Police crackdown on bad cyclists is criticised

Some cyclists pedal have been seen wrongly-using a one way street. Picture: Toby Williams
Some cyclists pedal have been seen wrongly-using a one way street. Picture: Toby Williams
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Police in Edinburgh have launched a crackdown on rogue cyclists, with officers lying in wait in the West End to catch those using a one-way street as a short-cut.

Bikes were seen being stopped by officers for cutting along the lane from Canning Street to Rutland Square.

Bemused cyclists were asked to dismount and walk through the roadway instead.

No Entry’ signs clearly mark the Canning Street to Rutland Square roadway, but it is well-known as a shortcut for cyclists, especially those eager to avoid the disruption wreaked by the tram works.

The crackdown, however, has caused consternation among the city’s active pro-cycling lobby.

Cycling campaign group Spokes said the rebuke seemed “disproportionate” when so many motorists regularly carry out dangerous manoeuvres in the Capital.

But police have moved to dampen fears of a wider heavy-handed crack down on cycling saying officers were merely targeting bicycle riders while passing through the area as part of a city centre blitz on drivers failing to wear their seat-belts.

One West End resident who passed the police officers on his way to work yesterday morning was surprised at the sight. He said: “The number of officers deployed seemed too high, given the extent of the problem. There were three officers on the corner on Rutland Square, and then as I crossed behind the Au Bar pub there were another two stopping two guys on bikes.

“The two men being stopped seemed very surprised.”

The resident added: “There is a small problem with cyclists on the pavement in the area, and cutting down the wrong way on roads.

“But given the huge disruption there is due to the tram works, a lot of them obviously think breaking some rules is worth it.”

Ian Maxwell, from Spokes, said he hoped tough policing of the lane would not become a regular occurrence. He said: “Spokes would be concerned if enforcement measures like this are really needed when there are real problems in Edinburgh.

“Cyclists in Edinburgh see motorists running red lights all the time so we believe the police were looking at a very small issue, which seems strange.

“There are road throughs in the city which should perhaps be made two-way for cyclists and this is one of them. 
That would be a more positive step.”

Police Scotland admitted “officers were deployed in the city centre to target road traffic issues, such as motorists failing to wear a seat-belt”, and they may have alerted cyclists to the rules while passing through. Any cyclists asked to dismount would have been given advice by officers on the road rules and not faced any fine.

Nice Way Code was panned

THE Scottish Government’s £500,000 Nice Way Code campaign came under attack last month after ads encouraged cyclists to weave into the middle of traffic

when overtaking buses.

The ads were part of the new campaign, which asks people to make small changes to increase road safety and improve the experience of people driving, cycling or walking.

City council leader Andrew Burns used his online blog to slam the pre-booked ads running on the back of Lothian Buses vehicles across Edinburgh.

The posters instructed two-wheelers not to undertake buses on the left – even if a designated cycle lane exists and to only overtake on the right “if you must”.

But the Nice Way Code was widely panned by cycling campaigners.