Heavy handed approach to pavement cycling counterproductive?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by domd1979, 30 Jan 2008.

  1. domd1979

    domd1979 New Member

    A colleague showed me an email earlier on, which detailed a scenario that recently occurred: A woman who cycled to work every day in town was in the habit of using the pavement on part of her journey - on an urban A-road where she felt intimidated by cycling on the road in rush-hour traffic. Last week a copper stopped her and threatened her with a fine. Not wishing to risk that happening, the woman now drives to and from work every day.

    Whilst I wouldn't personally cycle on the pavement, nor would actively encourage it, it does seem that the result of this situation has been counter-productive. Thanks to PC Plod (in the first instance) there's now an extra car on the road in rush hour that needn't be there. As far as I can gather, she wasn't cycling round at high speed terrorising pedestrians.

    Not sure what the answer is. Offering cycle training might be a solution, but depends if that would solve the confidence issue. Road layout means that offering a viable alternative route is tricky.
  2. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    Pity that she didn't have a copy of this with her :-
    Copied from here :- http://www.bikeforall.net/content/cycling_and_the_law.php
  3. OP

    domd1979 New Member

  4. Pete

    Pete Guest

    I'm guessing here, but she sounds like the type of person who, even if she had been armed with the relevant document, would probably not have stood her ground. She sounds like someone hesitant about cycling in the first place, taking what she saw as the 'safest' option albeit knowing it to be illegal, getting a single reprimand, and this being enough to tip the scales for her, back to four wheels. Another cyclist lost to us. :biggrin: How many other nervous cyclists or potential cyclists would react likewise? There are plenty of people out there who don't want a stand-up fight with a copper, even if they're in the right.

    This looks like it could develop into an argument in favour of shared-use pavements, which I detest personally. There is no easy answer to this. Had such a facility been there, it would have resulted in this lady remaining in the cycling fold. Simple logic. Which I am embarrassed to have to admit to.
  5. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Pity the policeman couldn't tell the difference between the cyclist who is scared by their in-experience:sad:, and the ones who routinely use the pavements cos ... actually I'm not sure why they do ... but you know the ones I mean ...

    That lady could probably just do with someone to cycle with her a couple of times and may be some training too. (And cycle craft as well!!! - perhaps the police could issue fines unless they produced a copy of cyclecraft:biggrin:).
  6. surfgurl

    surfgurl New Member

    Confession time. I cycle on the pavement for a short stretch of my commute.
    I cycle on the road through town to the roundabout on the edge of town. The road from here on is national speed limit up over a railway bridge and down to a roundabout where it meets the traffic coming off the M5. I used to cycle on the pavement between these two roundabouts. I now feel confident enough to cycle on the road here.
    However, I cycle on the pavement from this big roundabout to my turnoff a short way up the road. I stop and push my bike across two lanes of traffic and then cycle on the country lanes all the rest of the way to work.
    I just don't feel confident enough to cycle on the main A road with all the traffic, some of which has just come off the motorway. I also don't feel confident about the right hand turn at a notorious accident black spot. Also a cyclist was hit last year on the big roundabout. He died three days later in hospital.
  7. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    Few comments:
    a) The 'utility' cyclists who cycle on the pavement 'because it's safer', and I'm not being sexist but they are usually women, are often not actually that safe.
    Not saying this particular woman was, but they often do themselves more harm than good by making themselves a rule to stick to the pavement 'where possible', as it's NOT always possible. It's the transition from pavement to road that's the dangerous bit. For instance, I saw one woman today who thought she was being the safest cyclist on the road with her helmet and all her high viz and umpteen reflectors on her bike, but she thought nothing of meandering from pavement to road without looking behind at all, with traffic going past, in order to get round something on the pavement - she obviously thought it was totally fine as long as she only encroached onto the road by a foot 'because cars don't use that bit'.

    :sad: If she now drives, then she probably wanted an excuse to drive anyway.

    c) An elaboration of (:biggrin:, it's probably actually an urban myth, the sort of which as often arises when people think of something that could happen, so decide to tell it as a story of something that did happen. Unless you actually know this woman first hand and know that she now drives because she was threatened with a fine for cycling on the pavement, then I'd be tempted to take it with a pinch of salt/as an excuse used by people who drive who have never actually cycled at all.
  8. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    If you do it safely, then i suppose i've no real problem with you, but in principle, i'm not really sure i agree with pavement cycling at all. If there's an area you 'don't feel confident' about, and you don't see your way to getting some confidence about it, then that should be an excuse to take a more scenic route, thus getting fitter.
  9. surfgurl

    surfgurl New Member

    That's a fair point Bonj.
    I have looked at alternate routes, but it would double my commute as it takes me in completely the wrong direction.
    I'm not sure how I can increase my confidence on this stretch of road. But you have got me thinking about this. I'll take another look at Cyclecraft and the Highway Code and have another think.
    I think part of the problem with it is it is quite an unusual bit of road. There is traffic coming off the motorway, lots of heavy lorries use it, as well as all the tourists who are about to descend for the summer. It's a fast bit of road.
    And everytime I pass this roundabout and bit of road I think about the poor guy who was wiped out last year.
  10. gambatte

    gambatte Middle of the pack...

    S Yorks
    Lost faith in cops last night. Once again, I was in the cage:sad:

    As I left work, I saw a couple of cycle coppers. I stopped and complained to them about cars crossing the ASL and stopping in the forward box on the new ring road, which starts about 2-300 yards away.

    I then went off towards the same area. Bit of standing traffic down there.

    Couple of minutes later they filter past, up to the forward box. They sit there, doing nothing, as a builders van moves forward in the lane to their left and sits 100% in it. They didn't even give him a second glance.

    Seeing a 'tap' on his window would have been something......
  11. OP

    domd1979 New Member

    I know it happened. I'm confident that thanks to the actions of that copper there's one more driver on the road, and one less person cycling to work.

  12. redjedi

    redjedi Über Member

    When I first started cycling, about 8 months ago, I used to cycle on the pavement to get around a busy-ish roundabout.
    This was because I lacked the confidence to stay on the road. I would always ride slowly and give peds right of way, until I could get back onto an easier part of the road.
    It took a couple of months to get the confidence to do the roundabout properly, but now it's second nature.

    I think this woman just needs more confidence to use the roads, not a fine for being scared. Perhaps some advice from the copper on how to handle the traffic would have been more effective.
  13. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    The CSO's are always on the bloody pavements round work, and cycling through the pedestrian areas....
  14. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    We don't know if she was a danger to peds or not

    other than a professional taking exception to her riding there
  15. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Make a complaint, Gambatte - or at least suggest that seeing someone commit a traffic offence (whether it's that van in the ASL, or a cyclist jumping the light) should at least have merited a quiet word from the officers involved.
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