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Police stop cyclists riding at 39mph in 30mph zone despite speed limits not applying to bicycle riders

"Offered appropriate words of advice": The roads policing unit's social media post about the incident has since gone viral, video footage showing a group ride descending into a village at close to 40mph...

A group of cyclists riding on Dartmoor yesterday were stopped and spoken to by police officers after being seen riding at 39mph in a 30mph zone.

While there are no speed limits for cyclists in the UK — except where local byelaws apply, such as in some parks — Devon and Cornwall's Roads Policing Team explained on Twitter how the group was stopped by officers who asked them to "be mindful of your speeds and just how this will affect you in the event of a collision".

The traffic unit shared footage of the group descending yesterday morning just after 9:30 on the A386 into a village with a 30mph speed limit for motorists, the video having now been watched almost half a million times in the day since.

On the speedometer visible, the cyclists are shown to be travelling at between 39 and 37mph on the descent.

"Cyclists, please be mindful of your speeds and just how this will effect you in the event of a collision," the police unit's post said. "This group today on Dartmoor observed travelling at near 40mph on a 30mph restricted road. All stopped and offered appropriate words of advice."

The Highway Code sets out speed limits for vehicles, but does not include bicycles,  meaning — byelaw-restricted areas such as some promenades, paths or parks aside — cyclists cannot be fined for speeding.

> Cyclists in Richmond Park face crackdown for 'speeding' – even though limits do not apply to them

Instead however, cyclists can be charged with dangerous cycling, under the 1988 Road Traffic Act Section 28, which states an offence is committed if "the way they ride falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist" and it "would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous", with "dangerous" referring to "danger either of injury to any person or of serious damage to property".

The charge of 'wanton and furious cycling' can also be applied if an injury is caused in the case of a collision.

Predictably, the video has caused much debate on social media, a retired police advanced driver, Marcus Laine, joining the discussion to defend the officers' actions, saying it was "entirely the right thing to do".

"Educate and inform," he said, asking what if "the cyclists approach the restricted vision crossroads and a motorist pulls out expecting traffic to be travelling at 30"?

> Speeding fine for Richmond Park cyclist clocked riding at 41mph — but is penalty lawful?

"It's about safety and that includes pedestrians who misjudges the bikes speed or elderly drivers. How about some personal responsibility?"

Road safety campaigner CyclingMikey was also on hand to reply to people who suggested the cyclists should be fined as a motorist would be, seemingly not aware of the fact speed limits do not apply to cyclists.

"They weren't breaking the law," he said. "The speed limit doesn't apply to cyclists. That's probably quite reasonable when a bicycle weighs maybe 10kg and an average car 1.5-2 tonnes."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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88 comments

Avatar
perce replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 8 months ago
5 likes

Ah, Helmets to Enjoy. Their one and only tv appearance, in this country at least was on TOTP in 1977. More popular in Europe if I remember rightly.

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Clem Fandango replied to perce | 8 months ago
5 likes

Stoke the Fire were good too.  Though I disagreed with their views on Brexit.

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chrisonabike replied to Clem Fandango | 8 months ago
4 likes
Clem Fandango wrote:

Stoke the Fire were good too.  Though I disagreed with their views on Brexit.

You have to admit though that numbers like "350 Million a Week", "(They're Coming Over Here) Millions of Turks and Albanians" and "Ever Closer Union...?" really got the crowds fired up!  (Sometimes requiring riot police).

Avatar
SimoninSpalding replied to perce | 8 months ago
1 like

I did find their insistence on showing their helmets at every opportunity a little offputting to be honest.

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brooksby replied to SimoninSpalding | 8 months ago
1 like
SimoninSpalding wrote:

I did find their insistence on showing their helmets at every opportunity a little offputting to be honest.

Ooo-errrrr! 

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Gitaroo | 8 months ago
3 likes

Looks like YouGov are running a related poll. Results are currently as pathetic as you'd expect.

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to Gitaroo | 8 months ago
3 likes

Ah, our conservative leaders looking to cement party policies in time for the next general election. 

As an aside, I am now utterly convinced that the tories will win the next election. They are now fully up and running with their campaigning, whilst Labour sits at the back staring at its belly button.

Unless they get off their arses now, the only thing the masses will actively care about is what Conservative generated PR tell them to. 

I digress.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 8 months ago
3 likes
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Ah, our conservative leaders looking to cement party policies in time for the next general election. 

As an aside, I am now utterly convinced that the tories will win the next election. They are now fully up and running with their campaigning, whilst Labour sits at the back staring at its belly button.

Unless they get off their arses now, the only thing the masses will actively care about is what Conservative generated PR tell them to. 

I digress.

I hope they're using a better quality of cement than the concrete in schools. Still, Rishi seems prepared to spend whatever's necessary to fix them, unlike a couple of years ago as they hadn't killed enough people at that time.

Avatar
Backladder replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Ah, our conservative leaders looking to cement party policies in time for the next general election. 

As an aside, I am now utterly convinced that the tories will win the next election. They are now fully up and running with their campaigning, whilst Labour sits at the back staring at its belly button.

Unless they get off their arses now, the only thing the masses will actively care about is what Conservative generated PR tell them to. 

I digress.

I hope they're using a better quality of cement than the concrete in schools. Still, Rishi seems prepared to spend whatever's left over in the current schools budget to fix them, unlike a couple of years ago as they hadn't killed enough people at that time.

ftfy

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David9694 replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 8 months ago
2 likes

Driver nation. Funny to think that car-related stuff like emissions control, 20 mph speed limits and prices at the pump will have such a significant effect on political fortunes. 

Drivers and their levelling down - "be like us - pay road tax, insurance, follow speed limits" etc - let me know when the national cycling motorway network is ready and I might think about it. 

 

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BalladOfStruth replied to David9694 | 8 months ago
5 likes
David9694 wrote:

Drivers and their levelling down - "be like us - pay road tax, insurance, follow speed limits" etc - let me know when the national cycling motorway network is ready and I might think about it. 

 

Or when drivers start doing those things...

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giff77 replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 8 months ago
0 likes

All the parties were pretty much all neck and neck in their support for it. Scotland was also the highest region coming in at 90%. T

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levestane | 8 months ago
11 likes

A bicycle can only decelerate at about half the rate of a typical car [somewhere in Bicycle Science]. There are quite a few hazards here (driveways, pedestrian crossing, junctions, poor visibility...). I'd probably be going slower, but that's just me.

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HoarseMann | 8 months ago
11 likes

According to the local speed watch group, 1 in 10 drivers exceed 35mph through there (Mary Tavy), with the top recorded speed being 64mph!

I hope the police were also dealing with those drivers in the same manner.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
0 likes

I always speed up when I see our local speedwatch. Gives the dear souls (who clearly have nothing better to do) something to get worked up over and some data to report, and keeps the average speed up too.

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SimoninSpalding replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
5 likes

We don't have a local speed watch in my village - the residents are the main problem when it comes to speeding. We do sometimes get the automated flashing signs, which when on my bike I try desperately to trigger (they seem to require approx 25mph to wake them up), but in the absence of any of these so-called "downhills" of which everyone speaks I rarely manage it 

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wtjs replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
7 likes

I hope the police were also dealing with those drivers in the same manner

If they're anything like Lancashire, they almost certainly weren't: the attitude here is that 'everbody does it (going though red lights, illegally crossing unbroken white lines in a dangerous position, mobile phone use while drugged up on nitrous, having no MOT etc. etc). See S2 AOA, for instance. This will be completely ignored.

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David9694 replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
1 like
HoarseMann wrote:

I hope the police were also dealing with those drivers in the same manner.

let's hope 

'Our roads need to be safe places to drive so stop speeding'

In an effort to reduce fatal and serious collisions, Roads Policing Officers from Devon & Cornwall Police have been carrying out increased roadside speed checks.

https://www.devonlive.com/news/news-opinion/our-roads-need-safe-places-8...

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Legin | 8 months ago
5 likes

Not unreasonable by the Police there; just becasue you are not breaking the law doesn't mean you should go do it.

Hopefully the conversation went, "I know the speed limit doesn't apply to you but don't be a ****ing bunch of ****holes as you know riding like this will wind the residents and other road users up; plus it may earn you a much more serious injury if you crash. Thank you and enjoy your ride." 

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TriTaxMan replied to Legin | 8 months ago
11 likes

Spoken like someone who has never travelled at the speed limit in a residential area on a bike.

That will wind motorists up far more than cycling at 39 in a 30.

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Legin replied to TriTaxMan | 8 months ago
0 likes
TriTaxMan wrote:

Spoken like someone who has never travelled at the speed limit in a residential area on a bike. That will wind motorists up far more than cycling at 39 in a 30.

Written by somebody who doesn't know the difference between spoken and written.

 

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Brauchsel replied to Legin | 8 months ago
8 likes

Written by someone who doesn't understand that common phrases needn't be literally true to be readily understood by readers. 

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Legin replied to Brauchsel | 8 months ago
0 likes
Brauchsel wrote:

Written by someone who doesn't understand that common phrases needn't be literally true to be readily understood by readers. 

Written by a straw clutching resident from Bell End who hasn't got a particular point to make.

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Benthic replied to Legin | 8 months ago
0 likes
Legin wrote:

....just becasue you are not breaking the law doesn't mean you should go do it.

Word salad. 

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Legin replied to Benthic | 8 months ago
0 likes
Benthic wrote:

Word salad. 

Reading comprehension disorder.

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brooksby replied to Benthic | 8 months ago
1 like
Benthic wrote:
Legin wrote:

....just becasue you are not breaking the law doesn't mean you should go do it.

Word salad. 

Yummy.

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IanMSpencer | 8 months ago
17 likes

Which was the bigger problem in this case, the cyclists, or the police car doing 40mph when not engaged in an emergency response?

Myself, happy to exceed speed limits on a bike, typically on a downhill into a village where the speed limit is away from the built up area, but cyclists should cycle at a speed they can stop in, be it junctions, bends or other obstructions, so advice about excess speed in a built up area is appropriate.

Strangely, one place I seek to exceed the speed limit for my own safety is in a 20mph, yet over 20 is not sufficient for motorists to get frustrated and "need" to overtake, mainly because many believe that 20 is a war on motorists therefore does not apply (which also there excuses overtaking into oncoming traffic, and past obstructions and close passing... and holding up the cyclists you've passed).

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Sriracha replied to IanMSpencer | 8 months ago
7 likes

Good observation - the 20mph is an example of the converse, where the speed limit is deemed to apply to cyclists but not to motorists!

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