Police in Newcastle-upon-Tyne are reviving a campaign targeting ‘dangerous’ cycling following complaints by local residents in one of the city’s most affluent areas – with some saying that cyclists not dressed in hi-vis clothing made them unsafe.
That complaint was aired at a recent North Jesmond ward meeting, and other criticism of cyclists includes people riding on the footway or not displaying lights on their bike at night.
According to Jesmond Local, neighbourhood inspector Anita Morgan of Northumbria Police has said that the force will revive Operation Delta, first launched in 2016, to “prevent cyclists from causing a serious accident.”
Inspector Morgan said: “We have received a number of calls from residents in Jesmond about cyclists who have been riding on footpaths in the evenings and not using any lights.”
The operation will see officers take to streets in the area to stop law-breaking cyclists.
“We will be looking to engage with cyclists who are not using lights and offer them appropriate advice to prevent them from causing a serious accident,” the inspector added.
Police recently met with the Jesmond Residents’ Association (JRA) whose chair, Kathy Cunningham, expressed thanks to officers for “working in partnership with the JRA and supporting our committee to tackle anti-social behaviour.
“They will be a valued voice and presence at our meetings,” she added.
While the Highway Code says cyclists should wear “light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light” and “reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark, that rule is compulsory rather than advisory.
Riding a bike at night without front and rear lights that do not conform to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, and although less likely to be enforced, bicycles should also have a red rear reflector and, if manufactured before 1985, amber reflectors on the pedals.
Cycling on the footway, except on marked shared use paths, is illegal and punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £50.
However, in 2014, then transport minister Robert Goodwill repeated previous Home Office guidance that police should use their discretion in enforcing the law.
The original 1999 guidance from Paul Boateng, who was Home Office minister at the time the legislation was introduced, said: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so.
“Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”
Goodwill’s reiteration of that guidance in 2004 was endorsed at the time by the Association of Chief Police Officers, now known as the National Police Chiefs Council.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.