Cyclist fined for using the road
based on an article on the CCN Website
Cyclist Daniel Cadden has been found guilty by Telford Magistrates Court of a charge of Inconsiderate Riding brought by the police because he cycled home from work by road instead of using a parallel cycle track. He was fined £100 with £200 costs.
Daniel was riding along the B5072 in Telford as he had done for nearly two years when he was stopped by a police patrol car. An officer told him that he was obstructing traffic by riding in the road and that he ought to ride either in the 0.9m wide space between the kerb and the lane marking (which the police claimed was a cycle lane although it was not), or preferably on the cycle/pedestrian path along the other side of the road. The B5072 at the incident location comprises a single lane downhill in the direction Cadden was riding and two lanes uphill. Double white lines separate the two directions of travel and the police asserted that motor traffic would be obliged to break the law by crossing these lines in order to pass the cyclist. At the time he was stopped, Cadden was travelling at over 20 mph, but police claimed that traffic should be able to travel without hindrance at the legal limit for the road of 60 mph. The number of vehicles held up by the cyclist was between two and four (there was conflicting evidence on the exact number) and average traffic speed on the road less than 50 mph.
When the case went before the District Judge, the police admitted under cross-examination that it would not have been possible for Cadden to have been overtaken at a safe distance by any vehicle that did not contravene the double white lines no matter where he had ridden, even up against the kerb in the space outside the traffic lane. The police therefore considered that as the cyclist had the choice of a cycle route where he would not have been of hindrance to traffic, he should not have ridden on the road at all.
A similar view was taken in judgement. The judge agreed that Cadden's position on the road was not a material factor, but that his presence on the road when an alternative existed was. Cadden was found guilty because he knew the road well and should therefore have recognised that he might be an obstruction to traffic during the rush hour. By riding on the road he had not shown reasonable consideration for others.
The judge was not interested in the poor quality of the cycle track or its hazards, which are many. The surface is worse than the road with broken glass common, visibility at junctions is bad and it circumnavigates a roundabout, in the direction Cadden was travelling, in 6 stages without priority or protection at any. If safety or discomfort was a problem, the judge considered that Cadden should have slowed down or dismounted as a pedestrian. A common theme of the case from police and judge was that the ability of motorists to travel at the 60 mph maximum was more important than any considerations of safety or convenience for the cyclist.
The judge was also strict in considering only matters leading up to detention of the cyclist and was not interested in what typically would have happened thereafter whereby, because of the gradient, the cyclist would have gained in speed and have caught up with overtaking cars queuing at the junction little more than 1/4 mile ahead.
Although this case does not set a formal legal precedent, it has far-reaching implications for every cyclist in Britain. Daniel Cadden has already said that he will no longer be able to cycle in Telford as he cannot risk a second prosecution and the quality of the cycle tracks is too bad to be considered a practical transport system. Every other cyclist in Telford must also brace themselves for the real possibility that they, too, will be targeted by the police in their apparent determination to free the town's main road network of cyclists. Throughout Britain, those in authority who wish to limit where cyclists may ride now have an excuse to exercise their prejudice.
The case is being supported by the Cyclists Defence Fund. The Cyclists Campaign Network is encouraging all cyclists to contribute to the Cyclists Defence Fund to stop this absurd injustice from succeeding. You can send contributions over the web at www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk, or send a cheque to The Cyclists' Defence Fund, c/o CTC, Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford GU2 9JX.
Max beats the car and the bus
Max Hunt (Campaign member and leader of Charnwood Borough Council) entered a commuter race with two members of staff from the centre of Shepshed to the Council Offices at Southfields as part of National Bike Week. Max on his trusty Dutch Roadster beat the car driver by 1 minute and the bus passenger by over 10 minutes.
Hathern – Loughborough Cycle Path
Several members have expressed concern about the poor quality of this cycle route. According to a report to the Charnwood Cycle Consultative Group this facility has been reviewed and funding agreed for improvements to be made this autumn.
East Midlands Cycling Groups
The next meeting of the East Midlands Cycling Groups is to be held on Saturday 11th November at The Globe Inn, 152 London Road, Nottingham, NG2 3BQ (Nottingham Station, 0.6 miles).
If you are interested in attending please keep this day clear in your diary!
The event is being organised by Hugh McClintock of Nottingham Pedals. For details click here
BBC Bicycle DVD
This DVD tells the story of the bicycle's past and explores its potential for the 21st century. It includes vintage footage and reconstructions of early cycling, bicycles from across the world and lots more. Chapters include: History of the bicycle from Da Vinci to Dunlop, Mountain Bikes, Big Bike Business, theTour De France, Wild Cycling, Green Cycling and lots more.
The DVD is available from the BBC shop at 9 St Nicholas Place, Leicester Tel. 0116 2016612
Booking open for autumn conference
based on an article on the CCN Website
Bookings may now be made for the CCN/CTC cycle planning conference in Cheltenham on Saturday 25th November.
Participants are encouraged to book on-line at www.cyclecheltenham.org.uk in order to minimise administration and to reflect this there is a reduced on-line booking fee. However, the booking form may be printed and sent by post for those who prefer to do this.
The agenda is still being finalised but will include sessions on local partnerships, on-line mapping for cyclists, sustainable initiatives and topical campaigns. There will also be the presentation of the 2006 National Cycling Project Awards.
There will be plenty of opportunities for delegates to join in discussions.
Bikeability launched to boost cycle training
based on an article on the CCN Website
Cycling England has launched Bikeability, the new public face for child cycle training. It is part of the National Standard for Cycle Training and will be trialled initially with 3,000 children and then rolled out across the country from Spring 2007. The aim is that by 2009 half of all year 6 pupils in England will be trained through schemes awarding Bikeability.
Children who are successful in attaining the Bikeability standards will receive an award at each of the 3 levels comprising a luminous metal badge, booklet, certificate and a letter to parents. Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England says: "Bikeability is more than just teaching children to ride a bike. It’s also about introducing them to cycling as an everyday activity – an alternative mode of transport, an enjoyable pastime, which brings a healthier lifestyle and is ultimately lots of fun."
For further details see the Bikeability website at www.bikeability.org.uk.
Student Accommodation in Loughborough
by John Catt
The latest fashion amongst Loughborough property developers seems to be the provision of student accommodation in the town with several large developments either underway or going through the planning process.
One advantage of these proposals from the developer's standpoint is that they can build accommodation units at very high densities since, at least theoretically, the residents will be car free and therefore there is no need to set aside vast areas for car parking and car access. However they also appear to be trying to economise on bicycle parking, often only allowing dedicated parking for 20% of residents.
With the student population continuing to expand we should be insisting that students are not allowed to keep a car within say 6 miles of Loughborough, following the excellent example of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. If you agree with this please make your views on this, and the minimum standards for bicycle parking (suggestion is at least provision for all residents), clear to you local Councillor.