A cyclist who was fined £50 for straying into the pedestrian side of a shared use path has launched an appeal against the fine and raised nearly £1,500 to fight it.
In July we reported how Kristian Gregory, of the Croydon Cycling Campaign, was riding along the New Kent Road when he was stopped by the officer who asked him why he was not riding on the cycle path. Responding that the path was shared use, Kristian is then told that he is in fact on the footpath.
As seen on helmet camera footage Kristian points out that the ‘cycle path’ is blocked at one point by a telephone box which he is forced to move into the footpath to avoid, but the officer is unswayed by his protests that he is making the best of a very bad situation and a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued. It would also seem to be impossible for cyclists to reach the crossing seen at the end of the footage without also crossing the footpath.
Kristian, who has now recieved a court summons for failing to pay the fine, is to be represented by the Cyclists Defence Fund (CDF), who are attempting to raise funding to help with the case via JustGiving.
The CDF said: “In the past few weeks, the Cyclists' Defence Fund has been approached by several cyclists fined by the Metropolitan Police for using the pavement even though they did so for safety reasons and in a considerate way without endangering other road users.
“Among them is Kristian Gregory, who posted helmet-cam footage of himself, receiving a £50 fine after he strayed out of a poorly designed pavement cycle track just before turning to cross the adjoining New Kent Road at a signed cycle crossing point.
“Kristian believes prosecuting him and others at this location is not in the public interest.
“He feels it has nothing to do with the Met Police’s original aim of Operation Safeway, namely to improve cyclists’ safety in the aftermath of a spate of 6 cyclists’ deaths last November.
“It also contradicts the views of ministers that police and PCSOs should use their discretion when issuing fines to cyclists who are using pavements considerately and for their own safety.
“Following Kristian’s complaints (which were supported by the local Council), the police have agreed to scale back enforcement at this location. Now though, Kristian wants not only to get his own fine rescinded, but also those handed to other cyclists in similar circumstances.
“CDF fully supports the proper administration of the law, however, issuing fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for such minor alleged offences seems disproportionate and discriminatory, while failing to deal with the root causes of the dangers cyclists face: dangerous drivers and dangerous vehicles.”
Kristian said: "When the FPN for cycling on the pavement was introduced, the minister responsible at the time, Paul Boateng stated: 'The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.
"Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road.
"Sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.
"I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law and would support Paul Boeteng's original guidance."