"Don't be a dummy" - police escort London-bound cyclist off the M1

Rider found battling against elements as traffic speeds past

by Simon_MacMichael   October 13, 2013  

M1 cyclist (source BCH Road Policing on Twitter)

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.”

42 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

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.

posted by Jonathan Knight [17 posts]
14th October 2013 - 8:36

10 Likes

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.

New Dawes Giro 300 purchased, I'm almost a roadie at last!

posted by behemothprocycling [48 posts]
14th October 2013 - 8:42

14 Likes

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.

posted by farrell [1834 posts]
14th October 2013 - 8:59

12 Likes

Is he related to the woman from the level crossing video?

posted by freespirit1 [209 posts]
14th October 2013 - 9:15

10 Likes

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.

posted by Al__S [834 posts]
14th October 2013 - 9:34

15 Likes

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.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [435 posts]
14th October 2013 - 9:41

7 Likes

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 !).

Enjoy

posted by cisgil23 [52 posts]
14th October 2013 - 9:54

15 Likes

What an absolute idiot. Don't these people even look at the Highway Code at all, before even THINKING of breaking the law?

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
14th October 2013 - 9:55

9 Likes

So did the police tell him what cycle route is an alternative to the M1?

What do you mean there isn't one?

posted by a.jumper [802 posts]
14th October 2013 - 10:12

8 Likes

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.

posted by crazy-legs [631 posts]
14th October 2013 - 10:25

11 Likes

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?

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [136 posts]
14th October 2013 - 10:57

11 Likes

His wife didn't have a near miss with a train on a crossing last week did she?

posted by 1750nick [10 posts]
14th October 2013 - 11:13

0 Likes

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.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [317 posts]
14th October 2013 - 11:14

9 Likes

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!

posted by Chuck [470 posts]
14th October 2013 - 12:36

9 Likes

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 Thinking

posted by gareth2510 [165 posts]
14th October 2013 - 13:20

5 Likes

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.

posted by Overweightrider [5 posts]
14th October 2013 - 13:51

9 Likes

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.

This week I have mostly been riding a Mondiale in Deda V107 with Campagnolo Super Record 11 ...

posted by velotech_cycling [77 posts]
14th October 2013 - 14:24

4 Likes

It seems no one has stopped to think why he was on it before going all daily mailesque...

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
14th October 2013 - 15:44

6 Likes

Al__S wrote:
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.

+1 - there are no signs which show that cyclists and pedestrians are pro-hibited, as a road user you are supposed to know that motorways are automatically off limits.

It's a little bit like the way HMRC require you to complete a tax return if you are getting income from sources which are not employment.....no one tells you this, you are just supposed to know. But you've kind of proven my point.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1504 posts]
14th October 2013 - 15:56

6 Likes

What's a 'push' bike? Police not keeping up with technologies like pedals.


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1672 posts]
14th October 2013 - 19:28

3 Likes

northstar wrote:
It seems no one has stopped to think why he was on it before going all daily mailesque...

What a thick comment....read the article.

tiger13's picture

posted by tiger13 [3 posts]
14th October 2013 - 20:01

5 Likes

A V Lowe wrote:
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

Makes sense. And some motorways should definitely have physically separated bike lanes along them... it's one of the few places they'd actually make sense.

posted by Ush [487 posts]
15th October 2013 - 15:15

0 Likes

Overweightrider wrote:

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.

They should have worn a helmet.

Didds
(Yes I am being facaetious)

posted by didds [43 posts]
15th October 2013 - 17:54

1 Like

When (and why) did these disappear?

They were on every motorway entrance when I learnt to drive.

posted by simon F [1043 posts]
15th October 2013 - 19:58

0 Likes

farrell wrote:
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.


erm.... hang on a minute. Aren't most cyclists motorists?

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [86 posts]
15th October 2013 - 21:09

2 Likes

There a various comments here in regards to people may not know. Surely this only highlights the fact that education on such matters in needed.

I for one do not drive but am aware that you cannot cycle on the motorways due to doing the cycling profficiency course way back when I was in primary school, while I am aware this no longer exists, there is now Bike Ability.

considering there was a drop in motorcycle deaths with the introduction of the CBT don't we have a responsibilty as road users to encourge courses like this before they have to be made compulsory.

On a further note having just travelled to Norway I checked which roads I can ride on before doing so. We have to stop making excuses for stupidity regardsless of if it is a rider on the hard shoulder or skipping traffic signals be it red lights or level crossings

Gav

posted by Gavin667 [15 posts]
16th October 2013 - 10:46

1 Like

tommy2p wrote:
farrell wrote:
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.


erm.... hang on a minute. Aren't most cyclists motorists?

All thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs.

posted by farrell [1834 posts]
16th October 2013 - 11:06

0 Likes

Gavin667 wrote:
considering there was a drop in motorcycle deaths with the introduction of the CBT don't we have a responsibilty as road users to encourge courses like this before they have to be made compulsory.

On a further note having just travelled to Norway I checked which roads I can ride on before doing so. We have to stop making excuses for stupidity regardsless of if it is a rider on the hard shoulder or skipping traffic signals be it red lights or level crossings


Except that in some countries, you're allowed to skip red lights... Wink

But on the wider point, I try to check and remember the rules for different places, but I'm sure I screwed up a few times while abroad.

I think most cycle clubs promote training, but the Bikeability Delivery Guide doesn't mention motorways specifically and it is only "advisable" at level 2 to cover the highway code beyond the basic positioning, rules, signs and markings. Anyone like to say whether their Bikeability course mentioned motorways?

posted by a.jumper [802 posts]
16th October 2013 - 11:44

2 Likes

you seem to miss the point of what I was saying, other than the attempt at goading the red light argument, I stated it should be encourage more "before" it has to be made compulsary and if the information given is insufficient then feedback from people should be encouraged so any deficiencies can be taken into account.

to highlight a deficiency in your argument Level 2 is designed to give you a confidence on dealing with traffic and junctions for short journeys, perhaps if you covered Level 3 it may be covered then. However I do not hold much hope given that it is possible to cover all three levels in 3 days and the old system took 5

Gav

posted by Gavin667 [15 posts]
16th October 2013 - 12:16

0 Likes

I have to cycle a bit on the A4 in West Berks to get to more preferred routes. I'd say the M1 is much safer - wider shoulders, less roadside debris, better tarmac and no dangerous pinch points at junctions.

The traffic planners - in their wisdom - have decided one way to make things safer for cars is to install islands and bollards to "protect" some turning lanes. This results is a greatly narrowed roadway at the junctions, but the through traffic continues at +60mph, leaving cyclists squeezed to the very edge and contending with "nosing out" cross traffic.

In addition, the A34 nearby, with TINY verges (compared to a real motorway) has a cycle lane along part of it! I've never seen anyone use it and I doubt anyone would try it twice. The A34 is dual carriageway, M-class 70 mph (meaning cars at almost 80) and is full of HGVs. So where is the logic? Unsafe on the wide verges of the M1, but OK on a verge 1/3rd as wide? (It does exit before a very messy junction with the M4).

Cyclists could use most UK motorways relatively safely by simply exiting at each junction (they are ten miles apart, in many cases) and then following the roundabout back to the far side. There is still the risk of being struck from behind, but I can't see this is any different from other roads with much less space, where cars must move out of the travel lane for each cyclist. How much deader is a cyclist struck at 70mph than one hit at 50mph?

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [218 posts]
16th October 2013 - 15:55

3 Likes