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Cambridge cracks down on rising numbers of anti-social cyclists

Cycle groups applaud action, but both they and council cast doubt on rise in numbers

An increase of anti-social cycling cases in Cambridge is causing concern and has led police to launch a crackdown and hand out penalty notices.

Cambridge City Council recorded nearly 900 incidents of anti-social cycling between April and June, up from 689 in the previous three months. Police have launched a crackdown, handing out 27 penalty notices against cyclists contravening traffic signals in the city centre since the start of July, along with 17 for cyclists riding on the pavement. The penalty notices set cyclists back £30 a time.

The council’s city centre rangers make daily patrols to check that cyclists are following the rules, engaging in what they describe as “friendly chats” to those who are not. For the 883 cases of anti-social cycling recorded between April and June, Sidney Street and Bridge Street were the worst areas.

But cycling groups in the city feel the statistics are slightly misleading. A spokesperson from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign said: “Of course we'd expect such reports to rise at the time of year when there are more cyclists compared with January-March. It would have been more relevant to compare with a similar period last year. Remember these were not fines or prosecutions, but the City Rangers warning cyclists, not necessarily for specific offences.

“In both Sidney Street and Bridge Street there is ignorance among many users of the regulations. Better signing would help, but there is justifiable opposition to 'clutter' of street signs.”

Cycling and walking promotion and development officer in Cambridge Clare Rankin said: “Anti-social cycling is anything from cycling on pavements, and cycling without lights to cycling along pedestrian-only routes.”

But with regards the number of complaints about cycling she does not think it’s any different despite the rise in riders. “We haven’t had any more complaints from people about cycling than we usually have. It’s a perception thing – a lot of near misses cyclists will perceive as just cycling whereas pedestrians will perceive a near miss as more dangerous.”

The city is renowned for its enthusiastic cyclists with one in four residents said to cycle to work, and the city provides cycling maps, city locker hire and cycle parking, adult cycle training schemes, safer routes to schools, and cycle hire.

The anti-social use of cycles and vehicles in the city centre was made a neighbourhood policing priority in January following consultation with the public.
The figures on anti-social cycling are revealed in a report by the city council and police officers being presented to the council’s west/central area committee on Thursday.

The spokesperson from Cambridge Cycling Campaign added: “We support action by the police to clamp down on anti-social cycling. We also wish to see an extended period of enforcement to help get the message across, rather than merely just single days of action that have recently been held – the police can and should do more.

“We particularly urge them to concentrate on enforcement of cycle light offences when the clocks go back.”





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dave atkinson | 14 years ago

we ran a blog on martin's video a while back:

Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago

Interesting point Martin, but surely you either have them or you don't have them, but you can't half have them?

Martin Cassini | 14 years ago

You complain about other road-users but accept the rules of the road without question. Not only should cyclists ignore lights, but pedestrians and motor traffic should ignore them too. They are an unnecessary evil. Whenever lights break down, peaceful coexistence breaks out. As soon as the lights are "working" again, the jams and hostility are back. Lights are a retrospective "cure" for the cancer of main road priority, which subverts the social order, abandons common law principles of equal rights and responsibilities, and confers superior rights on main road traffic at the expense of everyone else. Lights were introduced to interrupt the priority streams of traffic so that others could cross in relative - but not guaranteed - safety. Remove priority, and you remove the "need" for lights and the need for speed, enabling everyone to do what is natural and intrinsically safe: approach carefully, watch the road and filter, more or less in turn. Could it be that simple? It could. For more on this, google FiT Roads or my name.

Mark | 14 years ago

Agree with Nathan on this and how it should be implemented in London where there are some incredibly offensive riders. But no way are cyclists the worst offenders.

Try lorry drivers or buses who stop in traffic over zebra and other pedestrian crossings. This means that when you wait for the light to turn green to cross, you have to either walk out and wait in traffic to see when it's safe or stand for ages waiting for the bus/lorry to move on.

I really think that more should be done against these rule-breakers.

hammergonewest | 14 years ago

Totally agree Nathan…

nathangoss | 14 years ago

They need to do this in London.

I don't know about the majority of cyclists in London, but I found the concept of traffic lights quite easy to grasp when I was a child, and the concept has stuck with me ever since. Red = Stop. Green = Go. It's not rocket surgery!

I don't care if there is nothing coming. The light is red. Stop!

Ideas about making it ok for cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs are great - I agree with them. But until they are the law, STOP at the bloody lights!

The law abiding cyclists amongst us have to put up with abuse from motorists that lump ALL cyclists into the same group: "you are a cyclist, therefore you go through red lights, and I will abuse you."

Have a think before going through red lights. It is not cool. You are giving the rest of us a bad name. And I will pass you again anyway!

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