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No penalty for driver overtaking on wrong side of pedestrian island; Mayor against pop-up cycle lanes because of inexperienced cyclists; More cyclists than drivers stopped on Box Hill; Sophie-Ellis Bextor in A+E after bike crash + more on the live blog

Welcome to Wednesday's live blog, with Jack Sexty in charge and Simon MacMichael taking over this evening...
03 June 2020, 15:29
Wiltshire Police say they won't charge driver who overtook on the wrong side of a refuge island because they gave 'enough room'

While plenty of room was indeed given, it was all for the wrong reasons as you'll see above, with the driver overtaking on the wrong side of a pedestrian refuge island to overtake two tandem cyclists.

The road.cc reader who captured the footage shared the correspondence he received from Wiltshire Police after submitting it to them, with the first response saying:

"After looking at your video I (sic) shows that the land rover (sic) crossed a solid white line to make this overtake (sic) if there wasn’t any bollard or white lines this would be ok as they have given enough room for you, this has been sent to the contact centre to look into."

The second response stated: "Thank you for your enquiry. I have conferred with our Justice Traffic department. Unfortunately at this time they are unable to accept footage for driving offences. Footage is only accepted as additional evidence following a collision. We hope in the future that will change."

After receiving the disappointing responses, the cyclist told road.cc: "The issue here is not about close passing etc, its about dangerous driving, I am sure a preventative tap on the shoulder is more cost affective than dealing with a later crash. Whilst people feel they can do things with impunity, the standards will continue to fall."

03 June 2020, 14:29
Chichester Mayor against pop-up cycle lanes because "there are many cyclists who are now inexperienced", and cites rise in cyclist fatalities
Chichester_Think_Bike_Sign_(West_Sussex_CC_YouTube_still)

A road.cc reader has made us aware of an open letter to Chichester residents from the Mayor, Councillor Richard Plowman, who appears to associate inexperienced cyclists with a rise in cyclist incidents and fatalities. 

In the letter Councillor Plowman said: "The Government’s promotion of cycling is welcome, but there are consequences. Bicycle sales have risen a massive 40% and even with the drop to 1950s levels of traffic on the roads during lockdown, cyclists’ accidents, particularly fatalities, have doubled.  Road traffic is returning to pre-pandemic levels and construction traffic on St Paul’s Road, Orchard Road and Lavant Road has increased as building at White House Farm is under way again. I heard recently of a gentleman who had not ridden a bicycle for many decades. He bought a brand-new one, set off down his drive, wobbled, crashed into the gate, fell off and broke his shoulder. Hardly a help to the NHS!

"There are initiatives for so called ‘pop-up cycle ways’, but the overriding issue is one of safety. There are now many cyclists who are inexperienced. Children are often seen on two-wheelers that are too big for them. How many riders will stop cycling to work when the weather is cold, wet and miserable, especially when social distancing will mean few spaces at work for changing? The City Council is heavily involved in this matter, and advice and training will be available soon to keep road users and pedestrians safe."

The road.cc reader who shared the letter told us: "This is after starting with concerns that people aren't abiding by the 'no cycling' rules in the parks or through the city centre, (where there are no safe alternatives), and in the same breath talking about increasing general traffic, and highlighting HGV's etc for local building works. 

"This is after the death of a much loved local lady, Gina McWilliam, who was killed by a HGV driver in Bosham in 2019, resulting in a ground roots campaign for a safe cycling route so people could cycle in safety into Chichester.

"I'm absolutely disgusted by it."

Since the lockdown, there has been numerous examples of council and government figures making controversial comments about cycling infrastructure - Geoff Driver, who heads Lancashire County County Council, dismissed Cycling UK’s petition for cycling space as ‘childish antics’, while Walsall’s council leader Mike Bird somewhat paradoxically said he was against the installation of more cycle lanes because he belives bikes and cars can't mix safely, and because of “cyclists riding two, three or four abreast”.

03 June 2020, 14:19
Cyclist dies in collision with van who was 'travelling in the opposite direction'
Police tape (CC licensed by freefotouk on Flickr)

Lancashire Police are appealing for witnesses after a male cyclist in his 50's died in a collision with a Ford Transit Tipper van in Altcar, West Lancashire.

Police were called at around 8.10pm on 2nd June, and after being taken to Aintree Hospital by emergency services, the man was pronounced dead a short time later. Police say the cyclist was travelling in the opposite direction to the van when they collided. The road was closed until 1.30am this morning while investigators attended the scene.

Sergeant Steve Hardman of the Lancashire Police Tac Ops team commented: “First and foremost we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the man who died.

“We are now working extremely hard to piece together exactly what occurred and we would ask anybody who saw the collision, and has not yet been spoken to by police, to make contact with us as soon as possible. Similarly if you have dashcam footage showing the collision, or if you saw either of the vehicles involved in the moments before it happened, please get in touch.”

Anyone with information can call 101, quoting log number 1405 of June 2nd.

03 June 2020, 14:15
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrives for museum opening by bike

While the spotter admits there is likely plenty of security out of shot, it beats that huge motorcade we've become used to seeing across the Atlantic...

03 June 2020, 14:06
Be like Mads and #GoByBike

The Dane shows us that he also uses his bike to shop for vegetables as well as winning word titles in this ad campaign from Trek to support World Bicycle Day.

03 June 2020, 12:31
Sophie-Ellis Bexter hospitalised after Thames path bike accident
03 June 2020, 12:05
Halfords reopen a further 100 stores
halfords social distancing 2 - June 2020

Using a model they're calling 'Retail Lite',  Halfords will open another 100 stores to take the total now physically trading up to 153. Before the reopening most of Halfords' 446 stores were operating under a 'Dark Store' model, with customers placing orders out the front of the shop. The reopened stores will only allow a certain number in at all times, with a marshalled queue outside, and have safety notices inside reminding customers to keep their distance. Cleaning stations are located at the front of stores, staff are wearing visors and customers are asked not to handle products.

This news comes as Halfords have reported am increase in demand for e-mobility, with e-bike sales doubling. CEO Graham Stapleton commented: “With lockdown restrictions lifting many of us are starting to think about returning to work, and what our commutes will begin to look like. We’ve seen a big surge in demand for e-bikes and e-scooters, with members of the public turning to e-bikes to help them commute to work as an affordable alternative to public transport or driving."

03 June 2020, 11:12
Surrey Road Policing Unit stop twice as many cyclists as motorists in Box Hill 'Operation Close Pass'
Box Hill road painting 3 (courtesy Andrew Wright)

In Surrey Road Cops' latest Close Pass Operation on Box Hill, they claim to have stopped and spoken to 44 cyclists and 23 motorists. They said: "As part of the operation a police officer in plain clothes equipped with video capability cycled as a ‘spotter’, identifying any ‘close pass’ incidents or other motoring offences as well as any offences relating to cycling or cyclists contravening the road traffic act. Officers on two marked police motorbikes were then able to locate and stop any road user who had been identified."

They also say they responded to a collision where a cyclist hurt their arm, and stopped one motorcyclist for a fail to stop offence.

When questioned on social media what the cyclists where stopped for, Surrey's Road Policing Unit say the misdemeanours ranged from passing a vehicle on the left at a junction, failing to check behind before moving out to pass and incorrect positioning at pinch points. This has led to some criticism, with some saying that they should be focusing on those who have the ability to do most harm on the roads; however Surrey Road Cops replied to one comment saying that "the vast majority" of offenders they deal with are motorists.

03 June 2020, 11:01
Walsall Council leader doesn't want pop-up cycle lanes... because of concerns over road safety
Cycle lanes - 10.jpg

It appears Councillor Mike Bird needs to make his mind up, as the Walsall Council Leader was quote in the Express and Star as saying that installing more cycle lanes would present an "insurmountable challenge" due to the "dangers" of mixing cars and bicycles... which is strange, because the idea of cycle lanes is to remove the dangers of mixing cars and bicycles. He also claims to have seen cyclists "taking ownership" of the road and "riding two, three or four abreast".

A full story on this will follow when we've got a comment back from Cycling UK.

03 June 2020, 10:39
Makeshift cycle lane removed by authorities in the Philippines

Showing that the battle for safe cycling space is a problem worldwide, footage is circulating of authorities in Manila removing barriers put up to protect cyclists while people are riding. According to Cycling Matters, this was the third attempt to install protective measures by cycling advocacy group Bikers United that was taken away by the Metro Manila Development Authority.

03 June 2020, 10:19
28 Days Later come to life

It's still difficult to get used to just how deserted some city streets have been since the pandemic began in March... and here's the scenes you would be greeted by today if cycling through London's usually bustling Bank area. Spooky indeed...

03 June 2020, 09:11
Councils can dish out fines for cycle lane parking: further clarification on the new rules
parking ticket - penalty charge notice

Last week we reported that from 22nd June, council officials will be able to ticket cars parked in cycle lanes from 22nd June using cameras - and now the RAC reports that the fines will be to the tune of £130, and will also be issued for other offences such as stopping in a box junction and driving the wrong way up a one-way street.

Junior Transport Minister Baroness Vere said councils would have enforcement powers under the 2004 Traffic Management Act, with currently only London councils able to issue the £130 penalty notices using cameras.

03 June 2020, 08:23
Broken bike stands made to look intact so they are easy to steal

This is a new one on us and rather worrying, as these Sheffield stands located at Stretford Mall in Manchester have been cut in two by thieves, in the hope that unsuspecting cyclists will use them. Local Stretford councillor Jane Slater replied to the spotter above saying that the issue had been reported to council officers.

03 June 2020, 08:51
"A blocked field of critical view likely to hide and kill a pedestrian or cyclist": lorry driver's shocking dashboard mess

It's pretty scary to think that anyone was sharing the road with the driver of this lorry, let alone vulnerable road users; as Hampshire's Road Policing Unit caught the driver with a dashboard piled so high with junk that it was clearly obstructing his view of the road. Hants Road Police haven't yet said where the incident took place or what action they will be taking against the driver.

03 June 2020, 08:30
It's World Bicycle Day

Marked by the United Nations annually, World Bicycle Day encourages member states to include cycling in their development strategies, improve road safety, advance the use of the bicycle and organise rides at national and local levels to promote cycling. Will you be marking it with a big old ride?

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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