Police in Greater Manchester have described a three-week campaign targeting pavement cyclists as a success – despite warning or fining an average of just under two transgressors a day, only half of whom were issued with £30 fixed penalty notices.
The clampdown, initiated on November 17, followed complaints by residents, businesses and shoppers regarding anti-social cyclists in The Rock and Kay Gardens in Bury and resulted in 21 cyclists being fined, with a further 19 warned about their behaviour.
By any standards, it seems a remarkably low ‘hit’ rate, especially when weighed against recent police initiatives elsewhere targeting law-breaking cyclists, such as one in Norwich that saw nearly 200 cyclists stopped, although it should be acknowledged that people riding without lights and not just pavement cyclists were targeted in that instance.
Inspector Charlotte Cadden of the Bury East Neighbourhood Police Team, told the Bury Times: “Incidents of cyclists using pavements and pedestrianised areas to cycle around the town is a genuine concern and is regularly raised by residents at community meetings.
“Many people, particularly older people, can feel very intimidated by cyclists using footpaths and, of course, there is a real risk that someone could be hurt,” although the newspaper didn’t cite any specific examples of that having happened.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police added: “Officers have so far had a lot of positive feedback from shopkeepers.”
One, Julia Mcloughlin, manager of Help The Aged in The Rock, told the paper: “People cycling on the pavements has been a problem in recent years because sometimes they don't realise how fast they are going and it is unsettling for elderly people.
“I have noticed fewer cyclists in pedestrianised areas since the start of this scheme and I welcome it strongly,” she continued.
That does beg the question of whether cyclists who would otherwise ride on pavements or through pedestrianised areas are simply dismounting the second they see a police officer ahead of them, although the number of cyclists stopped in other police campaigns such as the one in Norwich cited above suggests that errant cyclists only register a police presence once it is too late for them to stop.
Meanwhile, police in Southend have adopted a different approach towards cyclists caught riding their bikes in areas reserved for pedestrians. As reported last month on road.cc, rather than issuing fixed penalty notices, Essex Police are instead offering Bikeability training to cyclists.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.