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Cyclists' Defence Fund appeals for help for cyclist fined for riding round a phone box

Kristian Gregory calls on Met to review Operation Safeway priorities.

The Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) is appealing for donations to help Kristian Gregory, who was recently issued a £50 fixed penalty notice after alledgedly straying off a sub-standard cycle path alongside London’s Old Kent Road.

After Gregory posted helmet-cam footage of the incident, the Metropolitan Police said they would ease off “over-zealous” enforcement on this spot. However, Kristian still faces a possible fine, as do many others fined for similar 'offences'.

In a similar situation last year, where cyclist Alex Paxton allegedly broke the rules in order to safely negotiate a junction whose advanced cycle line box was blocked by a car, a fixed penalty notice was dropped after a crowd-funded appeal.

To donate to help Gregory and others, go to their Just Giving page.

In case you missed it, here's Gregory's helmet cam video of the incident.

As well as asking for his own fine to be annulled, Gregory wants them lifted from other cyclists fined for similar offences where cyclist have broken the rules in order to minimise the danger to themselves. He believes it is not in the public interest to prosecute him, or others fined at this same location, not least because the cycle track itself is poorly designed and signed, creating legal uncertainty.

Gregory and the CDF re also calling on the Met to reconsider the priorities of Operation Safeway. The crackdown on driving and cycling offences that was launched launched following a six cyclist fatalities in November 2013 has seen a disproportionate number of cyclists fined, yet the number of cyclist deaths in London so far this year is not significantly different from previous years. The Met should focus on evidence-based enforcement that targets the real dangers cyclists face, they say.


Alex Paxton, whose FPN was dropped after a crowd-funded appeal last year

The CDF believes Gregory has grounds to appeal his fine on a number of counts:

  • The signing where he was fined fails to show clearly where, if anywhere, cyclists are allowed to turn right from the cycle track to cross the road.
  • The crossing in question is a pelican rather than a toucan crossing - so cyclists have no clear right to use it either, despite the signing advising them to do so.
  • The cycle track from which he allegedly strayed is narrow, well below national design guidelines and at onepoint is obstructed by a phone box a phone box.
  • If cyclists are required to turn tightly to reach the crossing, as the PCSO suggests he should have done, this would be a further breach of national design guidelines.

Even if Gregory did ride from the cycle path on to the footway, Home Office guidance is that cyclists should not be fined for using pavements in a considerate manner for their own safety.

Gregory has been backed by Cllr Mark Williams, transport portfolio holder at Southwark Council. After Gregory's fine was issued, Southwark Council wrote to the Met and to Transport for London. In response, the local police and Boris Johnson's cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan have both agreed to put an end to what Williams describes as "over zealous" policing at this location. However, Kristian's own fine has yet to be cancelled.

Last November, the Met Police were forced to deny a report in the Times last November suggesting that police officers taking part in Operation Safeway had been set quotas to fine 10 cyclists a month.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com 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 TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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