As I motorcycled home I spotted two officers on Milton Road obviously on Operation Pedalo (or is that the North Area Police priority, or both?). Targets of the operation are: cycling without lights; pavement cycling; and reducing cycle crime [theft?].
Setting the Scene
7pm Thursday 7th. Feb, two officers were outside Wilco exactly where the cyclist is on Google StreetView waiting for cyclists travelling North (left to right). I was observing from outside the pharmacy, where the police cones are. It was dark but well lit with streetlamps.
Some will be familiar with the location. The signage is unclear and it is quite easy to continue cycling from a shared use (just ~30 yards from the officers) and continue straight into the trap, but now on a footway.
I was not quite close enough to see if they were officers or PCSOs. They were not aware that I was observing.
Just before I arrived they were talking to a person with a bicycle but by the time I had parked up they had gone so I don't know if they had been ticketed or were asking for directions.
Five minutes of observation.
The first thing that happened was a car was pulled over for using fog lamps when not foggy. The car left without a ticket being issued.
Many cyclists went past on the road on both directions all with lights. Far more cars went past too, I estimate about 10 times as many.
A cyclist came northbound into the trap. Before they arrived I could see they were riding courteously and passed a family with two children. In no way did the family look worried. This looked like a typical scene on any shared use path.
The cyclist, a male maybe 30-40yrs, had no lights and was stopped and given a ticket. This took the full duration of the time I was there so more than 4 minutes. There was a moment when the cyclist was looking down at his bike, confused. Perhaps looking for the frame number.
During the time the officers were giving the cyclist a FPN, and thus unobserved and ignored, these events took place:
One car with a failed headlamp parked near them. One car went past with fog lamps lit. A panther taxi was hooted as it attempted pull out onto the main road from the shop area. A cyclist with no rear light safely negotiated their way past a dog and walker, then round the officers and continued. My motorcycle came within 6 inches of being hit as an unobservant driver swung into my parking space - I was obscured by the car next to me.
At this point I left. (See StreetView image) I negotiated my way left to right through the bollards retracing my steps to leave via the drop kerb at the white line. A car had parked here blocking the way out.
No cyclists were on the footway with lights during the time I was there so we do not know if that is being ticketed here.
So that's 2 bicycle light offences; 2 bicycles on the footway; 3 car lighting offences; 2 cases of poor driving; 1 case of anti-social car parking.
I use Wilco a few times a year and I believe the pedestrians are at most risk from cars rushing in and out of the parking areas from a busy main road. Anecdotal observations should not be relied upon, but my road safety stats (see on footway or verge) add weight to that theory.
I left via Arbury Road and knowing the Police were elsewhere, pulled a superbly long power wheelie. joke.