A banker was told "people don't like cyclists" by a magistrate in court yesterday where he was fined for repeatedly failing to stop cycling for officers during a police chase across the City of London.
Tanneguy Marie De Carne, 53, was pursued by officers from City of London Police after he swerved in front of their car in March on his bicycle, causing them to brake. Repeatedly failing to stop for police, he jumped a traffic light and rode on pavements, having later said he “panicked”.
De Carne, global head of high yield capital markets at SG Corporate & Investment Banking, pleaded guilty to dangerous cycling and failing to stop for police at City of London Magistrates’ Court yesterday, and was fined £2,460.
Chair of the Bench, Catherine Hobey-Hamsher, said “people don't like cyclists” and that De Carne was doing "nothing" to enhance the "low esteem cyclists already have".
Cycling UK says while courts are right to condemn reckless behaviour by all road users Hobey-Hamsher's comments vilify an entire road user group based on a “personal prejudice” and the charity says it will ask whether she will disqualify herself from future cases involving cyclists.
PC Neil Hossack told the court De Carne cycled dangerously and ignored red traffic lights on Mansion House Street on 21 March. De Carne went to turn left into Queen Victoria Street before suddenly changing direction and cutting across the path of a marked police car, causing its driver to brake. He proceeded through a set of traffic lights, and the police car followed with blue lights flashing, to try and stop him. De Carne continued riding, eventually leading officers down a busy side street packed with people.
Once there, PC Hossack said he was "cycling furiously on the footpath, without any regard for the pedestrians leaving the bars".
PC Hossack said: "As you cycled again onto the footpath, the police officer shouted at you to stop, which you finally did so."
Passing sentence, Catherine Hobey-Hamsher told De Carne: "The offence was sustained in every possible way.
“A reasonable person would have stopped immediately.
"It is a silent danger, coming up behind people - they have no idea.
"And, above all, it diminishes the really rather low esteem cyclists already have.
"People do not like cyclists, and you are doing nothing to enhance their reputation."
De Carne told the court he cycles to work to de-stress. He said he had since taken part in a cycling safety course and he had tried to change his behaviour.
He said: "I admit the offences. I panicked, I thought I could continue cycling and I lost control.
"I am ashamed of what I have done, and it's a humbling experience, and again I am sorry.
"I am fortunate obviously that nothing serious happened at that time of evening, and it's been a stressful experience.
"I stopped as I realised the gravity and the reckless behaviour I was performing, and I spoke with the officers.
"I have tried to learn a lesson of what I was doing," he said.
For the offence of "sustained and really very dangerous wandering about the narrow streets and pavements of the City", De Carne will be fined £1,250.
For his "multiple refusals" to stop when a policeman asked him to, he was given a £1,000 fine.
De Carne was also made to pay £85 in court costs and a £125 victim surcharge.
Duncan Dollimore, Senior Legal Campaigns Officer at Cycling UK, raised concerns about the magistrate’s comments about cyclists, which he said vilify a road user group.
He said: "Cycling UK believe the courts are right to condemn reckless and dangerous behaviour by all road users, including cyclists. However, we don't believe it is one magistrate's right to vilify an entire road user group just because of their own personal prejudice.
"Cycling UK will be writing to City of London Magistrates Court to ask whether Chair of the Bench, Catherine Hobey-Hamsher will now disqualify herself from future cases involving cyclists, given her obvious dislike for them."
This article was amended on 27 October. The original article said "nobody likes cyclists". This was changed to "people don't like cyclists".