'Anti-social’? Cambridge cyclists responsible for just seven out of 4,400 anti-social incidents

Pavement cyclists and red light jumpers are a problem, say police, but there's no evidence in reports...

Cambridge cyclists branded ‘anti-social’ have been responsible for just seven out of 4,400 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the city, a study has found.

Sir Graham Bright, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has said that he is plagued by reports of “inconsiderate cyclists, particularly in Cambridge and Peterborough, when comments include bicycles without lights, riding on pavements and cyclists running red lights,” according to Cambridge News.

But a Freedom of Information request found that very few of these incidents are ever reported to police, despite campaigns involving undercover officers looking for rogue cyclists.

In the 4,400 anti-social behaviour occations in the last year, 40 mentioned cycling - but many included cyclists being "cut up by motorists", abused by pedestrians, clashes with motorists, and damage to a cycle.

Sir Graham said: "However classified by the police and whatever the statistics reveal, we are aware that this is an issue that aggravates a large number of people, especially the old or infirm who cannot always see or hear cyclists approaching.

"I would encourage more people to cycle as it reduces congestion, has tremendous health benefits and is environmentally friendly.

“However, riding a bike without consideration for others has inherent dangers to both the cyclist and other road users, be they pedestrians, motorists or other cyclists. I would urge all road users to travel in a safe and responsible manner and with road safety uppermost in their mind."

Back in 2012 we reported on one undercover sting in Cambridge, where a cyclist gained a criminal record after he faced a Magistrates’ Court trial for cycling on the pavement.

David Arnold, 35, was one of 40 cyclists who were caught on the pavement in Arbury Road in a police sting.

They were all offered the opportunity to pay a fine, but Arnold refused, saying that the footpath had been mixed use further along, and there had been no signage to indicate bicycles were no longer permitted.

He was convicted of riding a pedal cycle on a footpath after a one-hour trial at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, and was fined £30 plus a £15 victim surcharge. The fixed penalty notice that he was offered on the day would have been a £30 fine.

And earlier this year we reported how Cambridge MP Dr Julian Huppert condemned “thoughtless cyclists” who put pedestrians in danger, but said better infrastructure needed to be provided so people to ride their bikes safely without posing a risk to those on foot.

Dr Huppert, co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, was speaking after meeting a pensioner who was injured after a cyclist collided with him on a footpath in the city.

The meeting with the man, who did not wish to be named since he is afraid of reprisals, also involved an official from the Highways Department at Cambridgeshire County Council.

The pedestrian fell down an embankment and struck his head on a parked vehicle as a result of the incident, which took place on a footpath between Brooklands and Trumpington Road.

He told Cambridge News: “It’s frightening and I was dazed and badly shaken. The female cyclist apologised but then rode away and I had to sit on the grass for a while before I felt able to get up.”

The pensioner claimed that he had been the victim of inconsiderate cycling on a number of previous occasions, leaving him with bruises.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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