergun approach. The action would be far better targetted to identifying some key footways (and there are many examples across the UK) where a regular flow of commuting cyclists are using the footway (please call it footway as pavements are carriageways as well).

Just as with speeding drivers the cyclists would be offered a choice between a fixed penalty fine, or a paid for course in adult on road cycling.

The situation would also be greatly improved by exemplary behaviour from Police cyclists and Police and Council drivers, who should, NOT be seen to ride or drive on a footway, and yes that includes parking there, as obviously the vehicle has to have been driven on the footway to park on it.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Imagine if the Dutch police wrote to 'cyclists' recommending they wear helmets.
Im sure there would be plenty of this
 24

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Carl [136 posts] 2 years ago
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Dear pedestrians and tourists: SOHO IS NOT PEDESTRIANISED!!! PLEASE LOOK BEFORE YOU STEP INTO THE ROAD.

Having vented that, I was amused to see a near collision the other day between a cyclist going through a red light and another cyclist coming the wrong way out of a one-way street, then yelling at each other as if the other was to blame.

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Goldfever4 [218 posts] 2 years ago
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Good. Bristol is mayhem in the main commuting hours due to jumping red lights and cycling on pavements.

Then again local pedestrians are useless at walking all over shared-use paths, I wonder if they'll get shouted at by Sustrans like I was yesterday...

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jackh [119 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

SOHO IS NOT PEDESTRIANISED!!! PLEASE LOOK BEFORE YOU STEP INTO THE ROAD.

Your right, although in my opinion large parts of it should be, except in the morning for deliveries...

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Mr Agreeable [171 posts] 2 years ago
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It's amazing that scarce police resources are being expended on doing this, and a sad indication that community forums might be skewing police priorities.

Coming up next: the murder investigation unit get reassigned to crack down on illegal photocopying.

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Saratoga [33 posts] 2 years ago
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Have Bristol police written to Bristol motorists telling them not to drive on pavements or jump red lights too? Thought not.

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crazy-legs [732 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

It's amazing that scarce police resources are being expended on doing this, and a sad indication that community forums might be skewing police priorities.

It's very similar to the way that Government policy is set by the Daily Wail.
Police/Government etc have to be seen to be "in touch" with the people but most of the time "the people" haven't got the faintest fucking clue...

Hence why engaging with the community is good but can be skewed by little Doris having "nearly been killed" by a pavement cyclist yesterday and it therefore being fresh in her mind.

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Mart [110 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not condoning riding on the path, but the fact that this is perceived as a problem by the police and council must surely highlight to them the requirement for cycle paths in said area.
As Buggies and wheelchairs have wheels, should they be on the pavement? skateboards? roller-skates? and my favourite - mobility scooters?

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5th [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Driving* back from work through Avonmouth a few weeks ago I witnessed the car in front of me at traffic lights pull away... while the lights were still red! He ended up bumper to bumper with a car emerging (legally) from the left, had the other car not been quick on the brakes there would have been an accident. I thought I'd do the responsible thing and phoned to through to the Police non-emergency number who told me to report it to Bristol central Police station. When I did so ideas told: "Nothing we can do, it has to be witnessed by a Police officer."

Anyone surprised? Anyone?? Thought not... must have been busy sending out letters.

*Some cyclists also drive - just in case no-one realised.

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turboprannet [144 posts] 2 years ago
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Avonmouth has a bigger problem with cars and lorries than cyclists, it's a small village with few cyclists that happens to have a massive set of industrial parks attached.

The only "problem" with cyclists is kids on bmxs? Surely the littering vandalism and constant smell of weed from a certain pub are the real problems.

Bristol itself is a different matter altogether

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Carl [136 posts] 2 years ago
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jackh wrote:
Quote:

SOHO IS NOT PEDESTRIANISED!!! PLEASE LOOK BEFORE YOU STEP INTO THE ROAD.

Your right, although in my opinion large parts of it should be, except in the morning for deliveries...

Totally agree with you there. Actually I'd go further and pedestrianise / bike lane the entire West End.

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Colin Peyresourde [1690 posts] 2 years ago
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Some of the comments on here make me roll my eyes.

The constabulary cannot be all places at once. Cyclists who break the law are every bit as fault as motorists who do so. I feel depressed when I see idiots trawling around town on pavements with impunity (as I do when I see idiots blocking on-coming traffic because they want to turn right - a high frequency in London).

This at leasts gives out the message that it is not acceptable and that you may be prosecuted for doing so.

Don't forget people, that this is just one piece of the puzzle. Motorists are targeted by speed cameras (rightly so) and it is also easier for police in vehicles to stop other cars and lorries transgressing the laws, than it is a bicycle, so this is not about cycling victimisation. This is an attempt to bring some order to the road chaos.

To be honest the main problem (if you would like to the road laws tightened) is that the constabulary is understaffed to meet the growing demands of a growing population stuck with a creaking infrastructure.

Life is a double edged sword, and so that 'great' economic growth we had in the last 15-20 years, fueled in part by net migration and population growth, has given rise to this sort of thing...life without balance for the things we use and the things we do.

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turboprannet [144 posts] 2 years ago
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That's all well and good Colin but speed cameras don't stop you being buzzed by the Royal Mail, Warburtons and DHL lorries which is a real problem in this area.

I can't help but feel cyclists as a rule are having their behaviour micro managed while "professional" drivers and the general public are allowed to do what they want with impunity as long as they stick to the speed limits

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TeamCC [146 posts] 2 years ago
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I was written up a warning for riding on the sidewalk two years ago, also included a note that riding without a helmet was an additional penalty. Should have kept it but unfortunately didn't. It was one of those nasty roads near Earl's court where waves of speeding vehicles come through, the entire footpath was empty as a cycled slowly on it. They waved for me to come over and gave me a a 10 minute lesson on what they thought the law was.

Another time, as I left my apartment with bicycle and dog, I had a police officer right outside who saw me on the bike with the dog on the leash. Perfect Catch-22, I was told no walking dogs on the street and no riding on the footpath. So I had to walk a bit before getting out of sight and then...

It is pretty poor to leave it up to officers discretion on what is aggressive cycling on footpaths. One day you are fine, the next day you do the same thing and get pinched.

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BigChin [4 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree that cyclists 'shouldn't' ride on the path but when the police fail to prosecute drivers who kill cyclists, why shouldn't cyclists ride in the safer part of a street? How many pedestrians have killed cyclists by walking into them? Not many.Just today a driver was cleared of dangerous driving when he killed a cyclist while eating a sandwich.

Finally, at what age do you enforce this rule about cycling on paths? Does a 4 year old boy have to ride on a 40mph road with lorries flying inches away from him? You can't pick and choose who you fine. This money could have gone towards improving cycle lanes for cyclists thus eliminating the need to ride on the pavement.

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workhard [397 posts] 2 years ago
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Sick and tired of the neighbourhood forums and local committees, and the tiny % of local people who re vocal on them, dominating the local policing priorities so that the 'scourge' of pavement cycling somehow gets to be top of plod's list. This whilst real crime, including cycle theft, is deprioritised and the needs of the cycling community are ignored.

Six people died on the roads in my town last month. And plod is out chastising pavement cyclists. Pavement cyclists are rarely, if ever, the problem.

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mrmo [2069 posts] 2 years ago
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Mr Agreeable wrote:

It's amazing that scarce police resources are being expended on doing this, and a sad indication that community forums might be skewing police priorities.

Coming up next: the murder investigation unit get reassigned to crack down on illegal photocopying.

This might sound odd, but most murders are conducted between parties who know each other, and there are only 500 a year. Compare this with the c2000 who are killed on the roads, and most die because of negligent drivers.

If your job is cutting deaths where would you put your time and effort?

Thing is murder is not socially acceptable, while negligent driving is.

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crazy-legs [732 posts] 2 years ago
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workhard wrote:

Sick and tired of the neighbourhood forums and local committees, and the tiny % of local people who re vocal on them, dominating the local policing priorities so that the 'scourge' of pavement cycling somehow gets to be top of plod's list. This whilst real crime, including cycle theft, is deprioritised and the needs of the cycling community are ignored.

Six people died on the roads in my town last month. And plod is out chastising pavement cyclists. Pavement cyclists are rarely, if ever, the problem.

+1
Pavement cyclists are a symptom of the REAL problem - lack of infrastructure and the general danger on the roads. Sort out the dangerous drivers, the lack of infrastructure, the total unwillingness to prosecute drivers who kill and there won't be any pavement cyclists!

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mrmo [2069 posts] 2 years ago
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workhard wrote:

Six people died on the roads in my town last month. And plod is out chastising pavement cyclists. Pavement cyclists are rarely, if ever, the problem.

Pavement cycling, at least in part is a symptom of the problem. Would you give Antibiotics to a person with TB or tell those who get infected it is there fault for not wearing facemasks.

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dockhill [8 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a shame they didn't take out a few whole-page ads in the papers, and do a three-column letter:

Cyclists: don't jump red light etc etc

Motorists: give cyclists room, don't turn in front of them etc etc

Pedestrians: Stop using your phone/mp3 and LOOK when crossing the road

They shouldn't single-out any single type of road user. Everyone needs to behave, obey the highway code, and be considerate.

Perhaps if they'd tackled *all* road users at the same time, no-one would be taking exception.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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klrsa05 wrote:
crazy-legs wrote:

I look forward to the next letter to all motorists telling them they mustn't use handheld mobile phones, mustn't speed, drive aggressively, park on double yellows, jump red lights, drive without insurance or tax, drive while under the influence of drink or drugs...

+1

+2

Same old predictable nonsense.

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5th [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin, many thanks for pointing out the obvious; I realise the Police cannot be omnipresent. What I object to is the fact that you cannot report someone driving in a genuinely dangerous manner unless they cause an accident. I thought prevention was better than cure, but apparently not. You can report someone for loitering in a hoody but not for wielding a ton and a half of metal in a dangerous manner. How odd.

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kie7077 [861 posts] 2 years ago
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Why is everyone so against cycling on pavements?  26 Initially, the law wasn't even made for bikes it was made for horses.

Just legalise it already.

Other countries aren't so totally uptight about it.

People cycling indoors amongst pedestrians - no complaints here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-xWcF-DJq8

Watch the video and think.

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Mr Jono [102 posts] 2 years ago
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When I was nearly hit by a driver jumping a red light in Bristol the police told me 'they were unable to enforce such incidents'. So I'm assuming that even though they've sent this letter out they're not going to be enforcing it in any way, just like the cars they're letting do it?

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