A two week crackdown in Greater Manchester has resulted in more than 40 cyclists being fined. However, the latest phase of Operation Considerate also involves educating drivers on being ‘cyclist aware’ with police saying they have seen double the number of motorists committing offences.
The Manchester Evening News reports how in the last two weeks police have fined seven cyclists for running red lights, 10 for riding on footpaths and a further 24 for having no lights.
As part of the project, those fined are also being given the option to undertake a £30 online course instead of paying the £50 penalty.
Gareth Walker, a road policing support officer who helped develop the programme, said:
“We are educating cyclists in Greater Manchester to follow the rules of the Highway Code on key arterial routs. Some motorists who commit speeding offences or drive with mobile phones are offered similar courses.
“Over the last three years, we have been trying to devise a degree of parity if you commit minor cycling offences and this course will train cyclists to ride safely. Just like with the driver-alertness course, this gives cyclists the same opportunity to be educated.
“We are trying to make our roads and cycling safer. If we see a cyclist at night without lights then we will give them lights.”
Walker also said that police had never seen a case of dangerous cycling in the two years that Operation Considerate has been running and in the last two weeks officers actually found motorists were committing double the offences cyclists were.
“This is not aimed at penalising cyclists, but educating everyone so we can all get to our destinations safely,” said Walker.
Police say drivers of buses, taxis, and HGVs are also being educated on being ‘cyclist aware’ as part of the operation.
Nick Hubble from Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign said he felt that Greater Manchester Police were targeting cycling when distracted driving was a far more common and dangerous offence.
“We’ve engaged with police on this. We don’t endorse anti-social cycling. However, we recognise that to a very large extent road traffic laws are made for the benefit of motorists and there are certain situations where it’s safer on a bike to break the law.
“The answer as far as we are concerned is to keep pushing for proper separate infrastructure so everyone has an intuitive part of the road.”