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Rider found battling against elements as traffic speeds past

Police have told cyclists “don’t be a dummy” after escorting a London-bound rider off the M1 in Hertfordshire today as he rode along the hard shoulder, struggling against the wind and rain and with traffic passing at speed just yards away. 

A picture posted to the Twitter account of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit was accompanied by the message: “Somebody thought it was ok to cycle to London on the M1, escorted safely off at Redbourn. #dontbeadummy.”

As the photo shows, visibility was poor on the motorway as a result of the rain, but the rider was pressing on against the elements with no rear light on his bike.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary told Mail Online: “We were alerted just before midday today of a man travelling southbound on the M1 on a push bike.

“We did a very slow escort off with him at the next junction, which was junction 9 at Redbourne. We gave him words and advice, and I believe he's now getting a train. He was planning to go to London.”

It’s at least the third time a cyclist has strayed onto the M1 this year.

In June, a woman was escorted off the motorway after she was found riding on the hard shoulder between junctions 13 and 14 close to Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

The previous month, Derbyshire Police arrested a man found cycling between junctions 28 and 29 of the motorway after he failed to comply with their instructions.

Cycling on motorways is banned under section 253 of the Highway Code.
Sometimes cyclists do end up on them, whether through an honest mistake or because they deliberately break the law, or are ignorant of it.

Famously, in 2002, a pair of cyclists from Kenya preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester were found training on the M61 in full national kit.

After riding up and down the hard shoulder for the best part of an hour, police escorted them off the motorway, putting the episode down to a “genuine mistake.”

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.

43 comments

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sm [382 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder if they'll be entering that picture into the Chris Hoy riding in Autumn competition. Winner.

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frisbee79 [1 post] 2 years ago
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Passed this guy this morning, he was walking his bike by this point. Police car hadn't got to him by then. Weather was horrendous, visibility very poor, he was very lucky nobody hit him. We did wonder what he was doing!

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antigee [336 posts] 2 years ago
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with traffic passing at speed just yards away

so a lot safer than most roads then  103

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FMOAB [266 posts] 2 years ago
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Would love to know what the words of advice were  19

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A V Lowe [575 posts] 2 years ago
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When I got dropped at Warrington at 4 am and (with no trains for a few hours) opted to ride to Liverpool, the only route signposted to Liverpool was via M62 - which at that time of day was deserted. However I did spot a sign to Rainhill and knowing that this was on the Liverpool & Manchester railway and rode that way. The Sustrans person at the event suggested I should have ridden an unlit, unsurfaced and even less path trafficked path alongside the canal - this received due derision from others attending.

A similar position can be found in many other places. Cross the Forth Bridge heading for Perth and the only route signposted is on the M90, and in Glasgow we even had a black on white sign for a local destination that sent you via the M8. A 'popular' use of the M9 is from the Dunblane junction to the A84 junction for Stirling, as again it is (or was) the only route signposted to Stirling and a lot more direct then taking the old road. When the roads are signed for every road user to use effectively then perhaps we'll see a bit less cycling on the motorways of the UK

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FluffyKittenofT... [1198 posts] 2 years ago
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Well, if one uses the same logic as former transport minister Norman Baker, its clear that motorways are by far the safest routes to cycle on.

As he pointed out, the Netherlands has a higher level of cyclist KSI per capita than we do, and therefore we have safer cycling than they do. Thinking Bakerlogically, one can note that almost no British cyclists are killed on motorways. Thus they must be much safer for cycling than minor roads.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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Just to link in with another thread (or two), I guess it shows the need for cycle training.

I guess I am being a bit provocative, but if you've never passed your driving test you've never had reason to read and know your highway code - which is the only place which tells you can't ride on a motorway....cycle craft at the minute is just something passed down from cyclist to cyclist. There is nothing which helps with blind spots and the meaning of traffic signs which is imbued to the public at large in any other way.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 2 years ago
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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Well, if one uses the same logic as former transport minister Norman Baker, its clear that motorways are by far the safest routes to cycle on.

As he pointed out, the Netherlands has a higher level of cyclist KSI per capita than we do, and therefore we have safer cycling than they do. Thinking Bakerlogically, one can note that almost no British cyclists are killed on motorways. Thus they must be much safer for cycling than minor roads.

To be fair to Norman Baker, it was former road safety minister Mike Penning who said that: http://road.cc/57138

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I guess I am being a bit provocative, but if you've never passed your driving test you've never had reason to read and know your highway code - which is the only place which tells you can't ride on a motorway....

I can't remember the last time I was on a motorway (I don't drive myself) but I seem to recall there are signs at all slip roads onto them saying no cycles, pedestrians, etc?

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KNOWNOTHINGBOZO [13 posts] 2 years ago
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Why is he lucky no one hit him? He's on the hard shoulder, do cars regularly drive along them at speed? Other than Alex Ferguson in a queue of course. I occasionally have to ride a long a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. What's the difference? Far more dangerous I would say.

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bohrhead [73 posts] 2 years ago
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KNOWNOTHINGBOZO wrote:

Why is he lucky no one hit him? He's on the hard shoulder, do cars regularly drive along them at speed? Other than Alex Ferguson in a queue of course. I occasionally have to ride a long a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. What's the difference? Far more dangerous I would say.

My thoughts exactly. Other than the on/off ramps it must be about the safest possible place to cycle, especially in low visibility situations like the ones he was in.

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bendertherobot [1071 posts] 2 years ago
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At least he has mudguards. No awful spray into the following vehicles.  19

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Jonathan Knight [18 posts] 2 years ago
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bohrhead wrote:
KNOWNOTHINGBOZO wrote:

Why is he lucky no one hit him? He's on the hard shoulder, do cars regularly drive along them at speed? Other than Alex Ferguson in a queue of course. I occasionally have to ride a long a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. What's the difference? Far more dangerous I would say.

My thoughts exactly. Other than the on/off ramps it must be about the safest possible place to cycle, especially in low visibility situations like the ones he was in.

Presumably you are being sarcastic.

Of course the hard shoulder is not safe, people do get killed on the hard shoulder, which is why the general advice if you break down is to stop your car on the hard shoulder, get out of it on the passenger side and walk up the verge well away from the motorway.

It would only need the back draft from a large lorry passing by in the nearside lane going at speed to blow the cyclist over or make him swerve into the nearside lane.

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behemothprocycling [43 posts] 2 years ago
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Im not sure how anything can excuse this idiocy.
I wonder what someone would have to do not to get comments that eventualy turn it round to how hard things are for the poor cyclist.
Its no wonder people see us as self-centred lycra clad whingers.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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behemothprocycling wrote:

Im not sure how anything can excuse this idiocy.

Probably because we as a society have so much experience of creating excuses for the idiocy of motorists.

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freespirit1 [226 posts] 2 years ago
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Is he related to the woman from the level crossing video?

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Al__S [1031 posts] 2 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

I can't remember the last time I was on a motorway (I don't drive myself) but I seem to recall there are signs at all slip roads onto them saying no cycles, pedestrians, etc?

Nope. ALl that is supposed to be conveyed by the blue "Motorway" signs. The signs you're thinking of appear at the entrances to restricted traffic dual carriageways

There are differences- eg learner drivers can use the latter, but not motorways.

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Yorkshie Whippet [530 posts] 2 years ago
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Was this an act of ignorrance or arrogance?

That's the widest cycle lane I've ever seen, all the traffic is going the same way, no side streets or parked cars. No buses pulling up in front of you or pulling out randomly. Bet there is very little debris or potholes. It's relatively flat and straight.

Only one question, how the hell do they negotiate the junctions without getting killed?

There'll be idiots of kinds in there hills.

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cisgil23 [55 posts] 2 years ago
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I was riding to Paris one day in monsoon-like rain.
I was on a good wide road, but a lot of people seemed to sounding their horns at me, which is rare in France unless you're a good-looking woman (I'm male, although I do have a long ponytail).
I passed an exit, and had REALLY narrow escapes from a car exiting in front of me, and one behind.
After that exit I saw the blue autoroute information signs !
It was the motorway by Charles de Gaulle airport !
I wear glasses, and when it's raining like that, my vision is less than perfect. I must have simply been looking down when I passed the prohibited signs on the entrance to the motorway.
I look on it as a lucky escape. That's another one of my nine used up !
I've only done it once (as far as I know !).

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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What an absolute idiot. Don't these people even look at the Highway Code at all, before even THINKING of breaking the law?

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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So did the police tell him what cycle route is an alternative to the M1?

What do you mean there isn't one?

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crazy-legs [767 posts] 2 years ago
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I called the police once to report a cyclist riding on the hard shoulder of the M60. Just some bloke on a cheapo MTB, carrying a shopping bag from his handlebars. Moron.

Having said that, a mate and I ended up on a French Autoroute once completely by mistake. We got off at the next junction (thankfully only about 1km further) but not before a lot of motorists had tooted at us.

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Carl [137 posts] 2 years ago
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F*ckwit. I've also seen cyclists on the motorway, a guy walking two dogs and two kids sitting on the central reservation.

As an earlier poster asks...arrogance or sheer stupidity?

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1750nick [10 posts] 2 years ago
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His wife didn't have a near miss with a train on a crossing last week did she?

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G-bitch [322 posts] 2 years ago
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Putting aside just how daft everyone thinks it is. The issue of signage is a serious one - all road signs assume that an engine is attached to your vehicle and there are very rarely any alternative routes signed for cyclists/mopeds etc. unless there is separate facility provided especially (only examples I can think of this are the various motorway bridge bike paths.

I've almost made the same mistake abroad, but fortunately most EU countries have a very clear sign for no cycles/scooters, which we don't actually have at every point of access to the motorway network.

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Chuck [546 posts] 2 years ago
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bohrhead wrote:
KNOWNOTHINGBOZO wrote:

Why is he lucky no one hit him? He's on the hard shoulder, do cars regularly drive along them at speed? Other than Alex Ferguson in a queue of course. I occasionally have to ride a long a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. What's the difference? Far more dangerous I would say.

My thoughts exactly. Other than the on/off ramps it must be about the safest possible place to cycle, especially in low visibility situations like the ones he was in.

It reminds me of the cycle lane along the A14- effectively it's the same thing as far as I can see (not that I've ever seen anybody on it!) As KNB points out, most regular riders will be familiar with people passing at 70 just over their right shoulder, with less room to maneuver than there is on the hard shoulder. I think it's reasonable to wonder if this really is objectively more dangerous.
That's not to say this guy's not a bit of a muppet!

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 2 years ago
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I for 1 cant see past the word "prat" when thinking about this cyclist.

As regards some of the comments saying the hard shoulder of a 3, sometimes 4 lane road with speeds of some being over a ton regardless of the lane being used, being the safest to ride??

Interesting thought process is all I can muster  39

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Overweightrider [6 posts] 2 years ago
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Jonathan Knight wrote:
bohrhead wrote:
KNOWNOTHINGBOZO wrote:

Why is he lucky no one hit him? He's on the hard shoulder, do cars regularly drive along them at speed? Other than Alex Ferguson in a queue of course. I occasionally have to ride a long a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. What's the difference? Far more dangerous I would say.

My thoughts exactly. Other than the on/off ramps it must be about the safest possible place to cycle, especially in low visibility situations like the ones he was in.

Presumably you are being sarcastic.

Of course the hard shoulder is not safe, people do get killed on the hard shoulder, which is why the general advice if you break down is to stop your car on the hard shoulder, get out of it on the passenger side and walk up the verge well away from the motorway.

It would only need the back draft from a large lorry passing by in the nearside lane going at speed to blow the cyclist over or make him swerve into the nearside lane.

Indeed, the AA estimates around 250 people are killed on motorway hard shoulder every year. That's more than double the number of cyclist (122) killed in the whole of UK in 2012.

Back draft aside, it's not uncommon to see HGV drifting into the hard shoulder. Also, some sections of motorways have no hard shoulder at all (e.g. under bridges)

Cyclist who ride on 70mph dual carriage ways must have death wishes. You may be allowed there, but that does't mean you should use it.

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velotech_cycling [79 posts] 2 years ago
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Overweightrider wrote:
Jonathan Knight wrote:
bohrhead wrote:
KNOWNOTHINGBOZO wrote:

Why is he lucky no one hit him? He's on the hard shoulder, do cars regularly drive along them at speed? Other than Alex Ferguson in a queue of course. I occasionally have to ride a long a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. What's the difference? Far more dangerous I would say.

My thoughts exactly. Other than the on/off ramps it must be about the safest possible place to cycle, especially in low visibility situations like the ones he was in.

Presumably you are being sarcastic.

Of course the hard shoulder is not safe, people do get killed on the hard shoulder, which is why the general advice if you break down is to stop your car on the hard shoulder, get out of it on the passenger side and walk up the verge well away from the motorway.

It would only need the back draft from a large lorry passing by in the nearside lane going at speed to blow the cyclist over or make him swerve into the nearside lane.

Indeed, the AA estimates around 250 people are killed on motorway hard shoulder every year. That's more than double the number of cyclist (122) killed in the whole of UK in 2012.

Back draft aside, it's not uncommon to see HGV drifting into the hard shoulder. Also, some sections of motorways have no hard shoulder at all (e.g. under bridges)

Cyclist who ride on 70mph dual carriage ways must have death wishes. You may be allowed there, but that does't mean you should use it.

Some sections of the M1 in Beds and Bucks (and possibly in Herts, I can't recall) have conditional-use on the hard shoulder at times of congestion, so the HS is considered part of the main carriageway at times ...

Having said that, in years gone by I have regularly ridden TTs on 70 mph dual carriageways and felt safer in that situation than I do on many single-carriageway roads with a 60 mph limit. Junctions were the areas that used to scare me and still do, on the rare occasions (that I come across in my riding, anyway) that the lack of a viable alternative route means that I have to ride on a dual carriageway.

There is a valid point made though about generally poor signage and an expectation that all will know the rules when it comes to cycle use - there are Departmental roads in France where cycling is not allowed and I've never figured out the signage for that, so what makes us think that those unfamiliar with our road network should be any the wiser?

A lack of signposted alternatives is not helpful either - try exiting any major conurbation - it is very rare for any alternative to a motorway to be signposted as such, a degree of local knowledge often being needed. Granted in these days of bike-mounted GPS, the ability to read a map is a little less important but there are plenty of people out there, trying to ride out of major cities without the benefit of GPS, possibly disorieted if they are only recently arrived in the UK and without map-reading skills. A bit of discreet, high quality signage would help them ... and possibly locals who spend many of their journeys behind the wheel of a car and never really look at alternatives to the motorways for slightly longer journeys.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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It seems no one has stopped to think why he was on it before going all daily mailesque...

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