Cyclists have blasted Stoke Newington Police after its social media account posted a photograph of an officer issuing a fine to a woman with a child seat on her bike for riding on the pavement, as part of its operation to tackle “cycling related anti-social behaviour”.
Stoke Newington Policing Team wrote: “Local officers currently conducting an operation on Stoke Newington High Street N16 targeting E-Scooter/ cycling related Anti-Social Behaviour, a Ward priority for Local residents.”
So they picked the young mother using a pavement for safety as an example of this anti-social behaviour. https://t.co/DfELeLRr9l
— Drew White (@drewsnx) July 8, 2023
This has led to people questioning the use of the image in context with anti-social behaviour. Twitter user ChrisC wrote: “Was this the best "nab" you could photograph to show you tackling anti social behaviour? A young woman riding on the pavement, presumably because she thinks the roads are unsafe there.”
Another user @mattwardman questioned: “I wonder what antisocial behaviour the young mum on the bike was displaying. Cycling at 25 mph on the pavement?”, while Andy Waterman said: “Cracking down on the menace of mums with child seats on their bikes - that's definitely the demographic I think of when I think of antisocial e-biking/scootering. Jokers.”
Was this the best "nab" you could photograph to show you tackling anti social behaviour? A young woman riding on the pavement, presumably becasue she thinks the roads are unsafe there.
— ChrisC (@ChrisC_CFC) July 8, 2023
Mums on bikes are obviously nonviolent and cooperative. It’s a lot easier and safer for our precious coppers than taking on gangs. Those guys are scary!
— Peter Hague PhD (@peterrhague) July 8, 2023
According to the National Police Chief’s Council, cyclists can ride on the pavement as long as they are doing it responsibly. The re-issued guidance from 2014, first originally introduced in 1999, says: “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.”
The reissue of the guidance came after Minister for Cycling Robert Goodwill’s reiteration in January 2014 that the official line from the Department for Transport (DfT) is that cyclists may ride on the pavements, provided they do so considerately, and that police officers need to exercise discretion.
Stop Killing Cyclists, cycling campaign group, hailed the minister’s clarification as its first major success and 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.”
After the recent incident with Stoke Newington Police, cyclists and other members of the public have also raised questions about the police’s actions towards dealing with drivers speeding on roads and breaking other rules, and being callous to realising why cyclists feel the need to ride on pavements instead of the roads.
People wouldn’t be riding on the pavement if the roads felt safe.
But policing dangerous driving/parking is harder, isn’t it? https://t.co/3SxBYy3p3O
— Needing More Coffee (@ourmanontheM62) July 8, 2023
In 2021 there were 60 deaths on London roads.
58 involved motor vehicles.
0 involved pedal cycles.
How about some proportionate policing?
Source: TFL Casualties in Greater London during 2021 pic.twitter.com/iVG5RBwLMk
— Dan Doherty 💙 (@dandoherty1981) July 8, 2023
In 2018, drivers killed 555 pedestrians and cyclists, whereas 3 people died after collisions with cyclists from 765,000,000 cycle trips in England (not clear who was responsible for the collision), so I'm confident in my view that there are better things for the police to do.
— Jon Burke 🌎 (@jonburkeUK) July 8, 2023
A few people even brought up the incident from Wimbledon where a driver crashed their Land Rover into a school building, claiming the life of an eight-year-old girl, with another eight-year-old and parent in critical care, and at least six more children and one adult injured.
The Met Police confirmed yesterday that the driver of the vehicle, a woman aged in her 40s, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
I wonder if this a priority for the parents on the 8yo killed by a driver at a school just recently.
Should ask them.
— JasonHurtsLots (@LotsHurts) July 8, 2023
road.cc has contacted the Met Police for comment.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.