Burns Night Edition
As you will have seen from her google group message Angela has had to change the date of her ride from tomorrow to next Sunday 2 February. Details of the ride are below again as are those for Jim’s ride on 9 February
There wouldn’t be enough time to get a newsletter out between these two rides so I’m sending it to you today. Nick has now taken 23 Feb.
March rides, anyone?
Opening attachments (or not)
With the last newsletter (13 January) I asked ‘ if you can’t open one of the versions attached please let me know and I’ll send it as a (longish) email’ One recipient did reply saying the attachments couldn’t be opened so – for the time being at least – I’m going to revert to the 2019 practice of pasting the newsletter into the email as a – less elegant but still readable – alternative to the attached version.
I’ve checked with Anne ands Mick and they are happy -at least at the moment – to host our AGM any day in March except Tuesday 31st;
Finding a date that suits everyone is always a problem.
So please let me know if there are any dates in March that are not OK for you and/or days of the week when you have a regular commitment that might prevent you attending the meeting.
Can’t guarantee that the date will be good for everyone but as usual I will do my best!
I’ve started writing my report on last year which will eventually be circulated with the agenda. Other officers are invited to do likewise, of course. Please let me have them ASAP.
If anyone has a proposal to put to the AGM it would be good if it could be included in the agenda so everyone can think about it – and perhaps discuss it before the meeting.
Dave on safety and pavement cycling
In response to the last newsletter I had two emails from Dave Churchill raising, I think, some important points. It’s at the end of this newsletter.
If like us you’re having haggis this evening, and you’re familiar with the poem, do bear in mind what happened to Tam O’Shanter’s horse and take the poet’s advice to go easy on ‘Inspiring bold John Barleycorn’!
Dave Churchill’s Comments
Reading Nick’s Ride Report only convinces me that one has to ride defensively on the roads following Cycling UK, Sustrans and British Cycling’s Leadership Training stance especially riding two abreast to make traffic wait instead of passing at inopportune moments and cutting in. Putting on my H & S professional hat in eliminating or substantially reducing a hazard and risk is called for which is why I ride off road on bridleways etc preferring to fall off and get muddy and bruised rather than killed or seriously injured by a vehicle.
Most of my friends are of the same mind finding it difficult to understand why anyone would want to ride on any road for leisure!
I am also a Member of the Institute of the Motor Industry who uses a car when essential such as for business so I appreciate the problems facing both side, good and bad drivers and good and bad cyclists.
Unfortunately there are many car drivers that have not cycled for years so don’t appreciate the problems and I regularly encounter cyclists riding down one way streets and riding on the pavements and these problems do not help mutual understanding.
The attached guidance (below) seems to imply that police have to decide if there is a real risk to a cyclist when one is seen riding on the pavement for example at a very busy junction as well as risks to any pedestrians at the time.
Speaking to police officers they have said that that a cyclist cannot just say they are nervous of the traffic and decide to ride willy nilly on the pavement instead of pushing their bike as this would set a precedent and open floodgates to cyclists on pavements.
There are some pavements at certain times could cope safely with cyclists but Western Road Brighton on a Saturday afternoon couldn’t!
Unfortunately from my reading of some posts on Bricycles FB page there is an assumption that as saviours of the planet cyclists should be given carte blanche to ride where they like and ignore pedestrians.
The guidance on pavement cycling referred to by Dave
Cyclists should not be fined for mounting the pavement to escape dangerous sections of road, a transport minister has told police amid claims officers are ignoring official advice.
Robert Goodwill urged police not to penalise cyclists for moving off the road at congested junctions after complaints £50 fines are being handed out too readily.
He said enforcing laws which prohibit cycling on the pavement is a matter for police, but added that discretion should be exercised “where a cyclist is using the pavement alongside a dangerous section of road out of fear of the traffic”.
Mr Goodwill reiterated guidance from 1999, when fixed penalties for cycling on pavements were first introduced, which states that the goal is not to penalise “responsible cyclists”.
In a private letter to a cycling safety group who raised the issue, he also advised campaigners to take it up with Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), to ensure the advice is followed.
The guidance, which was first issued by Home Office Paul Boateng 15 years ago, states: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.”
“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.”
Campaigners have been concerned at the increase in fines being handed to cyclists since the launch of Operation Safeway, the major road safety drive launched in the wake of six cyclists’ deaths in a two-week period last year.
Almost a third of penalty notices issued under the operation, which has seen hundreds of police staged at major junctions across the capital, have been handed to cyclists despite the fact they make up a small minority of road users.
Donnachadh McCarthy, spokesman for Stop Killing Cyclists, claimed police officers stationed at London Bridge told him they had been advised to ignore any guidance and issue fines every time cyclists were spotted on the pavement.
In one unconfirmed case, he said, a cyclist had reported being fined for riding a “Boris bike” a matter of feet from its docking station to the kerb.
He said: “Fining vulnerable cyclists for cycling responsibly on the pavement at extremely dangerous junctions like Vauxhall Cross is a bedroom tax on two wheels as there is no safe alternative for them to cycle on.”
Mr Goodwill wrote to the group after they raised their concerns with ministers, telling them “I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law”, and advised them to write to Sir Hugh Orde.
He later said in a statement: “Pedestrians should expect to be able to use the pavement without fear of being in a collision with a cyclist and we are determined to discourage dangerous behaviour, which is why last year we increased the fixed penalty for this offence to £50.
“Enforcement is a matter for the Police but we endorse their approach of showing discretion in instances where a cyclist is using the pavement alongside a dangerous section of road out of fear of the traffic, but is being mindful to not put pedestrians at risk.”
National Policing Lead for Cycling Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said: “We welcome the re-issued guidance from the Minister for Cycling in respect of cycling on the pavement and have re-circulated this to all local forces.
“The issue of cycling on the pavement, as in other areas of law enforcement, varies according to local circumstances. The ministerial guidance supports the importance of police discretion in taking a reasonable and proportionate approach, with safety being a guiding principle.”