1 hour, £1,500: Police crack down on bad cycling

Becky Alldridge 15 November 2013

Cambridge police officers issued £1,500 worth of fines to cyclists without lights in just one hour last Wednesday, as part of their wider ‘Operation Pedalo’ to crackdown on bad cycling in Cambridge.

Commissioner Sir Graham Bright joined the crackdown in Regent Street with other volunteer officers. A total of more than 40 cyclists were stopped between 7:30pm and 8:45pm; the officers handed out 30 fines of £50 each.

Areas being targeted as ‘hot spots’ include the city centre, Mill Road, Hill Road, and Silver Street. Sir Graham told Cambridge News, “It is unbelievable how many cyclists are without lights”. He compared it to crackdowns as “shooting fish in a barrel.”

The special inspector Emil Hovsepyan, who volunteered for last week’s crackdown, has also expressed “frustration” at some of the excuses offered by students. These ranged from “my lights have just been stolen” to the bolder “I do lots of voluntary at school and I was so busy I forgot to put batteries in my dynamo.”

Cambridge taxi driver Nigel Lipscombe told The Cambridge Student, “A good 50 per cent [of students] don’t wear lights or don’t wear them properly… the bottom line is how do you value your life, we don’t want to knock people over.”

Girton College’s representative for cycling, Vincent Poon, said “for me the problem is to do with the fact that most students in Cambridge don’t understand the dangers, nor do they understand why bike lights are important.”

Poon told TCS that he does not  support the police’s recent crackdown on bikes. Instead, he suggested that the police should be focusing on the dangers of cycling without lights “until it reaches a point where taking your lights becomes second nature, like wearing a seat belt.”