A cyclist in Cambridge now has a criminal record after he faced a Magistrates’ Court trial for cycling on the pavement.
David Arnold, 35, was one of 40 cyclists who were caught on the pavement in Arbury Road in a police sting.
They were all offered the opportunity to pay a fine, but Arnold refused, saying that the footpath had been mixed use further along, and there had been no signage to indicate bicycles were no longer permitted.
He was convicted of riding a pedal cycle on a footpath after a one-hour trial at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, and was fined £30 plus a £15 victim surcharge. The fixed penalty notice that he was offered on the day would have been a £30 fine.
However Arnold now carries a criminal record, potentially something he has to declare to employers and other officials.
Cambridgeshire police defended their actions though, saying that local communities had requested the crackdown, because they were angry that cyclists dodged traffic lights by cycling on the pavement.
A spokesman told Cambridge News: “We want cyclists to stop using the pavement as they pose a danger to pedestrians.
“We will continue to carry out enforcement days and anyone caught riding on pavements faces being fined.
“Ultimately we do not want them riding on the pavement, but if they do we will give them fixed penalty notices and it is their decision to contest that.”
Mr Arnold said after the trial: “I have cycled along that bit of pavement on what must be 500 occasions. I am not the only one who is confused by this.
“There must be better signage so people know when they can cycle on pavements and when they can’t so this does not happen to anyone else.”
Colin Rosenstiel, a cyclist and city councillor, said some of the signage in the city was “appalling” and he was surprised the cyclist was made to go through legal proceedings.
He added: “It’s a bit harsh if he was saying he was genuinely confused by the signage. The trouble is as a cyclist you are trying to stick to the law and some of the signage does not help at all.”
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: “Shared use footpaths are clearly marked and our advice to cyclists would be that unless the footpath is clearly signed as such they should not use it as a cycleway.”
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.