The number of cyclists prosecuted for ignoring road signs has more than doubled in the past four years, figures released following a House of Lords debate has found.
In a letter from transport minister Lord Ahmad to Lord Willis, following his comments that the biggest challenge for “a London commuter” is avoiding cyclists, “who were possibly jumping red lights or riding on the pavements” he said that convictions had risen from 52 in 2010 to 125 in 2014 – the latest year for which statistics are available.
As we reported in November, Lord Wills said that cycling on pavements was the issue that most incensed his constituents “apart from dog mess.”
He added: “The situation seems to be getting worse. As record numbers of cyclists take to the roads in big cities, we see increasing examples of this sort of behaviour.
"Just a few weeks ago I was on Marylebone Road and I watched a cyclist jump a red light and weave off down the pavement between pedestrians, talking on his mobile phone as he went. When I said that perhaps he should not be doing that, he got off his bike and asked me to fight him.
“When I declined the invitation and pointed out that he was breaking the law, he said, ‘I know I’m breaking the law and you can’t do anything about it.’ However, the Minister could. I would be grateful if he could tell the House what more he could do to stop these bully boys on bikes terrorising pedestrians and bring some law and order to our pavements.”
The government also disclosed that 24 cyclists were successfully prosecuted for reckless and dangerous driving and that 332 were found guilty of other cycling offences in 2014.
Convictions for riding on footpaths remained almost constant, however, dropping marginally from 288 to 282.
Lord Ahmad pointed to Operation Atrium which involved London police issuing tickets to cyclists breaking the rules as well as cycle training initiatives such as THINK! Cyclist and Bikeability, saying such schemes would “help us to educate cyclists, not just about the law but also about their responsibilities.”
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Taverne said: “The serious injuries caused by cyclists must pale into insignificance when compared to those caused by motorists. Does he not agree that everything possible must be done by the Government to encourage and support cycling, as was splendidly shown recently with the opening of the cycling superhighway route in London?
“After all, bicycles are the most efficient machine yet invented for turning energy into motion. Indeed, the bicycle has been accurately described as a kind of green car, which can run on tap water and tea cakes and, moreover, has a built-in gym.”
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.