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Cop suspended for punching cyclist wrongly accused of theft; AA chief says cyclists shouldn't "pretend they’re in Tour de France"; Nail traps buried on trail; £5m cycling infra boost for Manchester; 'Priapic cyclist' spotted + more on the live blog

Welcome to Wednesday's live blog, with Jack Sexty in charge and Simon MacMichael adding some updates later this evening...
06 May 2020, 15:16
West Midlands Police officer who repeatedly punched cyclist has been suspended

The footage was widely shared on social media earlier this week, with Birmingham Live reporting that the officer repeatedly punched and kicked the 44-year-old black male after accusing him of stealing a bike - it's now emerged that the officer has been suspended, after this incident on 20th April came the day before he was filmed kicking a 15-year-old boy in the head. 

The man in the video claims that he is entirely innocent, and that he was riding his bike to get his daily exercise during the pandemic. He says his bike is grey and that the stolen bike was black, and that officers say they recovered the stolen bike elsewhere. 

A Birmingham community activist has lodged a formal complaint on the cyclist's behalf, accusing the officer of racial discrimination, assault, false imprisonment and use of excessive and unjustified force: “This man was only guilty of riding his bicycle to take part in exercise, which he has been told he can do", said Desmond Jaddoo. 

The Metro reports that the officer has now been suspended, and is also being investigated for the incident with the teenage boy. A spokesperson for West Midands Police said: "A complaint was received after the officer stopped a teenager on 21 April in Melbourne Avenue, Newtown. In the ensuing incident it is alleged that the officer used unnecessary force in striking and kicking the young person. A further complaint was received which involves the same officer.

"It relates to a prior incident on 20 April in Frederick Road, Aston, where two officers stopped a man they suspected was on a stolen bicycle. The man was detained and it’s alleged the officer assaulted the man before he was released with no further action."

 

06 May 2020, 15:08
Brompton launch virtual in-store service
brompton junction store

It's something we've seen Ribble do already, and now Brompton customers can browse bikes via a new video call service. Staff at the Brompton Junction store in London's Westfield will guide through anything the customer wants to know and offer advice, which Brompton say is particularly useful during the pandemic. Staff will only be able to hear customers and not see them to protect privacy. 

06 May 2020, 14:52
Manchester to get up to £5 million of emergency funding as part of active travel plans
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

Greater Manchester's local authorities have launched the 'Safe Streets Save Lives' campaign to support social distancing during coronavirus lockdown and recovery, with pop-up infrastructure and temporary measures prioritised to enable safe essentials travel and exercise. Up to £5 million of emergency funding is promised from the Mayor Andy Burnham's Mayor's Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund.  

Transport for Greater Manchester say that while traffic volume has dropped by around 60% during the pandemic, cycling and walking now accounts for up to 33% of journeys during the lockdown. 

Greater Manchester's Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman commented: “Like any successful response to a crisis, people must be the priority. And fortunately, the data is unambiguous; during lockdown more and more residents across Greater Manchester are turning to walking and cycling for essential journeys and exercise. So, in order give people the space they need to keep safe, the only real question was ‘how soon can we act?’

“If we don’t take steps to enable people to keep traveling actively, we risk a huge spike in car use as measures are eased. Not only is it the right thing to do to protect people now, but it’s vital to meet our clean air goals and protect our NHS long term.”

06 May 2020, 14:43
Schwalbe launch e-bike specific inner tube
schwable e-bike tube image. png

Yep, that's right... this tube has extra wall thickness which Schwalbe says retains air for longer, meaning riders of heavier e-bikes needn't pump their tyres so often. Full story on eBikeTips

06 May 2020, 13:05
AA president says lockdown "isn’t a time for cyclists to pretend they’re in the Tour de France"
aa-president-edmund-king pic the AA.jpg

Edmund King made the comments after a survey by the AA found that people think the behaviour of drivers and cyclists has 'got worse' since the lockdown. The Evening Standard reports that the poll of more than 19,700 drivers revealed that 25% feel drivers and cyclists were both behaving worse.

King said: “Less traffic doesn’t mean that drivers should start drag-racing at traffic lights, dangerously overtaking others or ignoring the speed limits.

“Drivers should also leave a wide ‘social distance’ when overtaking cyclists. Equally, this isn’t a time for cyclists to pretend they’re in the Tour de France and ignore mini-roundabouts and stop signs.”

The Standard report that the Metropolitan Police enforced 800 speeding offences last week, more than three times the number during the same period last year. One driver caught doing 93mph in a 30mph zone, and 34 drivers in total were caught doing over 100mph.

Bizarrely, drivers who took part in the AA's survey were also asked how they feel about the 'behaviour' of pedestrians, and 25% said they feel that pedestrians are 'behaving better' than before the pandemic. As if to provide a damning snapshot of the reported worsening in driving behaviour, shocking footage was widely shared yesterday of a Birmingham man forced to stand in front of a car at a pedestrian crossing to stop the driver from running over his children.

06 May 2020, 12:41
Someone claims to have spotted a priapic cyclist in London

And it wouldn't be the first time a cyclist's appendage has landed them in trouble... that time when a Dublin man sustained a seven-week erection after crash-landing on his bike's top tube for example, and who can forget the man who was chucked out of the World Naked Bike Ride in Canterbury for getting 'overexcited'? We're having a hard time racking our brains for more examples from the archives, but do let us know if we've missed any...

06 May 2020, 12:34
Prime Minister promises "new golden age of cycling"

This is referring to new plans set to be announced by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps later today, as already mentioned by British Cycling - full story to follow. 

06 May 2020, 10:49
This 'Ritchey Rider' isn't 50 quid
ritchey rider scam pic - via facebook marketplace.PNG

We believe the bike in the picture is the brand new Ritchey Outback, and the photo of the pedals is from bikepacking.com - just in case anyone genuinely thought this was some unbelievable bargain. We've reported it to Facebook...

06 May 2020, 10:31
British Cycling say "exciting announcements on cycling and walking" are coming later today

Once again London's Streetspace plan is mentioned, but we're hoping this will be something along the lines of funding boosts for the whole country. 

06 May 2020, 09:56
Nail traps buried under the soil on trail in the north-east

Janclare Miller told Teesside Live that her husband Paul found numerous wooden boards with nails sticking out of them hidden under the soil on a trail in East Cleveland, and was left stranded after both his tyres were punctured. Mr Miller first went straight home after getting picked up by his wife, but discovered the boards after going back when he thought the damage to his tyres was too severe to have been an accident. The incident has been reported to the police. 

Mrs Miller continued: "Since we put it on Facebook we have heard it's not the first time it's happened.

"It's scary to think they could be anywhere. A lot of people walk their dogs and ride horses there so they need to be careful.

"The NHS is busy enough as it is without idiots doing this sort of thing. It's shocking."

Like the traps left in Regent's Park yesterday evening, this undoubtedly looks like a deliberate attempt to injure cyclists, runners or walkers in the area, and some have suggested it's once again the actions of individuals twisting their version of the lockdown guidance to a shocking and dangerous extreme.  

06 May 2020, 10:26
Another 50km of emergency bike lanes for Paris

Mayor Anne Hidalgo already had expansive plans for a comprehensive cycle network around Paris, and they've been quick to dedicate street space for cyclists and pedestrians during the lockdown; another 50km will be ready to go by Monday.  

06 May 2020, 09:45
Plans for helping Londoners cycle around the city in video form

Despite The Beeb forgetting to suggest cycling in their travel suggestions article mentioned below, yesterday they explored what it will take to get more people cycling around the capital when people return to work. 

06 May 2020, 09:35
BBC 'travel alternatives' article makes no mention of cycling or walking

With public transport set to be greatly reduced to maintain some social distancing, the article asks the question of how people will get around when the lockdown lifts; and although the BBC quote Professor Tony Travers who says that "a sudden and radical change in road use" is needed if we're all to get around on bikes and scooters, the alternative travel suggestions don't include cycling or walking. Instead, electric scooters (which aren't currently legal on British roads), taxis, cars and drone taxis. 

06 May 2020, 08:21
Cyclists discover nails and drawing pins on the road in Regent's Park Outer Circle

The Regent's Park Cyclists group have blamed negative press coverage from the media for what looks to be an attempt at vigilante action to prevent cyclists from using the road around Regent's Park in Central London. 

A Facebook post from a member of the London Cycling Facebook Group first fell victim to the traps yesterday, saying: "Someone decided to drop a box of pins on the outer loop of Regent’s Park outside the London Business School. Myself and 10+ others got punctures (I had 5 in my tyres).

"I saw the police as I was walking out of the park and let them know - they have said they will log it and would go and take a look. I picked them up with another victim - hopefully we got them all but watch out."

It's not the first report of 'vigilante' action since the pandemic started, with numerous signs reported in towns and villages to deter cyclists from passing through, believing that they could spread the virus. We also reported that drawing pins had been spread across a popular South London cycle route on 19th April, in what looked to be a deliberate attempt to target cyclists. 

06 May 2020, 07:13
Euston Road and Park Lane in London to get temporary cycle lanes

The All Party Cycling Group say they also want to see provisions on local high streets, but nevertheless welcome the changes. This is all part of the Streetspace plans announced by Will Norman recently. 

06 May 2020, 10:04

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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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