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"Pointless" prosecution of London cyclist who allegedly strayed off cycle path dropped at eleventh hour (+ video)

CPS belatedly agrees with cycle campaign groups that pursuing case against Kristian Gregory "not in the public interest"...

The case against a cyclist due to appear in court yesterday on a charge of cycling on the footway was dropped at the last minute after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided prosecuting him was “not in the public interest.”

Kristian Gregory had been stopped by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) in July 2014 as part of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Safeway campaign which has seen 10,000 £50 fines handed to cyclists in the capital.

The PCSO alleged that Mr Gregory, who has since been elected to the national council of cyclists’ charity CTC to represent its members in the capital had strayed over a white line on a shared use path on the New Kent Road in the London Borough of Southwark.

Footage posted to YouTube by the cyclist showed that he had to swerve to avoid a telephone box on the side of the path designated for cyclists shortly before he was stopped by the PCSO.

The Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) which helped Mr Gregory contest the fine joined CTC, Sustrans, the London Cycling Campaign and RoadPeace in writing to the CPS insisting that prosecuting him was "pointless' and not in the public interest.

They said the alleged offence was trivial and that poor signage at the location in question meant that from a legal point of view, there was uncertainty about whether cycling was allowed there.

Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark's cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transport, said at the time it had asked police “to review enforcement action on this stretch as cyclists are forced to cross the pavement to get safely across the New Kent Road” and that their action in this instance appeared “overzealous.”

Mr Gregory, who pleaded not guilty at an initial hearing in December to the offence of cycling on the footway, had been due to appear at Bexley Magistrates’ Court yesterday, until the CPS's eleventh hour decision to drop the prosecution.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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