Like this site? Help us to make it better.


“We can’t distinguish between good and bad cyclists”: Cycling activists blast “absurd” city centre bike ban; Calls for “safe cycling town” for kids – but councillor says “unpopular schemes” make life “harder for working people” + more on the live blog

Happy Halloween, everyone! And to celebrate, Ryan Mallon is here for a special spooky edition of the live blog (though it’ll probably be the usual old nonsense, if I’m honest…)


31 October 2023, 09:09
Cyclists in Lille's Grand'Place (licensed CC BY SA 2.0 by Alain Rouiller on Flickr)
“We don’t have the means to distinguish between good and bad cyclists”: Cycling activists blast “absurd” city centre bike ban – where cycle hire stations are located

In the UK we’re well used to controversies surrounding Public Spaces Protection Orders (better known as PSPOs), prohibiting people from riding their bikes in pedestrianised zones in city or town centres.

Over the past few months, North East Lincolnshire Council has been accused of “targeting” the old and slow with its cycling ban – and substantial fines and unclear signage – in Grimsby, while earlier this month police in Nuneaton asked the local authority to introduce a no cycle zone to cut out “really dangerous” cycling and “anti-social behaviour” in the shopping area, claiming that “we get a lot of kids wheelie-ing through and it sets the wrong tone”.

> "We get a lot of kids wheelie-ing through": Police claim danger of "anti-social behaviour" should be tackled with town centre cycling ban

And it seems the debate has crossed the Channel recently.

Last week we reported that the city council in Lille has banned bikes, as well as scooters and skateboards, from the northern French town’s historic centre, after claims that residents were becoming “scared” of the “influx” of rampaging cyclists.

And now, bans have also been implemented in Nice (the site of next year’s Tour de France finale), Agen, and Niort, with other councils under increasing pressure to follow suit.

“A lot of old people don’t dare walk in these streets anymore,” the pro-walking campaign group 60 Millions de Piétons (60 Million Pedestrians) has said, while calling for more bans to be implemented across France.

Meanwhile, Lille’s deputy mayor – who says cyclists could be fined between €35 and €135 for breaching the new ban, with the higher fines reserved for those riding particularly fast or even, God forbid, “wearing headphones” – added that blanket bans are necessary because local authorities don’t “have the means to distinguish between good and bad cyclists”.

> “Stick it up your a*se”, 82-year-old tells council officer after being fined £100 for cycling in town centre

However, the spokesperson for France’s National Federation of Bicycle Users, Thibault Quéré, joined his English colleagues by describing the bans as “worrying” and often “absurd” – especially in Lille, where, as we noted last week, several of the city’s V’Lille cycle hire docking stations are located within the prohibited zones.

Well, at least it’s good to know that confusing and counterproductive town centre cycling bans aren’t just a British phenomenon, right? Right?

31 October 2023, 10:03
“Would you feel comfortable with your kids cycling here?” ask campaigners calling for a “safe town to live in” – but councillor says local authority shouldn’t look for “unpopular schemes” that make life “harder for working people”

A cycling group in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole staged a special Halloween bike ride at the weekend – complete with fancy dress, of course – to call for safer infrastructure for “the huge amount of families who want to cycle”, while urging the council to make “radical changes” to ensure that the area is “liveable”.

The well-attended bike ride, held on Sunday in miserable conditions through Boscombe, Southbourne, and Littledown, was organised by Poole-based group Cycling Rebellion (a two-wheeled off-shoot of the more widely known Extinction Rebellion), whose founder Adam Osman told the Daily Echo: “We have to think about making cycling for everyone”.

> Active Travel Group sympathises with drivers “who feel ‘rather claustrophobic’ in their one tonne sofa-carrying steel boxes”

“You need to look at the current infrastructure and ask yourself, would you feel comfortable with your kids cycling there?” Osman asked.

“Because that is a safe town to live in, one that accommodates every form of transport.

“That’s why we’re riding today, to show the huge amount of families in BCP who want to cycle, and that we need to make big changes to make it liveable. We’re calling on the implementation of a 20mph speed limit in BCP to make BCP safe for families.”

The council says it is currently in the “early stages” of proposing more 20mph speed limits in residential areas, while environment portfolio holder Andy Hadley noted that a “full” public consultation will take place before any decision is made.

> “Why on earth would I want to cycle on a waterlogged path?” Cyclist blasts new harbourside bike path

But, judging by the Echo’s own, admittedly skewed, polling on the subject, that consultation may prove to be a rocky affair. According to the paper’s survey, 82 percent of residents don’t want a 20mph limit in their area, compared to the 17 percent who do, and the one percent who still aren’t sure.

And, while Cycling Rebellion has called on the council to make the area “liveable” for families and children, Conservative opposition councillor Phil Broadhead says the local authority should not be spending its time looking for “unpopular schemes” that only make life “harder for working people”.

Maybe Mr Broadhead should join one of the group’s bike rides sometime…

31 October 2023, 16:43
Continued weak cycling demand blamed as Mips sales fall by a third

Helmet technology company Mips, the Swedish brand behind the helmet safety system seen in many big-name brands’ lids, recorded a slump in the third quarter, blaming weak demand in cycling for a 32 percent fall in sales compared with the same period last year.

Nevertheless, CEO Max Strandwitz insisted the company can “remain confident about our long-term growth opportunities in the bike sub-category once the market starts to normalise”.

2023 Poc Ventral Air Mips - Mips logo.jpg

Read more: > Continued weak cycling demand blamed as Mips sales fall by a third

31 October 2023, 16:28
Luke Rowe, 2023 British national road race championships (Zac Williams/
Great podcast news: Luke Rowe signs new two-year deal with Ineos

In a welcome boost for his and Geraint Thomas’ plans for the 2024 season of the Watts Occurring podcast, the Ineos Grenadiers announced today that Luke Rowe has signed a new two-year deal with the British team.

“This team has been by home for my entire career and to ride on with them is a real honour. I’ve been fortunate to play my part in some of the brilliant results we’ve achieved in the past and will do the same for the very exciting future to come,” the 33-year-old, who turned pro with the then-Team Sky in 2012, developing into a reliable road captain and contributing to five Tour de France wins, said.

“My time as a Grenadier has included some incredible memories and I can’t wait to create many more. As one of the older, wiser heads, along with the likes of G and Swifty, we have a real opportunity to help the incredible array of young talent in the team as we look to achieve our goals.”

31 October 2023, 15:49
Right, I now know what my next bike is going to be…
2023 J.Laverack Aston Martin .1R road bike

> Aston Martin teams up with J.Laverack for “the world’s first ‘boltless’ bicycle” – the Aston Martin .1R

What a beauty. Like, I’m sure I’ll be able to afford it. How expensive could it be?

31 October 2023, 15:18
Critical Mass - Halloween 03 © Simon MacMichael.jpeg
“Yup, it’s reflective strips for Halloween costumes”: Road Safety GB’s latest spooky “victim-blaming” advice raises eyebrows

Ah, we have more terrible Halloween-themed safety campaigns to dissect on the live blog now, as Road Safety GB – you know, the mandatory helmet poll group – have this afternoon published some advice on how to keep children safe as they go trick or treating on a night when the risk of a “car accident” is heightened (and spoiler alert – the advice has very little to do with the responsibilities of motorists, and a lot to do with reflective stickers on Halloween costumes. Yep).

In the post, Road Safety GB quotes a survey from Road Angel – a company that makes speed camera detectors for motorists, no less – which found that “just” 18 percent of parent use reflective tape on their children’s costumes (who are these people?), “leaving kids susceptible to not being seen by other road users on dimly lit roads”.

> Road safety group runs mandatory cycling helmets poll... 85% reject proposal

“Despite Halloween being a fun time for kids going trick-or-treating, the dark night increases the risk for children on the roads,” Road Angel’s founder Gary Digva said.

“The combination of decreased visibility due to darker evenings and nighttime festivities, the excitement of trick-or-treating, and increased pedestrian activity can heighten car accident risks.”

Yes, Gary, nothing to do with the drivers, eh?

He continued: “With kids being four times more vulnerable to being involved in a road accident on Halloween night, we’re urging parents and drivers to do what they can to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.”

Surprisingly, none of Gary’s subsequent advice touches on what drivers can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Instead, he says: “Children should be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating, as navigating the streets at night can pose significant risks.

“Before allowing older children to go trick-or-treating on their own, parents should consider if their kids are sufficiently educated about road safety rules…

“It’s also important to consider costumes with reflective elements or add reflective tape to enhance visibility, especially as evenings grow darker following the end-of-October clock change.”

The Chair of the Road Danger Reduction Forum, Dr Robert Davis, was quick to criticise what he calls Road Safety GB’s decision to “uncritically” report “non-evidence-based victim blaming, here by a dashcam company (which alerts drivers to speed cameras) and adds sloppiness by using American lingo (‘crosswalks’). Sheesh.”

Sheesh indeed, Robert.

31 October 2023, 14:43
“Instead of victim blaming, why not send a message to drivers?” Road Safety Partnership criticised for “shameful” hi-vis ‘Be Bright Be Seen’ campaign

Another week, another road safety group in the UK coming under fire for launching a “victim blaming” campaign aimed at vulnerable road users.

Earlier this year, we had Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership’s “Cyclists, be considerate of motorists who are trying to pass” advice, and last month it was the turn of Bedfordshire Road Safety Partnership and its weird “Don’t be like Ted, wear a helmet on your head” advert.

Now, with the nights getting darker and the clocks changed, the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership has stepped up to the mark, advising pedestrians that a “little bit of bright and reflective material will make you GLOW, allowing drivers to see you and help to keep you safe when crossing roads”.

Needless to say, the comments underneath Herts Road Safety’s ‘Be Bright Be Seen’ post are fun…

“Instead of victim blaming, why not send a message to drivers?” asked cyclist Andrew. “Remind them it’s their responsibility to drive to the conditions, and be aware of others.”

“Why blame the vulnerable pedestrians?” added Hayles. “I drive at night and can see people dressed in black and unless they just step out in front of me with no warning, I have no problem seeing them.”

“Nice bit of victim blaming here. Maybe send the message to drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel, to slow down etc,” said Robin.

I sense a pattern developing with these road safety partnerships…

31 October 2023, 14:11
SRAM to recall aftermarket 12-speed shift-brake levers that could “move on the handlebar” due to excess threadlock

It’s been quite the year for recalls in the cycling industry, with Sram now joining the party by announcing a safety recall of its aftermarket eTap AXS Red, Force, Rival, and Apex shift-brake levers produced before July this year.

The American component manufacturer has made the decision due to excess threadlock on the clamp bolt potentially resulting in the clamp failing to be tightened sufficiently, despite reaching the recommended torque. The danger is that the shift-brake lever could move on the handlebar while riding, leading to a crash.

2021 SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset - shifter.jpg

Read more: > SRAM to recall aftermarket 12-speed shift-brake levers that could “move on the handlebar” due to excess threadlock

31 October 2023, 13:39
Warning: Not for use during the cyclocross season
SaddleSpur saddle


We have an in-depth look at one of these peculiar-looking (or “innovative”, as the marketers have claimed) saddles, from British company SaddleSpur, coming soon – but, though I’m no expert here, I’m not sure the ability to pull off quick ‘cross-style dismounts and remounts will feature too prominently in the review…

Saddlespur saddle side view

According to SaddleSpur, their intriguing design aims to “provide natural support for your lower back”, allowing you to “achieve more power and performance with less strain”, and has the “potential to reshape the cycling industry”.

Along with a few other things, if you’re not careful…

31 October 2023, 12:55
The bad news keeps coming for Wiggle Chain Reaction, as parent company files for insolvency

The grim, unrelenting cycle of bad news for Wiggle Chain Reaction continues today as – in what must be said is a completely unsurprising development – its parent company, online retail giant Signa Sports United, has filed for insolvency at court in Germany.

SSU, which also owns Probikeshop, Bikestar, and, filed for insolvency in Bielefeld and has been appointed a provisional administrator.

Wiggle and Chain Reaction logos

Read more: > Wiggle Chain Reaction’s parent company files for insolvency

31 October 2023, 12:29
Near Miss of the Day Bonanza: Northamptonshire Police release compilation of poor driving around cyclists, urging motorists to “take extra care and show consideration for them”

In a real Halloween treat for lovers of our Near Miss of the Day series, Northamptonshire Police have released a close pass compilation featuring examples of poor driving around cyclists submitted to its online Operation Snap portal this year.

The video features dodgy driving on the county’s roads captured between January and September, a period in which Northamptonshire Police received 284 Operation Snap submissions, leading to 207 prosecutions and – in the case of two particularly serious cases of dangerous driving – two appearances in court.

“Cyclists are one of our most vulnerable road users and it’s therefore vitally important that drivers take extra care and show consideration for them when sharing the county’s roads,” Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads team manager, Matthew O’Connell, said in a statement.

“Shooting past at speed, or passing too close, can pose a real risk to a cyclist and we hope this video serves as a reminder of the need to slow right down when travelling behind a cyclist and wait for the appropriate time to overtake.

“When overtaking leave plenty of room to ensure the manoeuvre is carried out safely and considerately, without causing unnecessary risk which could put with yourself or the cyclist in danger.”

31 October 2023, 11:48
2023 Terrino Adriatico Wout Van Aert © Zac - 3
Wout van Aert set to target Giro d’Italia GC and skip Tour de France to focus on Olympics, according to reports in Italy

We’ve all heard of GC Kuss, but according to recent, rather hopeful reports in Italy, GC Wout is on the cards at the 2024 Giro d’Italia, as Jumbo-Visma are apparently contemplating backing a Van Aert pink jersey challenge next May.

La Gazzetta dello Sport have reported this morning that the 29-year-old is set to make his Giro debut next season, and will be assigned leadership duties. The Italian paper also claims that, thanks to the favourable route – which includes 68km of time trialling and a more moderate than usual supply of high mountains – the Dutch team reckon Van Aert can finish in the top five overall in Milan.

By focusing on the Giro – and possibly going head-to-head with Tadej Pogačar, who looks increasingly likely to attempt a Giro-Tour double in 2024 – Van Aert will then almost certainly skip the Tour de France, in order to rest up and properly prepare for a crack at gold at the Paris Olympics.

While an Italian route to the Olympics makes a lot of sense for Van Aert – who will be targeting time trial and road race gold in Paris – the whole ‘Wout for Pink’ reports may prove wishful thinking on La Gazzetta’s part.

2023 Wout Van Aert © Zac - 3

 Zac Williams/

While the Belgian star has shown his prowess in the high mountains of the Tour (his work for Vingegaard and that breakaway win on the double Ventoux stage in 2021 prime examples), challenging for three weeks is a completely different matter, and with the Stelvio (albeit sightly neutered by its position on the stage) and two climbs up the Monte Grappa coming late in the Giro, a top five at the Corsa Rosa would stretch even Van Aert’s all-round capabilities.

Also, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix – still missing from the Belgian’s sparkling palmares – remain the top priorities for the spring, and require a completely different, more powerful physiology to that of a lightweight GC contender, and the few weeks separating the classics and the Giro will provide little time for Van Aert to lose the necessary weight and shift gears.

Bashing over the cobbles one month and climbing with the best the next may prove beyond Van Aert, or anyone for that matter, even in this age of all-rounders. But it’ll be fun to see him try it, anyway.

31 October 2023, 11:28
Government “utterly cowed by the cycling lobby”, says husband of pedestrian killed by cyclist

Matthew Briggs, whose wife Kim was hit and killed by a cyclist in London in 2016, has once again made a renewed call for a ‘death by dangerous cycling’ law, suggesting that the only reason such legislation has not already been passed is due to the government being “utterly cowed by the cycling lobby”.

Last month, the government said that it is working on legislation, although the Department for Transport has admitted to campaigners there may not be enough parliamentary time to pass the law before the next general election.

Cyclists at traffic lights, London © Simon MacMichael

Read more: > Husband of pedestrian killed by cyclist claims government “utterly cowed by the cycling lobby”, makes renewed call for death by dangerous cycling law

31 October 2023, 10:59
Eleanor Street, Grimsby (Google)
Cyclist gets hit by motorist – and then has his bike stolen as members of the public helped him

Another mention for Grimsby on this morning’s blog, as police in the town are appealing for witnesses after an especially unfortunate cyclist was struck by a motorist – only to have his bike stolen in an apparently unrelated incident as he was helped by members of the public.

The cyclist was riding on Eleanor Street in Grimsby last Friday at around 10.10am when he was struck by a passing driver, suffering minor injuries in the collision.

But as he was being assisted after the crash, one opportunistic scoundrel took advantage of the well-meaning intentions of others by nicking the stricken cyclist’s bike, a light blue Specialized Turbo electric mountain bike.

According to Humberside Police, the two incidents are believed to be entirely unrelated to each other.

“Our enquiries are ongoing and we would appeal to anyone who was in the area around the time of the collision, or anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage that may assist, to please contact us on our non-emergency number 101 quoting log number 142 of 27 October,” the police said in a statement.

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment


wtjs | 5 months ago

Shooting past at speed, or passing too close, can pose a real risk to a cyclist and we hope this video serves as a reminder of the need to slow right down when travelling behind a cyclist and wait for the appropriate time to overtake

Northamptonshire Police needs to tell Lancashire Constabulary, because they haven't yet accepted that it's possible to pass cyclists too closely so they just ignore all such cases. As far as it's possible to tell, LC has never prosecuted anybody for close passing a cyclist- how do you get any closer than this?

As for the 207 prosecutions out of 284 OpSnap submissions! They're fixing the figures obviously. It will be something like discounting all the submissions they didn't consider 'suitable'

Bungle_52 | 5 months ago

Re Northamptonshire Police video and stats.

207 prosecutions from 284 submissions. That's got to be some sort of record surely. It's either a sign that things are improving for cyclists or cyclists are only submitting the very worst (although from this sample many don't look anywhere near as bad as some NFAs I've had), or WTJS's explanation which I'm sure will be forthcoming.

2 cases of dangerous driving which even killing a cyclist doesn't usually end up with.

It's a shame they don't tell us what each of the incidents resulted in but a link to this video in our own future submissions, as with the recent WMP one, may be useful.

HoarseMann replied to Bungle_52 | 5 months ago

Northants do publish results. The white van driver who failed to give way at the traffic calming on Birchfield Road East got sent on a 'What's driving us' course.

HoarseMann replied to Bungle_52 | 5 months ago
1 like

and here's January's outcome data, filtered for 'DASHCAM' camera type and the offence codes for careless driving. It's mostly courses, which is I think appropriate in some cases. Northants really do seem to be doing much better in this regard than a lot of other forces.

Bungle_52 replied to HoarseMann | 5 months ago

Thanks for the link and the analysis. I know many disagree but I agree that driving courses will have the desired effect provided repeat offenders are dealt with robustly.

Do you know the difference between WDU and Retraining?

HoarseMann replied to Bungle_52 | 5 months ago

There are a number of different courses. The retraining course could be the one that involves a practical element, but I'm not sure...

andystow | 5 months ago

I just want everyone to know that the SaddleSpur is not on my Christmas list.

hawkinspeter replied to andystow | 5 months ago

andystow wrote:

I just want everyone to know that the SaddleSpur is not on my Christmas list.

You've already bought one, haven't you?

andystow replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago

hawkinspeter wrote:

andystow wrote:

I just want everyone to know that the SaddleSpur is not on my Christmas list.

You've already bought one, haven't you?

I suppose I arsked for that.

levestane replied to andystow | 5 months ago

Is the SaddleSpur on a seatpost with the spur in front?

belugabob replied to andystow | 5 months ago
andystow wrote:

hawkinspeter wrote:

andystow wrote:

I just want everyone to know that the SaddleSpur is not on my Christmas list.

You've already bought one, haven't you?

I suppose I arsked for that.

Either that's a deliberate (humourous) typo, or you've been reading too many EastEnders scripts

kinderje replied to andystow | 5 months ago

But why wouldn't you want a doughnut holder? 

hutchdaddy | 5 months ago

Phil Broadhead, is of course absolutley right that anyone who cycles is having such a great time, that working is the last thing they would want to do. Only drivers work.

Pub bike | 5 months ago

It is very disappointing reading about the elderly being fined for tootling around town centres on bikes whilst also seeing motorist after motorist on London roads using their mobile fines whilst driving.

Councils and the police need to make sure that their enforcement regimes tackle offences that have the most serious consequences rather than those that are the easiest to enforce, and that they are joined up.

SimoninSpalding replied to Pub bike | 5 months ago

The local TV news had a piece on this in Grimsby the other day. I didn't bother listening to the drivel that the reporter was spouting but from the images seen the pedestrian areas were wide open, not many people and all of the cyclists appeared to be of the slow, utilitarian variety on old mountain/ hybrid bike shaped objects with a couple of carrier bags. In other words they were doing no harm other than annoying the better off who had been forced to park their car and walk a few feet. 

bikes replied to Pub bike | 5 months ago

As far as I can tell, illegal phone use by drivers is not being tackled at all. At least not in a way that puts people off doing it. I see it every day despite my commute being only around 10 minutes long.

Backladder | 5 months ago

If they can't distinguish between good and bad cyclists how do they even know that bad cyclists exist?

chrisonabike replied to Backladder | 5 months ago

It was a joke of course.  "Good cyclists" is clearly an oxymoron...

hawkinspeter replied to Backladder | 5 months ago

Backladder wrote:

If they can't distinguish between good and bad cyclists how do they even know that bad cyclists exist?

They don't have to know. Anyone cycling in a PSPO area must be a bad cyclist by definition as the PSPO doesn't distinguish.

Cugel replied to Backladder | 5 months ago

Backladder wrote:

If they can't distinguish between good and bad cyclists how do they even know that bad cyclists exist?


Perhaps they haven't noticed but it can be a problerm distinguishing between good and bad people in general; and in discerning all sorts of other human proclivities that remain hidden until they .... aren't.

The general solution used to be: make laws prohibiting certain kinds of actually harmful behaviours along with processes to deal with those who ignore such laws. The informing principle used to be apprehension of the guilty with not that much about prevention of crime before the fact, other than the exhortations to lock up your bike shed, house and - in some quarters - your daughters.

These days "the authorities" seem keen on prevention, with a number of laws making it a crime to look like you might be planning a naughty act. Being tooled-up for burglary has been one-such law for a long time. Being in possesion of a bike might be heading that way.

It's long been "a dream" of certain authoritarian types to have a technology and process for identifying "criminal-types" before the fact of them committing crimes. These authoritarians, though, soon slip into one or both of these modes:

* Set up agent provcateurs to stimulate the "criminal types" into committing a crime.

* Assume certain large categories of pariah status are all criminals then persecute, restrict or otherwise curtail their freedoms.

Those with "the wrong" colour skin or nose shape will recognise the second category all too easily, as will various folk of a certain religious bent or idealogical inclination. For some time now, it's been evident that cyclists are being groomed, in the media and in certain political circles, as another handy pariah-class who are inherently "criminal".

Meanwhile, large classes of actual criminals are free to go about committing one crime after another, often several a day - motorists: rapists; Toryspiv politicians, for exampe ..... not to mention the polis themselves.

Rule of law? It's been well twisted and curled into summick rather different. We even have wee brownshirts persecuting old folk on bicycles about the town squares, now. How long before we have the full Iranian polis model, bashing not just protestors and cyclists but anyone not fully and obviously supportive of the latest gang of political hooligans in power and their nasty doings?

They'll find us all with social media trawls, face recognition cameras and the mobile spy in your pocket. See China for details.


grumpyoldcyclist replied to Backladder | 5 months ago

hmmm, according to Government figures, up to 80% of drivers speed in 20 mph zones, with over 50% speeding in 30 mph zones. Perhaps we should ban drivers from 20 & 30 mph zones?

Latest Comments