24 November 2009
Making light of pavement-cycling police blunders
This last week, the City Police have been clamping down on people cycling at night without lights. Offenders are fined £30. But, if they turn up to a safety demo at St Paul's on Thursday 26 with lights on their bike, they'll have the fine rescinded.
This is all fair enough and I don't have a problem with it. (Though I think there are better uses of police time; and the press release's statement that '28 cyclists were injured in collisions' in the dark, without evidence any of them were caused by lack of visibility, looks suspiciously like victim-blaming.)
I'm not quite so sure about trying to arrest people for cycling on cycle paths, though. That's what happened to a Southwark Cyclists member on Monday night shortly after he followed the sign pictured here and turned right.
He was stopped by the police for 'cycling on the pavement' - despite the fact that this 10m section of pavement is signed and marked as a cycle route (right). The markings are faded, sure, but not invisible.
(And cycling across the pedestrian crossing is perfectly legal, as it isn't a toucan crossing. [See update in comments below])
It's by Meadow Row, and is part of the Elephant and Castle by-pass - the same route which, unmodified except for a tin of blue paint, will be part of the forthcoming South Wimbledon-to-Bank Cycle Superhighway. It doesn't bode well...
Presumably the officer simply didn't see the pavement markings in the dark. Perhaps they were dazzled by the rider's lights. Honestly, some of these cyclists, swanning around floodlit with LEDs strobing everywhere like a Pink Floyd laser show. It's about time the police clamped down on them.