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‘Dangerous cycling is not a priority,’ police force says

No cyclists have been prosecuted for traffic offences in St Albans or Harpenden during the past two years, a Freedom of Information request has found

Anti-social or dangerous cycling “has not been flagged as a priority”, police in Hertfordshire have said, after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request found that no one has been prosecuted for cycling-related offences in St Albans or Harpenden since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The FOI request, submitted by the Herts Advertiser, revealed that Hertfordshire Constabulary has not logged any cycling offences or taken any action against cyclists in the two locations during the past two years.

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The newspaper submitted the request in the wake of a controversial proposal by then-transport secretary Grant Shapps – the MP for the nearby Welwyn Hatfield constituency – to implement tougher laws for cyclists and to review how people on bikes who break the law can be tracked and prosecuted, including the much-derided and swiftly discarded pledge to introduce bike registration plates.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary told the newspaper that the lack of cycling-related prosecutions is a result of the police force’s decision to prioritise educating and informing motorists of their responsibility to keep more vulnerable road users safe.

The spokesperson also explained that, since 2020, there have been no incidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities in which a cyclist was at fault in St Albans.

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“Anti-social or dangerous cycling has not been flagged as a priority in St Albans,” the police spokesperson said. “Local policing priorities are updated using feedback submitted by members of the public via our community voice platform echo, and through local forum meetings.

“We do support national road safety campaigns, in conjunction with the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership, but as per the latest Highway Code cyclists are now considered vulnerable road users and as such the priority for these campaigns is to educate and inform other motorists about their responsibility to use roads safely, to ensure that they are safe for all users.

“If someone was seen to be cycling dangerously or in a manner that puts other road users at risk, and this was witnessed by an officer, they would seek to engage, educate and inform them.

“In terms of our Road Policing Unit, a cyclist would only be prosecuted if they were the cause of a serious injury or fatal road traffic collision – none of which have occurred in St Albans, therefore the lack of prosecutions/offences recorded.”

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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