A senior Conservative politician has been caught on camera in London apparently riding his bicycle through red lights and going the wrong way down one-way streets.
The Mirror, which published the pictures on its website, says that Shadow International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell rode through eight sets of traffic lights, and claims that he “narrowly avoided several pedestrians, cars and a doubledecker bus as he careered over crossings and pedalled along busy pavements.”
It claimed that he had even been spotted using his BlackBerry while cycling along and “wore dark waterproofs on his way to Westminster from his house in Islington, North London, rather than reflective gear as safety groups advise” – although neither of those constitutes breaking the law when riding a bike.
The newspaper, perhaps unintentionally giving the impression that it employs a crack team of reporters and photographers for the specific purpose of catching out Conservative politicians while they are pedaling bicycles rather than policies, says that Mr Mitchell is the fourth senior Tory it has caught breaking the law while out cycling, joining party leader David Cameron, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and former strategist Steve Hilton in its hall of shame.
It added that Mr Mitchell, who is the MP for Sutton Coldfield, claimed that he had no "clear recollection" of the road traffic offences that it said that he'd committed, stating “I always look carefully at the traffic when I'm cycling. Cycling safety is extremely important and I must do better. I've been cycling in London for 13 years."
Labour MP Emily Thornberry, who is vice-chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, told the newspaper: "This is profoundly foolish and reckless behaviour."
While that sentiment will be shared by many road.cc readers, who in our poll earlier this year cited issues such as riding through red lights as their biggest bugbear about other cyclists, it’s hardly a surprising one with Mr Mitchell sitting on the other side of the House of Commons and a General Election just weeks away.
The Mirror added that a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents had stated that Mr Mitchell’s behaviour was "disappointing."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.