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Edinburgh cyclist fines almost double since 2010

Numbers of careless and dangerous cyclists rise, but fewer drunk riders


The number of cyclists fined in Edinburgh for offences such as careless or dangerous riding has almost doubled since 2010. In that year, police issued 99 fixed-penalty notices to cyclists, a figure that rose to 193 in 2012/13.

The information  was obtained by a freedom of information request from The Herald, but only figures for the Lothian and Borders police were available prior to the creation of a single Scottish police force, because of differences in methods of recording the data.

However, separate statistics for the number of "reported cycling offences" within Scotland showed a 24% increase from 298 in 2010/11 to 369 in 2012/13.

Of those 369, there were 96 offences of "carelessly or inconsiderately riding a bicycle", up from 50 in 2010/11, and 36 reports of dangerous cycling, up from 27. The number of riders pedalling drunk fell from 44 to 38, while 199 offences were classified as “other”.

Reactions from motoring and cycle campaigning groups to the increase in reported cycling offences were mixed.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said that the near-100% increase in Lothian and Borders was "quite striking", but an increase in cyclin would lead to an increase in reported offences. He said: "The crucial thing is whether that's down to increased policing or more offences taking place.

"I don't think it's helpful to blame one group or another. All road-users have a responsibility to abide by the highway code, whether that's cyclists cutting through red lights at junctions or motorists texting at the wheel."

Neil Greig, director of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motoring, said the figures would reassure motorists. He said: "I'm pleased to see a rise in cycling prosecutions to match the rise in cycling. Cyclists must exercise responsibility if they want to be taken seriously as a mainstream form of transport.

"For me, it shows that the police are aware of cycling casualties and they're reacting to that. Motorists often feel that cyclists get away with bad behaviour, whether its cutting through red lights or putting themselves at risk in other ways."

John Lauder, national director of sustainable transport campaigners Sustrans Scotland, said: "It stands to reason that as more people cycle there would be more fines issued to cyclists, although it's disappointing. But it is good to see police using the law fully to penalise bad cyclists. Hopefully by doing so we'll see offences go down."

In a recent crackdown on poor driving and cycling behaviour, Edinburgh police spoke to 186 drivers and 129 cyclists and issued 15 conditional offers of a fixed penalty fine for offences such as using a mobile phone while driving, for cyclists failing to stop at a red light or for cycling on pavements.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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