Summons for cyclist fined for pavement cycling
Kristian Gregory was fined in August on New Kent Road in London by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) taking part in Operation Safeway, a high-profile Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) initiative aimed at improving both driver and cyclist safety.
The Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) decided to help Kristian because it felt the fine was disproportionate and discriminatory. The police decision to issue a fine under the circumstances neither took into consideration ministerial advice to use discretion when handing out fines for pavement cycling nor the fact that the status of the path Kristian allegedly illegally crossed was dubious.
The charity is asking for help to fund the legal challenge. Generous supporters have already donated over £1,700 of the £2,000 needed.
Reasons for the challenge
Helmet camera footage of the incident shows that signage where the fine was issued fails to show clearly where, if anywhere, cyclists are supposed to turn from the cycle track in order to cross the road. Moreover, the narrowness of the cycle track puts it well below national design guidelines – there is even a phone box smack in the middle of it!
Straying from the cycle track is at most a trivial breach of the rules; hence the officer should have exercised discretion in deciding whether to issue a fine. The use of discretion is in accordance with advice from ministers that fines for pavement cycling should not be issued to cyclists using pavements in a considerate manner for their own safety.
Nothing to do with cyclists’ safety
Kristian believes that fining cyclists for minor alleged legal breaches has nothing to do with improving cyclists’ safety. He said: “Despite showing consideration for all other users of the path, and in spite of instructions to ‘use discretion’, I was handed a fixed penalty notice for £50. I fail to see how this fine meets with the objective of the operation. I also believe that FPNs should serve some public interest, but what is the public interest in fining me for this?”.
Kristian’s complaint has been backed by Southwark Councillor Mark Williams, who wrote to the MPS and TfL to express his support for the challenge. In response, the local police and Boris Johnson’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan both agreed to put an end to the over-zealous policing at the location where Kristian was fined.
Kristian will submit his plea to the alleged offence on 17 December.
CDF continues to receive applications from cyclists for assistance with FPN challenges for pavement cycling. If you require assistance, whether it be to challenge a fine or another matter related to cycling and the law, please get in touch.