Police escort group of four cyclists off Cheshire motorway

“Push bikes and fast roads do not mix,” say officers after incident on M53 yesterday

Police in Cheshire yesterday escorted a group of four cyclists from the M53 Motorway, the latest in a number of instances of people riding bikes on motorways, where cyclists are banned, in recent weeks – but the first we have seen involving a group, rather than a lone rider.

North West Motorway Police said on Twitter yesterday morning that they had received “numerous calls” regarding the group of four cyclists on the M53 near Chester.

Officers said that the Cheshire Police Task Force had “located the group and [were] assisting in getting them off the network.

They said the cyclists would “be suitably advised of their actions.”

The tweet added that “push bikes and fast roads do not mix” – although as some pointed out in the replies, cyclists are permitted on major A roads not designated as motorways.

Highway Code rule 253 states:

Prohibited vehicles. Motorways MUST NOT be used by pedestrians, holders of provisional motorcycle or car licences, riders of motorcycles under 50 cc, cyclists, horse riders, certain slow-moving vehicles and those carrying oversized loads (except by special permission), agricultural vehicles, and powered wheelchairs/powered mobility scooters.

We’ve reported on several cases of cyclists being found on motorways during lockdown, and it does seem that there has been an increase in such incidents since late March.

Earlier this month, a cyclist who strayed onto the M58 near Skelmersdale in Lancashire because of a sat-nav error was fined after a van driver crashed while trying to avoid him.

> Motorway cyclist fined after van driver crashed trying to avoid him

No-one was injured in the incident, but police said that it was very fortunate that the cyclist himself hadn’t been “wiped out.”

At the end of March, police told a cyclist who was discovered riding on the M60 near Cheadle, Cheshire, that “this does not constitute your daily exercise” and issued him with a fine.

> “This does not constitute your daily exercise,” police tell cyclist stopped on M60

Those incidents, and others we have reported on recently, all involve people riding alone, and incidents of groups of cyclists riding on motorways are extremely rare.

Indeed, the only two that spring to mind both involve athletes from abroad training for the Commonwealth Games in the two most recent editions hosted in England and Scotland.

The day before the opening ceremony of the 2014 Games at Glasgow’s Celtic Park, four cyclists from the Sri Lanka national team were spotted cycling on the M74 near the exit for Motherwell and Hamilton.

> Commonwealth Games cyclists go training ... on a motorway

Most famously, when Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002, a pair of cyclists representing Kenya decided to go for a training ride on the M6, and rode for 17 miles before they were stopped by police and escorted to safety.

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.

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