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Edinburgh police launch equal-opportunity roads crackdown

Drivers and cyclists targeted in two-stage winter blitz

Police in Edinburgh today begin a two-week road safety initiative that will two-stage approach to warning and then punishing drivers and cyclists who break the road rules.

For the first week, the focus will be on “educating city centre road users” rather than punishing them, though Police Scotland say they will nevertheless take tough action against motorists or cyclists whose behaviour puts themselves and other road users at risk.

Officers will be on cycle patrol in locations throughout the city centre, particularly at busy times of the day where traffic is at a peak.

They will be keeping an eye out for common offences such as failing to obey traffic lights, illegal parking or stopping on main commuter roads, cycling on pavements, and cycling without lights during hours of darkness.

PC Stephen Kirk, from Police Scotland, said: "This fortnight-long initiative will have two phases, with the focus over the first week being on educating city centre road users on how they can keep themselves and others safe, at a time of year when hazards increase, not least because of darker evenings.

"The second week will focus more heavily on enforcement, particularly against those who we identify as repeat or blatant offenders whose behaviour warrants action.

"The ultimate aim of the initiative is to reduce road casualties in the city centre at a time of year where casualty numbers rise, particularly among cyclists.

"Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe, and our aim is to improve the safety of road users in Edinburgh city centre through a combination of education and targeted enforcement."

The combination of bad weather, dark evenings and road users being unaccustomed to the conditions means November has the highest number of road crashes. Oxford, Cambridge and Dorset have also announced increased enforcement activity in the last couple of weeks, usually aimed at cyclists rather than all road users.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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