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Police initiative is part of Operation Grimaldi, 22 motorists fined too

Greater Manchester Police has said that it issued 147 fixed penalty notices – the vast majority to cyclists – in an operation designed to encourage bike riders and motorists to share the road safely.

The initiative falls under the force’s Operation Grimaldi campaign and took place from Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 November, with activity centred on Deansgate, Trafford Street/Great Bridewater Street, Wilmslow Road/Platt Lane and Oxford Road.

It coincided with Road Safety Week, which saw police in other cities including London, Bristol and Edinburgh run similar operations, mostly taking an educational approach by providing advice rather than handing out fines.

In Manchester 125 cyclists were issued fixed penalty notices for offences including riding on the pavement or without lights and ignoring red traffic lights, although they can avoid having to pay a fine by attending a cycling awareness event.

Police also issued 22 fixed penalty notices to drivers for offences including driving while using a handheld mobile phone, failure to comply with traffic signs and not using a seatbelt.

One motorist had a car seized for antisocial driving under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

Inspector Paul Rowe of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit commented: “Operation Grimaldi isn’t about trying to catch people out, it’s about highlighting the dangers and encouraging cyclists and motorists to share the road and put road safety first.

“While it might seem to some that we’re pulling people over for minor offences, we know only too well the devastating consequences that something as simple as cycling without lights or driving while using a mobile phone can have.

“No officer wants to be knocking on a door this Christmas to tell somebody their loved one has been killed and through Operation Grimaldi we remain absolutely committed to making the roads safer for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike.”

Jim Battle, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester, added: “Like most people, I and the police want the roads to be safe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

“That’s what this operation is about – educating the handful of cyclists who flout the basic rules of the road and also targeting irresponsible drivers for offences, such as using a mobile phone.

“We have a way to go before cyclists and drivers can share the roads in harmony.  The reality is we all have a responsibility to make our roads safer, whether on two wheels or four, and we all have to work together to achieve that.”

In June, Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a total of 415 cyclists had been fined since February this year on ten separate “days of action” held as part of Operation Grimaldi.

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.