Police fine cyclists £30 and tell them to ride around killer Bow roundabout

A London cyclist has written to us to explain how she was fined £30 by police and ordered to ride around the Bow roundabout – a location where two cyclists have died in recent weeks – despite riding lawfully on a shared-use path.  

Riding home from work in late September, Camilla Swain was told she'd broken the law for riding on the pavement on the north side of Stratford High Street, even though the area where she was cycling is actually part of the Olympic Cycling and Walking Network.

On Transport for London's latest London Cycling Guide (part of which is reproduced above), the section of pavement between the Greenway and Marshgate Lane is shaded green, indicating cycling is permitted with priority for pedestrians.

This section of pavement was made shared-use by the Olympic Delivery Authority in order to maintain a safe north-south route after a section of the Greenway in the Olympic park was closed. 

Ms Swain said, "The police were waiting behind a pillar by the Porsche garage, and when I cycled past on the pavement they jumped out and fined me £30.

"I said it was too dangerous to cycle to the roundabout and back, and asked why there wasn't a safe cycle route.

"They had no response to that, but said it wasn't an excuse and that I'd be okay because I had a helmet.

"In the time I was there, three other cyclists were fined £30 each for riding in the same location.

"Now I cycle around the Bow roundabout every day; it's such a horrible road, and I really hate it."

LCC campaigns officer Charlie Lloyd said, "This is an example of extremely insensitive policing.

"We'll be contacting the Metropolitan Police Commander for Newham insisting cyclists are not fined in this location.

"There's also the wider issue of fining cyclists for pavement infringements when they're clearly trying to protect themselves from serious harm.

"Local cycle trainers have told us that even if it were illegal to ride there, which it isn't, they would cycle on the pavement rather than risk riding around Bow roundabout."

When police and community support officers were given the power to issue fixed penalty notices for pavement cycling, the Home Office assured Parliament that these powers "should only be used where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others."

Then Home Office Minister Paul Boateng wrote 'Chief Police Officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road – sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.'