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Video: Cyclist and police in panto chat about pedestrian zone

Oh yes I can! Oh no you can't! He's behind you!...

Pantomime season arrived in Reading town centre yesterday with this interaction between a police officer who was determined to make a cyclist walk along a cycle route through a pedestrian area and cyclist Richard Black who was equally determined not to.

Meanwhile, gert big trucks roll through the area making deliveries, but the officer's fine with that, and as he has his back to the junction he can't see the riders cheerfully ignoring the signs and riding out of the 'No cycling' area.

Gems from the discussion include the officer telling Black: “You haven't hit anyone yet, but you might do,” a philosophy we'd love to see applied the roads — think of the deaths and injuries that it would prevent if applied to white vans and London buses.

The officer changes tack several times, first claiming that it's a no cycling area, and then when the bike lane is pointed out to him, claims Black still has to walk through the junction, and accuses Black of having ridden straight towards him.

Meanwhile, as the “Oh yes I can” / “Oh no you can't” is unfolding, on this side of the screen we're all yelling “It's behind you!” as a lorry reverses down the pedestrian street, clearly posing far less risk to pedestrians than a cyclist doing about 12mph nowhere near any of them.

It's all very polite, but anyone inclined to think police must surely have better things to do with their time is only going to have that opinion reinforced by this.

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 Along with editor Tony Farelly, 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 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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