Officers in Manchester city centre last night stopped more than 20 cyclists as part of Operation Considerate, an initiative to improve road safety in Manchester. Officers say the intention is to educate all road users, including cyclists.
BBC Radio 5 Live was on the scene with Police Community Support Officer, Gareth Walker, as he issued a £50 fixed penalty notice to a cyclist who had been riding on the pavement. The cyclist – a student who described the fine as ‘crippling’ – was offered the chance to complete the Safe Ride Safe Road online course for £30 in lieu of the fine.
Walker reiterated the message from Robert Goodwill, the transport minister, who has said that cyclists may ride on the pavement provided they don’t put pedestrians in danger. Walker said that officers look at the way the cyclist is riding and if in their opinion it is unsafe and inconsiderate, they will intervene. As one example, he pointed out that police had received complaints from the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital about cyclists on the adjacent footpath.
Inspector Paul Rowe, who is in charge of Operation Considerate, said the intention wasn’t to pick on cyclists and that other road users would be stopped and prosecuted where offences were committed. Police have previously said that drivers of buses, taxis and HGVs are being educated on being ‘cyclist aware’ as part of the operation.
In November, a two week crackdown resulted in more than 40 cyclists being fined, but police said they had seen double the number of motorists committing offences. Rowe did however seem to feel that there was a particular issue with cyclists jumping red lights.
“I just feel that the cyclists seem to feel that red lights – all the cars and everything else, they should all stop, but the cyclists don’t need to because it’s safer not to. I’m sorry, but in my opinion that’s not the case. I’m the one who goes and picks up all the pieces when it goes terribly wrong.”
5 Live subsequently held a phone-in, asking:
Your Call: Is it time to get tougher with cyclists on our roads? pic.twitter.com/w9Grk60efS
— BBC Radio 5 live (@bbc5live) January 29, 2016
To which Mark Treasure offered an alternative:
— Mark Treasure (@AsEasyAsRiding) January 29, 2016