Pavement cyclists to be targeted by police

July 5, 2012 32 Comments »

Cyclists who ride on pavements are being targeted by local policing teams in Cardiff.

From this week, members of the local neighbourhood policing team, including PCSOs, will be carrying out a seven-week zero tolerance operation to prevent offences, educate cyclists and issue fixed penalty notices if appropriate. The operation follows concerns from the public in the Cowbridge Road East area.

Acting Sergeant Gerallt Hughes, from the Canton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Residents, Pact attendees and local councillors have raised concerns about cyclists on pavements in the Canton and Leckwith areas.

“We share their concerns that somebody could get hurt soon and, in response to these concerns, we have begun an awareness and enforcement campaign.”

The operation, which runs one day a week until August 31, will involve high-visibility patrols and officers in plain clothes at different times of the day in order to prevent the cycling offences.

Offenders can be dealt with by way of a £30 fixed penalty notice.

The next Canton Pact meeting takes place on Wednesday, July 11, in Taff Housing, Cowbridge Road East, at 7pm.

Update 09/07/2011: Several people asked yourCardiff whether the crack down and issuing of fixed penalty notices would apply to children cycling on the pavement. A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said:

“Juveniles will be warned, but cannot be issued with fixed penalty notices. Depending on age, they will either be requested to use the road, or if they are believed to be too young for that then consideration will be given to speaking with parents regarding safety measures.”

There’s been lots of debate on yourCardiff about safe cycling in the city over the last week. News that one fifth of cycling accidents in Wales during 2011 happened in Cardiff prompted this guest blog on safety tips from Tredz bike shop. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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  1. Ian July 5, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

    I don't condone it myself, and I know it shouldn't be done (I do ride on the pavement at times) but unfortunately its a catch 22. Do you ride on the pavement where you are at risk of injuring a pedestrian (I would add, it's only going to be a minute few who do endanger pedestrians) or do you ride on the road at serious risk of injuring yourself (drivers in Cardiff have no patience for cyclists whatsoever!) I'd also be interested to know where the line is drawn – are young children still able to cycle on the pavements??

    • Vulgarstu July 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Well if its your choice to ride a bike, and benefit from doing so, I suggest it is only fair that you bear all the risk and not some pedestrian who hasn't asked for cyclists to menace their only place of safety when they have no choice but to walk. Why should they bear ANY percentage of the risks from someone elses transport/lifestyle choices.

  2. @JoshOwenMorris July 5, 2012 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I wonder if they'll do the same for drivers on their mobiles. Twice I've been hit by drivers on the phone unable to pay proper attention, it could potentially have been very nasty.

  3. @hintofsarcasm July 5, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Pavements are not for cycles. Can't count how many times in the last few weeks alone I've almost been mowed down by some unwieldy cyclist.

  4. Stuart July 5, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply
  5. dorkomatic July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am - Reply

    This is possibly the MAIN reason for me not riding a bike. (I walk)

  6. jennifer July 5, 2012 at 11:21 am - Reply

    I agree with Ian, particularly in the area of castle street where I DO cycle on the pavement as a necessary requirement to save myself from harm! There should be zones where there is a more prominent cycle path for the safety of all road users

  7. Gareth July 5, 2012 at 11:25 am - Reply

    In light of this will the police also enforece a zero-tolerance policy to cars, lorries and vans parking in the cycle lanes? The lane on Cowbridge Rd East is always full of vehicles, forcing cyclists into the middle of the road or to weave in and out between the lane and the road. Both these options are dangerous and annoy motorists no end (which is also dangerous). Cycling on the pavement is of course unacceptable, but you have to give cyclists somewhere to go other than under a bus.

  8. Non cyclist July 5, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Cowbridge Rd East specific comment: there are usually a bunch of cars parked over the cycle lanes – if they were kept clear, cyclists would use them. Punishing the cyclists instead of the inconsiderate parkers is insane.

    • Jenny July 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      This is so true, I have written to the Council about this and all they have said is disable badged cars are allowed so it must be them. I have never seen a blue badge in a window parked on a cycle path on Cowbridge Road East, just lazy sods.

  9. Anne July 5, 2012 at 11:56 am - Reply

    It's no surprise that this all seems to have arisen from the Canton area, where only yesterday I was forced off my bike due to relentlessly impatient drivers, along with the ongoing issue of the so-called "cycle lane" being covered up by parked cars and vans. Cyclists in Cardiff have simply nowhere to go. As the previous contributor touched on, Cardiff drivers have no time, patience or tolerance for cyclists. and will not be content until we've given up and got into our cars just like they feel we ought to. Pedestrians and cyclists should be on the same side here, to ensure that roads are safe for bikes as well as motor vehicles.

  10. A L M July 5, 2012 at 11:57 am - Reply

    My daughter was riding to school during the cycle to school campaign a couple of years ago. Because her route is along a busy street in Canton, she was riding along the pavement, accompanied by my husband, and almost had a bus on top of her (it was a complicated incident, and the bus driver was in no way at fault). When we wrote to the Cardiff official to inform them of the incident and to request additional support and publicity for cyclists, particularly during this week, we were met with an officious stonewall response that it was illegal for her to have been on the footpath to begin with. Not only was the official an ass, he was wrong. This particular law does not apply to under 16's (provided they are riding responsibly).

    I ride on the pavement on occasion, where it is SAFE to do so and where it is unaccessible or unsafe to ride on the road. If it's a busy pedestrian area, I get off my bike, and whenever there are any pedestrians around, I slow down and give them plenty of space. It's common courtesy and common sense. A bike is a vehicle of sorts, it can cause damage to pedestrians and the rider. But cut cyclists some slack: not everyone is a twit.

  11. SPJ July 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    It's about time the authorities clamped down on pavement cyclist, especially in the Canton area. More and more cyclists treat pavements as race tracks. If cyclist are that concerned about road safety they wouldn't cycle through red lights or the wrong way up one-way streets. I commute daily across the city by bike and have never felt threatened by motorists, though when I am cycling, the equation Motorist = Idiot is uppermost in my mind. Also, I have no problem about stopping at red lights. Why do so many cyclists have such an issue with red lights? The more cyclists there are on the road, the more we force motorists to modify their behaviour. Cyclists' beef is with the motorist and we shouldn't alienate pedestrians.

  12. James July 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Cycle lanes in Cardiff are woeful and drivers are totally intolerant of cyclists, cycling on the pavement is often a necessary evil for your safety. Cyclist being sesnsible on the pavement offer little to no risk to padenstrians while vehicles are a huge threat to cyclists on the road. The pavement also offers a safety net for people just starting cycling (including children as mentioned above but also adults who haven't ridden in years), so this policy runs the risk of putting people of cycling all together. This just furthers Cardiffs attitude that it is an anti cycling city.

  13. Sam July 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Obviously the pavements are for pedestrians, but perhaps there should be more focus on the drivers — that way there’d be no need for cyclists to worry about riding on the road.

    Last time I was on Cowbridge Road East a driver cut straight across from Severn Road to Picton Place and knocked me off my bike as I was in the bike lane.

    My bike looked like this after:

    In some towns, they’ve had the sense to put bike lanes on the other side of parked cars — so it’s pavement > bike lanes > parked cars > traffic. Seems to make sense.

    More info here:

  14. Kitty Wales July 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    I'd be a lot happier if cars were not parked in cycle lanes (obstructing cyclists) or mounted on pavements (obstructing pedestrians, wheelchairs, prams and mobility scooters). Isn't it ironic that last week Cardiff celebrated the city's "Cycling Festival' and this week the city demonizes cycling. I don't ride on pavements unless I am forced onto one by a careless driver or in danger of being mashed by a driver eating/on a cell phone/applying make-up/adjusting the volume on the stereo….. 30 pounds is a lot but my life is worth a bit more than that thanks!

  15. polvs July 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    A thought on this, for years the council has been trying to get more people on bikes. That has some result, you see more bikes around these days. However, the infrastructure – especially Cowbridge Road East – can not cope with an increase like this. People chose a safe option and that is unfortunately on pavements. And now we will get punished for…trying to use the bike safely.
    Another point is the confusing signs in many places in Cardiff which sometimes allow cyclists on the pavement and sometimes not. Work to be done, but it definitely won't be solved by going around targeting cyclists.

  16. Bert July 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Just have a look at Wood Street outside St Davids House. The pavement here is a racetrack for cyclists. It is high time something positive was done about this.

  17. Ken July 6, 2012 at 1:02 am - Reply

    As an experienced cyclist I believe I owe it to the safety and convenience of pedestrians not to cycle on the pavement, and I cycle on the road – and ask other cyclists to do so too. The obstruction of cycle lanes is a red herring to this issue – cyclists have to ride out in the traffic and, if using the road, to have the skills to do so. Let / require the police and wardens concentrate on enforcing to traffic laws as a whole, and encourage respect for pedestrians and road users who follow the traffic laws.

    • IanPery July 13, 2012 at 1:20 am - Reply

      Are you the Ken of the Cardiff Cycle Campaign?

      May I ask, how old were you when you started cycling, and began to gain all of your cycling experience? I was about 6 or 7…

      Do you really think that a child should be cycling on the roads of Cardiff in 2012? Do you think that we should lock children inside and not allow them the freedom that we had?

  18. merlin July 6, 2012 at 8:49 am - Reply

    well its an accepted thing here by those that transgress the law here in Tremorfa is non existent , this with many other daily problems of youths running amok ….

  19. disguise July 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I don't cycle but have have no problem with cyclists on the pavement, like they are on the continent.

    If there were proper rules in place for cyclists and pedestrians there shouldn't be a problem.
    In Cardiff we have empty pavements and choc-a-bloc roads. I can walk the length of my road which takes 8 minutes and would be lucky to meet 2 or 3 pedestrians. Police should be chasing criminals not cyclists.

  20. EcoHomeCentre July 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    The trouble is that it is not the offence that is the problem, it is the person doing it. I am a cyclist, pedestrian and driver. I walk, cycle and drive in a manner that is sensible, safe and puts no-one else in harms way. This might mean that I occasionally cycle on pavements, through red lights etc, but only if it is safe. My kids cycle on the pavement, but again I am teaching them to stop if there are pedestrians etc. I see people cycling on the road doing wheelies that are much more dangerous than considerate cyclists who are forced onto the pavements by parked cars etc.

    I think that Cardiff should have RED routes where parking is not allowed full stop – this would then give buses and cyclists better and safer routes and stop people from being forced into conflict zones.

  21. Num_T July 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Lets be honest – cycle paths are a joke. As long as they are part of the rest of the road, that is all they really are – the road. Making them a different colour doesn't change jack. If you really want to make them viable then stick a bloody kerb on them, I don't think too many pedestrians would be happy walking on a section of road painted a different colour either. Of course it wouldn't stop motorists oblivious to the rest of the world opening their flaming doors on you mind you…

  22. Ben Hogan July 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    I was knock off my bike by someone walking in a cycle path, left me needing to go to hospital. Police said there was not offence that the person could be charged with. I dont think bikes should go on pavements but also think pedestrians should be 'targeted' if they go in bike lines.

    • IanPery July 13, 2012 at 1:25 am - Reply

      Hi Ben..

      An unfortunate accident, BUT… everyone needs to be aware of everyone else. A motorist must be aware of children playing by the side of the road, and aware that they may run across the road… (ok, this is a bit 1970's as kids are now locked inside homes)

      Accidents always will happen, but if we travel at sensible speeds and are aware of others can be minimised in number and seriousness.

  23. Fonant July 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Cracking down on cyclists avoiding likely injury by riding away from motor vehicles? That will do two things: cause an increase in road injuries and deaths, and put almost everyone off using a bicycle for local transport. What a "good idea"… How many serious injuries have been caused by pavement cycling? Is this really a proportional response, or just picking on a soft minority target?

  24. @cotnm July 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    The Police need to be reminded that they cannot simply apply a zero-tolerance approach to cycling on the pavement. They are going to have to prove carelessness or endangerment of others. The Home Office has twice issued guidance on issuing a FPN for cycling on a footway.
    “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.”

  25. @markheseltine July 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    I live right by Cowbridge Road East and its appalling cycling infrastructure. Instead of grandstanding with threats, public servants should be making Canton a better place to live and easier to get around. The problem is that it's a reasonably narrow street with a lot of pedestrian crossings, intersections and, unfortunately, too much through traffic flowing through. I support either partially or fully pedestrianising Cowbridge Road East between Wyndham Crescent and Corporation Road, with a dedicated cycle lane.

  26. Sam July 11, 2012 at 9:41 am - Reply

    I'm assuming this means we'll soon see Police patrolling the area around Callaghan Square where the pavement is split in half, one side clearly marked for cyclists. I encounter pedestrians committing 'heinous crimes' around there every weekday morning on my ride to work. The £30s would come rolling in!

  27. vats July 11, 2012 at 11:34 am - Reply

    I think it is totally wrong that the police intend to target only cyclists, especially in the Canton area where the problem is caused more by the cars. The trouble is that there are sensible cyclists and cyclist who ride like idiots (go trough red lights and have no regard for the traffic, pedestrians or even their own safety) and these are the ones that give all cyclists a bad reputation. I have been hit over the bonnet of a car twice in the last 6 months, which was all down to both drivers not being aware and not signalling when they should have been. This happened even with me riding carefully and wearing hi-viz gear. The cycle paths in Cardiff are mainly useless and the Local Authorities or Government need to rethink their strategy for SAFE cycle paths and also take note that when the cycle path is actually on the pavement, as it is opposite the castle, they should be very clearly marked so that pedestrians actually realise that the area is also permitted for cycling. GIVE CYCLISTS A BREAK !!!!

  28. keencyclistonce October 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    I very much agree with vats (11July). My partner had a similar accident being thrown onto the bonnet of a car and back onto the road. I was rung by the police and had to pick him up from A&E … thankfully "just a broken collar bone"! God knows what could have happened. Plus, he was cycling reponsibly and with hi viz gear and helmet.
    If the police were to crack down on those who give cycling a bad name and drivers who don't have any respect for cyclists or pedestrians for that matter, things could truly improve. Cycle lanes in Cardiff are mostly nothing but an apology. This way, the traffic congestion has no chance of being eased in and around Cardiff. – Even people keen on cycling are bound to be put off in one way or another, thus adding to the traffic nightmare in the city.
    Look abroad to see how conditions for cyclists can be improved, so that people can feel that they can both cycle and be safe, no matter what age they are!

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