Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Operation Target Cycling

The Greater Manchester Police seem to have a very negative attitude towards cycling.

Yesterday came the news that someone was killed cycling along Upper Brook Street.

Today the police response is to target people cycling on the pavement on Oxford Road.

You couldn't make shit like this up, as nobody would believe you, would they?

The actions of the GM Police flies in the face of current government guidance.


  1. Look at the stretch they've targetted too - looks to me like the part opposite Maplin, Cotswold &c. A nightmare of busses and other traffic jostling to get through the lights at the crossroads, cutting you off to pick up & set down &c

  2. I was recently issued with a fixed penalty £50 fine for pavement cycling as part of #opconsiderate in Manchester. I used a short section of pavement on a side road that joins busy Oxford Rd. It was commuter time, with traffic backed up on the side road and Oxford Rd bumper to bumper and not moving. My aim was to then get off the bike and use the pedestrian crossing to get across Oxford Rd. There were no pedestrians near me on the side road and I was coasting, going at walking pace.

    The PCSO who stopped me told me she was a cyclist and appreciated I was not causing any danger and understood the reason I was cycling on the pavement. I was told I could do a safety awareness course instead of paying the £50 fine.

    Having just received the Fixed Penalty Notice there was no option to do a safety course, only to pay the fine or object which means having to go to court. I have rung Greater Manchester Police and been told this advice is not true, there is no safety course ever offered as none are run in GMP area.

    I will pay the fine, I have no other option. But many things about #opconsiderate strike me as poorly thought through and I question how effective the campaign is and what positive outcomes it will achieve.

    Unbalanced targetting ie more cyclists stopped than cars.
    Incorrect information given to cyclists. What are #opconsiderate team being instructed and trained to carry out? Twitter replies from @GMPtraffic seem to imply discretion is given when handing out fines. But I saw none of this when I witnessed the #opconsiderate team in action nor have I heard of this happening from other cyclists. But maybe it is and people keep quiet if they've been warned but not fined?

    Uneven handling of cyclists breaking the law; if cycling without lights the rider is given a warning and sometimes free lights. If cycling on the pavement with lights a £50 fine is issued no warning, no other option. The implication being that cycling on the pavement is a worse offence than cycling without lights?

    It's ignoring current government guidelines which ask for a common sense approach when handing out fixed penalties for cycling offences: "The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so." Government Minister for Cycling: Robert Goodwill.

    As a cyclist and a driver I can see both sides. I often see bad driving and I often see bad cycling. Every day. But the cyclist is the more vulnerable and the one requiring more protection. Therefore a lenient approach by GMP and the PCSO's in situations were cyclists are breaking the law for their own safety should be the way forward. For example ahead of an ASL because a car or taxi is already in the Advance Stop Lane or pavement cycling to avoid a dangerous junction. I feel this would result in better GMP relations with cyclists and probably more co-operation. Not an Us v Them which feels where we are at right now.

    Manchester City Council champions itself on being a cycle friendly city, but recent events and campaigns like #opconsiderate make me question those claims. Cycling provision in Manchester is poor. For example; recent changes to St Peters Square have made it harder to cross the city centre by bike. Tram roadworks rarely provide a safe alternative for cyclists. Bicycles are still never allowed on the tram.
    As a cyclist I feel less welcome in my city than ever.