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Is “the principal benefit of cycling achieved only by risking life and limb”? Cyclist gets lambasted for jumping traffic queue; 30km/hr speed limit for bicycles in Flanders; Van Aert trains for cyclocross in snow + more on the live blog

The mercury’s dropping, but you don’t have to worry about getting dropped this Thursday with your live blog host Adwitiya as he brings you all the crucial news from the cycling world

SUMMARY

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30 November 2023, 09:36
Is the "principal benefit of cycling achieved only by risking life and limb"? Cyclist gets lambasted for jumping traffic queue

To start the day with, I have a video for you all, shared by a cyclist showing him navigating his way through a traffic queue, with the caption: "I'm posting this just so some motorists can get mad".

And lo and behold, it seems to have hit a nerve with motorists, or rather most people, so much so that in usual social media (Twitter) fashion, some were even found wishing bodily harm upon the cyclist.

The video posted by the account called Cycling in Kilkenny has been viewed almost 20,000 times, and the top reply right now, posted by Neal O'Kelly reads: "The bit that amuses me is that the principal benefit of cycling (not having to queue in traffic) is achieved only by risking life and limb, but then cyclists complain that motorists put them in danger."

Oh my! So if I'm getting this right, the chief advantage of cycling is to not have to queue in traffic? And you can only actually reap the rewards of this by having to risk your "life and limb"

A few insidious comments too...

But of course, there was some banter too.

But after all is said done, is it actually a good idea to go past drivers on a not-very-wide road with oncoming traffic from the opposite side, with one person also pointing out that overtaking on the the Belisha beacon crossing was not a very "clever" idea, or is it just natural, and maybe even more efficient and quicker for everyone if cyclists were to filter past slower-moving traffic in this sort of situation?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

30 November 2023, 17:09
Meet "David Plowie" and "Spready Salted", who keep London's bike routes open and safe, whatever the weather
30 November 2023, 16:23
Victory for cyclists and walkers in legal challenge to council decision to reopen narrow bridge to motor traffic
Keyhole Bridge before and after, Poole (via Cycling UK).PNG

Finally, some good news to cut through the usual doom and glow on this live blog!

Cycling UK has won a legal challenge against Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council over the latter’s decision to keep a narrow road underneath a railway bridge in Poole open to motor vehicles – and says that the decision underlines the need for local authorities to properly evaluate the benefits of temporary restrictions on motor traffic before removing them.

Earlier this year, the charity applied for a judicial review of the council keeping Keyhole Bridge in Poole Park open to motor vehicles, with drivers regularly using it as a rat-run, thereby posing a danger to vulnerable road users due to the narrowness of the road.

> Victory for cyclists and walkers in legal challenge to council decision to reopen narrow bridge to motor traffic

30 November 2023, 16:03
The unholy, ungodly, satanic thread for which no one is prepared for.

You could say that your live blog host isn't too keen on a lot of the AI art you see popping around, but what I've just seen takes the cake as the best use of it. I almost want to say I'm okay with this sort of use as long as it's only relegated to memes and laughs.

Bram Wulteputte asked ChatGPT to design a pro cycling kit, and normally it came out without any of those things know as, sponsors. However, he wrote on Twitter that for every 10 likes, he'd ask the AI to add more sponsors.

Now while some of them are quite nice to look initially (I really hope teams don't start designing their kits using this technique), but by the team this trainwreck reaches its conclusion, it's an acid-fuelled, nightmarish, bizarre trip. Anyway, here goes the most unhinged cycling thread ever...

These actually look good.

Skip a few, and here we are.

Now we are in crazy town.

We are NOT playing anymore. This is really serious now.

Galaxies, universes, wormholes... Cycling has gone cosmic.

THIS. This is what cycling will morph into. Ring the bells, for the AI has seen the future! Don't tell us we didn't warn you...

30 November 2023, 15:35
More bad news: Cycling market downturn worse than expected, says Halfords
halfords-store-front

Halfords, the UK’s biggest bike retailer, has said that the downturn in the UK retail cycling market is worse than it expected, but adds that while its sales in the segment have fallen during the first half of its current financial year, it is performing better than its competitors.

Meanwhile, Crawley, West Sussex-based independent bike shop chain Balfe’s Bikes has published its latest  full-year financial results, posting a loss for the year to end-March 2023.

Read more: > Cycling market downturn worse than expected, says Halfords

30 November 2023, 13:24
2023 Paris Roubaix Mathieu van der Poel © Zac Williams-SWpix.com - 1 (1)
Leave the bar tape at home! No Paris-Roubaix cobbles for 2025 Tour de France Grand Départ from Lille
2025 Tour de France Grand Depart route (image: ASO)

2025 Tour de France etape un à trois (image: ASO)

The 2025 Tour de France Grand Départ route has just been unveiled by the organisers ASO, and it doesn't bring me any joy to inform you that despite the peloton setting off from France's Lille-Nord, tucked away in the Flemish region bordering Belgium and ever-so-close to the fabled cobbles which feature in the Paris-Roubaix classic, we won't see the riders battle the brutal pavé.

If we can have 14 gravel sectors through the champagne vineyards in next years' Tour de France, we could have surely had the cobbles, especially when it's right there!

Anyway, the overall route does seem promising, with punchy climbs and the potential for crosswinds making things interesting in what is certainly going to be a sprinter's victory.

Stage two ends at the lush seaside Boulogne-sur-Mer, albeit with a tough summit finish where Peter Sagan  won in 2012, and finally the stage 3 from Valenciennes will feature the Cote de Cassel climb before the riders finish at Dunkerque.

30 November 2023, 13:12
Happy St Andrew's Day!

Nothing to do with cycling, but considering it's St Andrew's Day today, it's only fair I place this comical clip of Twitter boss Elon Musk trying to act vaguely amiable but failing hilariously on this live blog

"I am Andrew."
"Sorry!"
"It's okay..."

Looking back at this, there would probably be much better ways to wish our Scottish readers and all those celebrating, but oh well, some might say there could be better live blog hosts but you all are stuck with me instead!

30 November 2023, 12:59
Cyclist filtering through traffic: Not okay! Drivers doing the same: All good mate!

Oh this one brings back memories of another live blog post, possibly from this morning? So let me try and get this right, if cyclists jump a stopped vehicle (as was the case in the other video), it's dangerous behaviour which can cause (and even draw wishes of strangers online) of bodily harm, but if you do so when sat in a metal cage, it's all good and the cyclist is making something out of nothing!

30 November 2023, 12:25
Cyclist catches taxi driver using mobile phone... and gets called "coward" (thrice)

London's finest, ladies and gentlemen!

30 November 2023, 11:47
Cyclists in Flanders (via Flickr by antoine, CC BY 2.0 DEED)
Speed cameras given the go ahead for bicycle streets in Flanders — with impending 30km/hr limit on cycling soon

Flanders, one of the most historically rich and significant places for cycling in the world, has just approved a plan which will see the installation of unmanned, automated speed cameras in the bicycle streets of the Dutch speaking region of Belgium.

More importantly, a speed limit of 30km/hr will be applicable to everyone, including cyclists, and violation will lead to penalisation.

Bicycle streets, a common road infrastructure in Flanders and other parts of Belgium, are intended for cyclists to cycle easily and safely. Although people in cars and other motorised traffic are still allowed to drive there, they are subordinate to bikes and are not allowed to overtake cyclists.

> Do cyclists have to stick to the speed limit?

The Brussels Times reports that the speed cameras are scheduled for spring next year, once the draft decision has been approved by the Flemish Government. The law will then take effect ten days after its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Until now, violations of the 30 km/h speed limit within a cycling zone could only be detected by manned automatic devices, requiring police officers to detect violations and impose sanctions. But soon speeding violations will be detected with speed cameras or average speed checks, without the need for a police officer.

> Police stop cyclists riding at 39mph in 30mph zone despite speed limits not applying to bicycle riders

Lydia Peeters, the Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works, said: "In recent years, many local authorities have set up cycling zones to give cyclists more space. Cycling is becoming more popular and it is my ambition to get even more people cycling in the coming years.

"With this adjustment, we give local authorities and police zones more options to enforce the speed limit. This is good for road safety and to encourage bicycle use."

30 November 2023, 10:57
Everyone, get your pitchforks out! It's road vs gravel bike time
Is a gravel bike the ultimate winter bike? Nov 2023

I'm sure this will be a civil and amicable discussion: What should be your winter bike? The same ol', trusty road bike, or is there a case for switching to a gravel bike?

road.cc writer Emily Tillet makes the case for the latter, and shares her experience of how having a gravel bike to tackle those harsh, wet, muddy conditions in the winter could be a better option for many...

Read the full article: > Is a gravel bike the ultimate winter bike? Why you should make the switch to gravel from the classic winter road bike

30 November 2023, 10:43
A simple game of "Guess who"
30 November 2023, 10:20
MP duped by Daily Mail article claiming famous palm tree will be “chopped down” to make way for cycle lanes gets corrected by London’s cycling commissioner
Palm tree on Lambeth Bridge, London, being removed as part of cycle lane plans (Will Norman)

A Conservative MP who urged Transport for London to have a “rethink”, as she posted a Daily Mail article claiming that a famous palm tree in the city is set to be “chopped down” to make way for cycle lanes, has been criticised by walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman, who pointed out that the tree is simply being relocated in order to “make London’s most dangerous junction safer for road users.”

The online backlash against Nickie Aiken came after the Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster reposted on X, formerly Twitter, a Daily Mail story on the removal of the phoenix palm tree, located on the northern roundabout at Lambeth Bridge, with the caption “save our palm tree”.

However, Aiken’s tweet prompted a vociferous response from cycling campaigners in the capital, including London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman.

“As you know Nickie, the tree isn’t being chopped down, it is being relocated to make London’s most dangerous junction safer for road users,” Norman wrote. “We do not want any more fatal collisions at this location.”

 

> MP duped by Daily Mail article claiming famous palm tree will be “chopped down” to make way for cycle lanes gets corrected by London’s cycling commissioner

30 November 2023, 09:58
A Tale of Two Disciplines: Van der Poel and Evenepoel enjoy sunny ride in Spain, while Wout Van Aert trains for cyclocross in snow

Oh the duality of cycling. Two riders enjoying a ride in the most beautiful weather on a sunny hill in Spain, while another drudges his way through the snow with a bike.

With the cyclocross season now underway, it's time for the roadies to let loose, but if you've chosen the double life of a cross and a road cyclist, there ain't no rest for the wicked.

The men's road racing world champion Mathieu van der Poel and the men's time trial champion Remco Evenepoel were filmed cycling together in Calp, a quaint little town on Spain's Mediterranean coast, with clear blue skies and a shining sun overhead.

Evenepoel also posted the ride on his Strava, on which he was also accompanied by another Alpecin rider Siebe Roesems, with the activity titled 'FC Alpecin'.

 

And then on the other hand, there's Wout van Aert, fresh off the back of winning Tour of Britain and a road season which seemed to dazzle and burn too brightly at the start, only for it to flicker in the middle and end with not as many victories and goals as the Belgian rider might have wanted to achieve.

Wout van Aert, Dublin UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2022 (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Wout van Aert, Dublin UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2022 (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

It's been almost 10 months that Van Aert has raced in cyclocross, and now the 29-year-old rider from Herentals, Flanders, was back in his home region to amp up his CX training. With temperatures below the freezing point, he completed a 146km ride yesterday, and another 68km on Tuesday, with the latter titled 'Annual wake-up call'.

Belgian rider Eli Iserbyt chipping in with a cheeky comment on Strava: "Please don't wake up too much."

And to add more to the misery, Van Aert also did a 10km run in wet snow yesterday, also part of training regiment for cylocross. Cycling, what a brutal sport.

 

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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80 comments

Avatar
cyclisto replied to Adam Sutton | 4 months ago
3 likes

We have an area that gives options. The one is safer and slower and the other is faster and as demostrated in the video possibly dangerous. Anyone may chose his route. I would definitely choose safe and slow, some here would prefer speed. As many times posted here before, I cycle in order to feel safe given the expected real conditions, not the ones I would expect other drivers to make if they fully obliged to the law as if they were robots.

I will not necessary agree with some laws in other countries that oblige you to cycle in cycle lane if it exists. But in any case when there is dedicated cycle infra I try to use it. Not only because in the vast majority is safer than having to share the road with a 40 ton truck, but because when you use them, it is the best advertisement for people still hesitant to cycle. More cyclists on the road, greater chances to have better cycling infra in the future.

Have a nice weekend guys

Avatar
Adam Sutton replied to cyclisto | 4 months ago
2 likes

I live outside of London where what passes for cycle infrastructure is in most cases a shared use sign on the pavement. I would love to have infrastructure like this on my doorstep, and enjoy using it when I have the energy to take the brompton with me to avoid the tube going from central to West London.

Have a great one.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 4 months ago
3 likes

Adam Sutton wrote:

Yes I do, because like Rendy you cannot simply accept a simple statement or viewpoint that differs from your own hard set viewpoints, and therefore have to create counterpoints to things you want me to have said and blow things out of proportion.

I responded to your questioning the cyclist using the road - you did specifically do that, so why are you fabricating some personal attack on me and "Rendy"?

I have no problem with you having a different viewpoint, but if it's a victim blaming one, then I'll try to clarify why you want the cyclist to modify their behaviour, but not the motorist that's causing the issue.

Why do you think this is being blown out of proportion? I at no point accused you of victim blaming, but pointed out that your comment was (there is a difference between accusing someone of "being" something vs pointing out that a comment has that property). I'm wondering if you're projecting somewhat.

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
0 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

but it smacks of victim blaming to decry a cyclist using the road as the being dangerous when the danger is entirely manufactured by poor driving

I am not projecting at all, just as I never "decried" the cyclists for using the road. All I did was point out that the cycle lane that cyclisto referenced at the start, was at that point in use/usable.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 4 months ago
3 likes

Adam Sutton wrote:

hawkinspeter wrote:

but it smacks of victim blaming to decry a cyclist using the road as the being dangerous when the danger is entirely manufactured by poor driving

I am not projecting at all, just as I never "decried" the cyclists for using the road. All I did was point out that the cycle lane that cyclisto referenced at the start, was at that point in use/usable.

Well, it certainly came across that way to me.

Decry: To express disapproval of (a person); denounce: synonym: criticize.

Adam Sutton wrote:

So why as a more vulnerable road user put yourself in that situation in the first place, and then even try and force your way through?

So, interpreting your question as a simple, non-judgemental question, I would answer that the cyclist wants to use the straight-forward quicker route.

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Rendel Harris replied to cyclisto | 4 months ago
3 likes

You've completely ignored what I've said, the cycle path stops there and you would have to cross the road and cycle in the traffic lane that the cyclist is using anyway. They have simply switched to the road sensibly in advance so they don't have to try and cross two lanes of traffic in order to carry on going forward.

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hawkinspeter replied to cyclisto | 4 months ago
12 likes

cyclisto wrote:

To the angry cyclist for overtaking cars the red bus, there is a great cycle path next to him.

Do you mean the one on the other side of the road? Just a case of crossing two lanes of traffic to get there, probably tangle with pedestrians or get stopped at every side street and then cross back over two lanes of traffic when it suddenly stops and you want to use the road again.

Alternatively, drivers could just wait until they could make a safe overtake of the bus - maybe 5 seconds or so?

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Bungle_52 replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
8 likes

Sarcasm on

But surely the vehicles were "established"

sarcasm off

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Patrick9-32 | 4 months ago
7 likes

Please don't share AI "Art". It is trained by stealing from human artists. Every AI art piece is by definition stolen intellectual property from a all human artists who have a hard enough life as it is. 

Today its: "Har har it put fingers on a shoe har har"  but we are a very small number of years away from "Why would I employ a creative human to do that job when an AI can do it instead for free?"

I don't want to live in a world where human creativity is eradicated, do you?

Avatar
Brauchsel replied to Patrick9-32 | 4 months ago
1 like

Agree. I don't take photographs, because it's putting landscape and portrait painters out of a job and eradicating human creativity.

People have wanted art, and to employ good artists, despite the technological changes through pretty much the whole of human history. I don't see that changing.

If someone's art can be replaced, without any loss of meaning, by AI then it probably wasn't a good use of the artist's time or skills. I'm pretty sure you could build a robot that could pedal a self-steering bike at 100kph, but people will still want to watch the Tour de France. 

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Car Delenda Est replied to Brauchsel | 4 months ago
5 likes

That doesn't really change the fact that they are using artwork without permission or payment, potentially for commercial purposes.

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Robert Hardy replied to Car Delenda Est | 4 months ago
0 likes

Unless an artist is blind then so have they!

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Car Delenda Est replied to Patrick9-32 | 4 months ago
0 likes

Iirc one of the newer releases of either Disco Diffusion or Stable Diffusion is trained on unstolen art.

Can't say I really know anything about it personally but a friend of mine likes to waffle about that stuff.

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Robert Hardy replied to Patrick9-32 | 4 months ago
0 likes

Most commercial art is in large part created out of the works and ideas of other artists and quite a bit of fine art too. Certain types of work may be automated, but moan about it to a highly skilled type compositor of forty years ago, paying opportunities for human creativity will remain and probably expand.

Avatar
Hirsute | 4 months ago
7 likes

Fatal Crashes

The attached report refines data previously published by

and is a very significant step forward in understanding the causes of fatal crashes. By using the last, rather than an early assessment point, we draw benefit from an extensive investigation using a whole range of expertise, and in doing so provide a much more precise assessment of the contributory factors. We recognise that more informed fatal crash data will help all stakeholders - including policing - respond to and target the causes, and by doing so help to save life. It will also provide a more informed picture for crash victims and the wider public. The data has found a notable rise in speed and impairment through drink or drugs as contributory factors, and therefore we now know that these offence types are much more likely to result in fatalities. This reinforces our strategy of targeting drivers who commit these offences. On average 5 people die every day in the UK in road crashes, and somebody is killed or seriously injured every 23 minutes. So many people lives needlessly cut short or changed, and so many bereaved families left with lifelong devastation. This has to change and more informed data can help influence the urgent action needed.

From Andy Cox

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/contributory-factors-in-fatal-c...

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
7 likes

Thanks - an excellent link.

Some limits to the data of course (it's the police, so police have to have attended AND made a note of something) but it's high proportion of the total available.

Probably not surprising to everyone but the main ones associated with deaths:

Speed - exceeding the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions
Drink or drugs - driver or rider impaired by alcohol / driver or rider impaired by drugs
Distraction - driver using mobile phone
(Plus not wearing seatbelts)

Remind me why phone use and speeding aren't "real" crimes again?

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quiff | 4 months ago
3 likes

I love that, for Cycling in Kilkenny, that was enough traffic to warrant posting a video of! When I think of the hundreds of stationary cars I have passed in my commuting...

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Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
3 likes

Despite the fact that it could have been highly entertaining, probably the right call not to include pave sections in the opening stage of the Tour. Opening stages are always incredibly chaotic and nervous anyway, throw in a rainstorm and muddy cobbles and it could have been absolute carnage; imagine the criticism the organisers would get if two or three GC contenders went out on the opening day with broken collarbones or worse. In eschewing the chance to race on the cobbles they are thinking about the health and spectacle of the race as a whole as opposed to a one-off sensation at the start. For those of us who love Paris-Roubaix, well, we've got Paris-Roubaix! Without wanting to sound too much of the old curmudgeon that I am, I hope this starts a trend to stop including quite so many "novelty" stages in GTs, they are exciting enough as it is without the need to chuck in gravel or cobbles, in my opinion.

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Miller replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
4 likes

Quite apart from the cobbles thing, three stages in the Pas de Calais looks ideal for popping over w bike to spectate and ride and bring back wine.

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mattw | 4 months ago
6 likes

To me the Flanders bicycle road speed limit sounds, on balance, to be a benefit for people using cycles. It will help control dozy drivers in motor vehicles, which is the problem.

Provided it is enforced.

The only issue is imo if it turns out to be an entering wedge.

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andystow replied to mattw | 4 months ago
5 likes

Yup, 30 km/h is a bit over 18 MPH, I have no trouble staying under that in town without needing a speedometer, unless there's a long descent.

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mitsky | 4 months ago
6 likes

CyclingMikey's brilliant explanation of the difference between cyclists filtering and drivers passing too closely:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikWFQquoZto

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OnYerBike replied to mitsky | 4 months ago
0 likes
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Flintshire Boy replied to OnYerBike | 4 months ago
1 like

 

'Hmm... this page doesn’t exist. Try searching for something else.'

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OnYerBike replied to Flintshire Boy | 4 months ago
6 likes

Sorry, when you paste a link road.cc sometimes includes a trailing space in the hyperlink. Try this.

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mitsky replied to OnYerBike | 4 months ago
0 likes

Yep, thats a good one too. smiley

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Backladder | 4 months ago
0 likes

Quote:

More importantly, a speed limit of 30km/hr will be applicable to everyone, including cyclists, and violation will lead to penalisation.

Until now, violations of the 30 km/h speed limit within a cycling zone could only be detected by manned automatic devices, requiring police officers to detect violations and impose sanctions. But soon speeding violations will be detected with speed cameras or average speed checks, without the need for a police officer.

Cue bicycle nunberplates in Flanders!

 

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KDee replied to Backladder | 4 months ago
0 likes

Yeah, there's no way to enforce it for cyclists, but those on mopeds etc. will need to watch out which is great.

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ChasP replied to Backladder | 4 months ago
2 likes

Reading the article I think the title is misleading. I think the limit is aimed at motor traffic using the bicycle streets not the cyclists.

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KDee replied to ChasP | 4 months ago
1 like

Yep, that's what I think. You can't send a fine through the post for speeding if you can't identify the rider.

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