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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.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.