Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Grow Up??? Sorry what???

Apparently I am immature.

If you read my blog, you are probably nodding.

If you know me then I have a steadfast confidence that you are going "no shit Sherlock".

That's fine.

You either 'know me' or you know me.

What I really object to, is some moron at an ad agency, telling me I am childish or immature.

Yes.....you guessed it......its those NICE PEOPLE again

I really don't know where to start.

I do cycle on the road.  Along a main arterial road that is 4 lanes of extremely busy and hostile traffic. Compounded by a huge amount of heavy goods vehicles and buses. Yes you are absolutely fucking right I use the pavement.  Especially when I am cycling with my toddler in his trailer or my 8yr old son.

Now don't get me wrong. I am happy to fly along this road on my road bike and keep up with the traffic on a Sunday morning, but if anyone is to suggest I am childish for not cycling in amongst rush hour traffic while I am with my son, leaves me apoplectic with fucking rage.

Not only am I fucking furious at being called immature, what I am doing is perfectly fine according to the Government.

"The arguments for including cycling on the footpath in the fixed penalty regime were given in a Home Office consultation paper issued in July 1996:

Cycling on the pavement is an offence which presents particular difficulties for enforcement. Many cyclists, not just children and teenagers, feel anxious and exposed when riding in traffic and therefore use the pavement for safety. This is understandable and must be taken into account in enforcement. But pedestrians also have the right to use the footway without facing the hazard of cyclists approaching them or coming up from behind. This practice can be especially worrying for the elderly, the infirm and the very young, and accidents have resulted.

Against this background, it is considered desirable to have a more flexible- system to respond to the varying nature of the situation. The existing enforcement arrangements are limited, in that the choice is normally between issuing a verbal warning and instigating prosecution in the courts. The provision of a fixed penalty would provide a middle course of action and greater flexibility of enforcement.

It is recognised that the enforcement of cycling offences can be more difficult than for motoring offences because of the absence of special identification for individuals and their cycles. But these difficulties can be taken into account by the police when deciding on their response to the problem. The police's discretion on how to enforce the law in this area will be particularly important in establishing the right balance. It is considered that the addition of a fixed penalty should help.

There is a letter from the then Home Office Minister, Paul Boateng, reproduced frequently on cycling sites on the Internet, which states that in relation to enforcement of this offence:

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. 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."

I consider myself responsible.  I am out cycling with the two most precious people in my life.  Why would I not be.  I don't whiz. I give pedestrians their legal right of way.

But here we have the same situation. The (not) Nice Way Code tarring all cyclists with one great big shitty brush. 

Maybe its not me that needs to GROW UP!


  1. Ace

    Now let's start by calling that strip of pavement next to the pavement we call the carriageway, by it proper Sunday best name - it is a FOOTWAY the part of the HIGHWAY which is set aside for traffic on FOOT. Calling it a pavement - the term for a paved surface over which any sort of traffic might pass supports the bivalance and obfuscation of authorities who might conveniently say that a footway is dual (or shared) use for traffic on foot and a class of carriage which is a bicycle (bicycles were formally recognised as carriages in 1888, and motor cars in 1903) and thus exempt from prosecution under s.72 of the Highways Act 1835. All this conditionality in the law and its application delivers the mess we have now.

    Dump the shared use footway crap. If a separate pavement is provided for non motorised traffic adjacent to a carriageway for all traffic, then it needs a different description and definition to a footway - and it has an entirely different set of design standards to recognise the fact that wheeled traffic cannot stop on the spot and turn through 360 degrees, and accelerate faster that any other thing on the highway between 0 and 3 mph.

    We might also start with those who should be leading by example. I'm getting sick to the teeth of seeing Police in Glasgow on cycles riding on the footway, on patrol - there is no excuse of being in pursuit of a criminal or dealing with an emergency, and the road I am riding along is almost deserted, and it isn't just the bikes Police cars, Council vehicles etc seem to consider themselves immune to the need to obey parking and traffic laws when on routine business - especially using the footway for driving on.

    In a You Gov survey 54% of UK drivers actually admitted they drove on a footway (worst being the 73% figure for NE England) in other words it would appear that the nation's motorists are far more frequently offending under s72 of the 1835 Highways Act, than the cyclists being harassed about cycling on a footway. Its about time the minor flaw that let's the court prosecute the registered keeper (or demand the details of the driver at the time) if a picture is taken of the car exceeding a speed limit, or running a traffic signal showing a stop aspect, but ludicrously cannot do the same where the car is parked on a footway and can only have got there by driving on the footway.

  2. Well said Emma! To get to school with my 7 year old and 4 year old without going on the footpath would involve us riding on a dual carriageway and crossing 4 lanes of traffic. I think not!

  3. What you do need to do is stop swearing, it's unnecessary and really lets down your blog.

    1. Lisa,

      Thank you for your comment. How I express myself is entirely a matter for me and me alone. There are many cycling blogs on the internet that do not use profanities. Please feel free to read those if my language offends.

    2. Hi Emma

      This is YOUR blog, you write what YOU want. If people don't like the content or the language they don't have to read it!