Police are turning an increasingly blind eye to cyclists breaking the law, the country’s top traffic lawyer has claimed.
Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said that despite cycling as a mode of transport rising sharply nationwide in the last decade, only 839 cyclists in the whole of London were fined last year for riding on pavements, compared to 6,423 in 2011.
In Manchester, 189 were fined for the same offence in 2011, but last year this had slumped to just 43. Its officers also fined just four cyclists last year for riding at night without lights.
Last year in West Yorkshire, its police forced handed out just 17 fines in total to cyclists breaching a number of laws, including riding at night without lights (two) and failing to comply with the indication given by a traffic sign (three).
In Merseyside last year only 12 cyclists were fined for failing to stop at junctions compared to 35 in 2012. And there were only 222 penalty notices issued to those riding their bikes on footpaths compared to 1,208 in 2011.
The figures were obtained under the provision of the Freedom of Information Act, when four forces – The Met, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire – were each asked the number of fines handed down to cyclists in the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and last year, for:
- Riding on a footpath
- Riding at night without lights
- Failing to stop at junctions
These tumbling figures are against a backdrop of the increasing number of cyclists on Britain’s roads. In 2014, it was said there were 645,000 cycle journeys a day across London as a whole.
Mr Freeman said: “For a number of years now I have been calling for bicycles to have identification plates so those riders who break the law can be caught and prosecuted.
“Whilst some may suggest the figures have fallen because less cyclists are breaking the law that is clearly total nonsense.
“Every day, I see a plethora of cyclists breaking a number of laws including riding on footpaths, riding through red lights and cycling at night without lights.
“Yet, because they are unidentifiable coupled with a dwindling number of traffic police who regard these offences as low priority – they get away with it!
“The figures from West Yorkshire Police are simply pitiful. This force covers the cities of Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield and yet it only fined three cyclists last year for riding on the pavement. I find that astonishing!”
Mr Freeman added: “Cycling on footpaths is a danger to pedestrians, and cycling at night without lights is a danger for all, yet countless do it on a regular basis.
“And if you dare challenge a cyclist for riding on a footpath more often than not you are met with a tirade of verbal abuse.
“The laws are there for a reason and I don’t believe our police forces are taking them seriously.”
Riding on the pavement
Riding where prohibited
Contravening automatic traffic signals
Contravening traffic signs
Lights not conforming or lit during hours of darkness
Without lights being fitted
GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE
Riding on the pavement
About Freeman & Co.
Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.
Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.
The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.
Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.
The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.
If you are facing a road traffic matter or criminal offence and need the services of Freeman & Co. please call on 0161 236 7007.
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Freeman & Co Solicitors
8 Oxford Court
Tel. 0161 236 7007