“Police” Pulling Over Cyclists!

“Police” in Devon took a break from harassing Motorists earlier this month to have a crack at bullying some cyclists…

As you may know, there is no speed limit in the UK for bicycles.

Despite this fact, the Police took it upon themselves to chase after a group of cyclists and pull them over “to advise them of their speed”…

…and then post a self congratulatory video of the high speed pursuit on social media.

In case you’re wondering, the speed of the lightweight racing bikes was around 37mph.

The “police” in their eagerness to apprehend the lycra clad criminals bravely accelerated to around 40mph in their car, which weighs around 150 times as much as the bicycles being pursued.

However, what no one seems to have pointed out are these two facts:

1) The cyclists did not break any law, nor were they acting in any way that could cause risk, inconvenience, or irritation to anyone else;

2) The “police” DID brake the law when they chased and harassed the cyclists by braking the 30mph speed limit to do so.

They also blocked the road while they “offered advice” to the cyclists…

Its a common misconception that the “police” don’t have to abide by traffic laws.

However that is completely false.

According to the law, they have to abide by them just like the rest of us except in certain “emergency” situations.

However, as we all know, the “police” see themselves as above the very punitive laws they take such pleasure in imposing upon the rest of us…

I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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57 comments on ““Police” Pulling Over Cyclists!”

    • It might be beneficial if cyclists always exceed the speed limit in order to sped up traffic trying to overtake and prevent congestion and pollution which they have to breath in.

  1. Laws should be passed to enforce speed limits on cyclists as they are for motor vehicles. They can cause accidents and deaths just as motor vehicles can. ALL cycles should be registered, insured and pay a levy towards the cost of road maintenance. Cyclists should also be fined for not using designated cycle lanes when available.

    • The number of accidents and deaths by vehicles, including deaths to cyclists, far exceeds the number of deaths and accidents by cyclists. Vehicles pay tax on pollution as well as road wear. Cyclists are non polluters as well as saving the NHS a fortune in being fitter and healthier. I suggest you get a bike and give it a go, you will feel so much better and far less bitter.

      • Ian in reply to your post i’m sure there are many more deaths due to vehicles on our roads as opposed to cyclists and that is because there are many more vehicles on our roads than cyclists.
        Your suggestion that people get on a cycle and try it may well get people in hospital sooner than they would ever have managed by driving.
        Also you claim that riding a cycle will make you “far less bitter”, i must inform you that cyclists are without a doubt the ‘most bitter’ users of our roads, prone to fits of immediate rage for no reason whatsover, even when passed in a completely legal manner.

      • I do have one and use it regularly. I feel your talents are wasted on here as you are clearly of a superior race, being able to interpret my comments not as being factual, but as coming from a bitter person. I’m not bitter at all but would just like to see some fairness and equality for all.
        Your comments are indeed correct. But it doesn’t mean mine are not either.

    • Cyclists are required to obey all speed limits on the roads, it’s in the Highway Code Rule 69.
      Cyclists “MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.”

  2. Years ago, my local ‘beat bobby’ told me that there is an offence of ‘riding a bicycle furiously’ but I don’t now whether or not he was joking. In any case, how would you define ‘furiously’.

    • but there are limits enforced on the type of vehicle even in a statutory speed limit.
      Lets look at motorways and dual carriageways, you will see as a car driver the limit is 70mph, but if you were towing a trailer it is lowered to 60mph but there are no signs to prove this, it’s considered that as a licensed driver you should know this.
      My own view on cycling speed limits would be that 20mph is a reasonable maximum speed for all cyclist either electrically powered or manually powered on our roads, and any faster i would consider as furious riding and if in a group, i would consider the whole group to be actively racing on the public road.

  3. surely the rules of the road apply to cyclists i.e. red lights so why do speed limits not apply? sorry Adam regardless of original post this is a serious statement, which requires qualifying?

  4. There is no speed limit in the UK for bicycles as said in the post. The relevant offence is not to engage in “wanton or furious driving”. Although this comes from an Act of 1861, it is still law. Cyclists must behave. Police are fully justified in reminding cyclists where necessary. They are not “taking it upon themselves to bully cyclists”, they are enforcing the law as they are employed to do.

    • that’s strange as the Highway Code states quite clearly in Rule 69, that cyclists “MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.” You can’t be any clearer than that.

      • A bicycle tried to run me over on a Pelican crossing, he claimed the rules didn’t apply to cyclists. And there’s a lot of cyclists who do not know the rules.

        Just outside of my outer London office we have a cycle lane on both sides of the road, but no cyclists. Even when they come down the road the insist on using the car lanes.

        I am intrigued why BArnet council mark a cycle lane and then on top they have car parking. It sounds like a tick box system They have supplied so many parking spaces and also cycyle lanes. The fact that you can’t use them has nothing to do with them.

  5. The strong arm tactics of the police is nothing new, I remember back in the 80’s a friend of mine was riding around Shepherds Bush roundabout in West London, dressed in his lycra clothing arse in the air peddling like mad when a police car pulled up alongside him and told him he doing 35mph in a 30mph zone and if he didn’t slow done he was going to be nicked for speeding, to which my friend politely replied go f**k yourself at which point the police car drove off

  6. Living in Devon, I was delighted to see the police taking action against cyclists. How many times do drivers complain about cyclists not stopping at red lights? Or going the wrong way down a one way street?

  7. We know that the Police are under resourced but still find time to harass motorists. It is about time that cyclists are dragged into the net. We all see cyclists, cycling on pavements; ignoring traffic lights; going down one way streets the wrong way and no doubt other offences. The rules of the road apply to cyclists as should the punishments handed out to motorists, however, I do not hold my breath as far as enforcement is concerned.

  8. There’s one exception to the non application of speed limits to bikes, and that’s in Royal Parks such as Richmond Park.
    Wonder if it applies to horses!
    I agree with you Adam. I am coming around to your views on the politicians and police. We are gradually being conditioned to accept more and more restrictions on us. What is the point of democracy and freedom if we can’t do what we want. Restrictions on freedom should be reserved for people who demonstrate that they don’t respect other peoples freedoms.

  9. It is certainly an anomaly that a self propelled wheeled apparatus does not have to obey the speed limits, but I do not think there is an exception for cyclists going through red lights and using one way streets in the wrong direction. I was hit once by a cyclist going the wrong way in a one way street and in the ensuing court case he was convicted of travelling the wrong way in a restricted road. His counter claim, that I stepped off the pavement in front of him without looking in his direction, was not accepted.

  10. If people use the public roads they should abide by the common laws and bye laws of them. If a lawful vehicle ( taxed, insured and mot’d) had been doing 37 mph in a 30 limit they would be open to prosecution. A lot of Modern day cyclists seem to be oblivious to the legalities of being a road user. A lot think red lights , stop signs etc all noted in the Highway Code for all road users do not apply to pedal cyclists ( and illegal scooters ). Good on the police for stopping them and it’s a pity they could not be prosecuted. I will admit there are some responsible cyclists using the roads , but from my experience there are more irresponsible using the roads and putting legal road users in danger of conflict. There is too much variance in law for cyclists now , they should be legally responsible if they are on the public roads.

  11. people believe there is no speedlimit for cyclists if its whether its 10,20,30 or more thats the max speed limit no matter who you are, when i was 15 years old manny moons ago i was booked doing 31 in my village. The police stoped me and asked did i no what speed i was doing i said no why, you wore breaking the speed limit of 30mph i co,opperated with the police and gave my name and address thinking that was that and went on my way,5days later i recieved a sumons to tameside magistrates court given a £30 fine if i had a license i would have got endorsements as well. So yes the speed limit is for every one not just for 4 wheels you can also be done for drunk riding if your on wheels it aplies to all and everyone.

    • That’s either fiction or shows why a solicitor comes in handy, as stated cyclists cannot be prosecuted for speeding at all, as for drunk there is also an offence of drunk in charge of a child! Although how they define drunk I do not know as I doubt there is a set level of what is drunk when not in a motor vehicle.

  12. I quote from a reliable legal source, Slater & Gordon Lawyers – “In general, British cyclists share no legal obligation to adhere to the same speed limits as motorists. Motor vehicle speed limits were introduced in 1903 and set at 20mph.

    After this limit was routinely breached, the speed limit in towns was changed to 30mph in 1934. Since then there have been no amendments enacted to make cyclists also adhere to the same regulations.

    Speed limits listed in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and also Rule 124 of the Highway Code relate to motor vehicles and not to bicycles.

    “It shall not be lawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a restricted road at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour.

    “A person who drives a motor vehicle on a road at a speed exceeding a limit imposed by or under any enactment to which this section applies shall be guilty of an offence.”

    Rule 123 of the Highway Code includes a table that sets out the speed limits for various types of vehicle on various categories of road. The table does not include bicycles.

    As such, cyclists who breach the speed limit may not be prosecuted for a speeding offence but they can, however, be prosecuted for “cycling furiously” or “wanton and furious cycling.”

    “Wanton and furious cycling” is the closest offence to dangerous driving that a cyclist can be charged with although it can only ever be used when the circumstances of a cycling accident involve someone suffering serious injury or death as a direct result of the cyclist’s actions.

    The last such conviction in the UK occurred in 2008 when a cyclist collided with a pedestrian in Weymouth after mounting the pavement on a blind bend to avoid a red traffic light. The cyclist was sentenced to seven months in prison after the man he collided with died of his injuries.

    A cyclist cannot actually be stopped for “wanton and furious cycling” as the offence only applies if an injury is suffered. A bike is considered a carriage under highways law, and The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1948) states:

    “Whosoever, having the charge of any carriage or vehicle, shall by wanton or furious driving or racing, or other wilful misconduct, or by wilful neglect, do or cause to be done any bodily harm to any person whatsoever, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years.”

    It is, however, possible for local bylaws to impose speed limits on cyclists. For example, on Hampstead Heath in London there is an 8mph speed limit for cyclists, and in Richmond Park the speed limit of 20 miles per hour for vehicles also applies to cyclists.

    It is also open to the police to prosecute cyclists for ‘careless and inconsiderate riding’. For example, in the Box Hill area of Surrey so popular with cyclists, the police have posted leaflets warning cyclists against antisocial cycling.

    The main concern of the police, however, is cyclists riding together in groups and slowing the flow of traffic down. With the exception of local bylaws, I have never come across a cyclist being prosecuted for cycling too quickly on a road.

    So, while technically cyclists are not legally obliged to adhere to speed limits, in practice it is obviously the sensible and safer option – although of course the prospect of most cyclists ever reaching, let alone breaking the speed limit, is unlikely.

  13. As a former Magistrate and a professional and leisure cyclist of many decades, I am very much aware of the factors in the case that you have mentioned.

    Whilst the Road Traffic Act does not specifically impose speed limits on pedal cyclists, pedestrians or horse-riders, it does so by inference as it does require them to abide by all road signs, and that includes speed signs. Moreover, the Highway Code applies to all road users, including the aforementioned.

    The issue of pedal cyclists and other road users abiding by road signs is predominantly covered under the Road Traffic Act [1988] Section 36.

    The Road Traffic Act [1988] Section 28 deals with dangerous cycling. A person riding a cycle dangerously on a public road is guilty of an offence. The definition of such is thus: “A cyclist will be regarded as riding dangerously if the manner in which he/she rides falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.” The danger applies equally to people and property.

    The Road Traffic Act [1988] Section 29 deals with careless and inconsiderate cycling. If a cyclist rides on a public road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other people using the road, then an offence is committed under the Act.

    You say that this was a “group of cyclists.” Given that this was a group and that they were all exceeding the statutory speed limit for that road, the police would have reasonable grounds to consider that they were ‘racing’. The regulation of cycle racing on public roads is governed pursuant the Road Traffic Act [1988] Section 31: Unless a race or trial is authorised and conducted in accordance with any conditions imposed, any cyclist who promotes or takes part in a race or trial of speed between cycles on a public way is guilty of an offence under the Act. This is a part of the law that I am particularly familiar with, having both organised and participated in races and time trials.

    You did not mention the age of the cyclists or if any of the cycles were electrically propelled or electrically assisted. The Road Traffic Act [1988] Section 32 stipulates that an electrically assisted pedal cycle must not be driven on a public road by any person under the age of fourteen years. Any person who drives such a cycle when under the age of fourteen or, knowing and/or suspecting that another person is under the age of fourteen, and allows him/her to drive such a cycle, is guilty of an offence under the Act.

    All matters considered, from the information that you have supplied, I would attest, both personally and as a Magistrate, that it was incumbent upon the police to stop the cyclists in this case and prosecute, formally caution, or otherwise advise them of their transgressions under the Road Traffic Act and The Highway Code. Whilst police do generally have to abide by speed limits themselves, they are permitted to exceed the speed limit when they deem it safe to do so, in order to catch offenders.

    As an aside, all of my roadgoing pedal cycles were equipped with speedometers from 1978. Even on bikes of that era, it was easy for a cyclist of a routine bicycle to ride on a flat road at speeds in excess of 42mph. Being fit and in daily constant training, I was capable of reaching speeds much higher, when safe and permissible to do so. My track and trial bikes were not equipped with such devices as we were timed and speed-attested by marshalls/ track officials. Those tracks were all on private land. The time trials were conducted on highways under the permission and guidance of the local council authority and police force.

  14. Do we really need laws to mandate common sense?
    Doing 37mph on a cycle on British roads is reckless and in a 30mph limit it’s dangerous and stupid, so stop trying to defend them.
    The police were right to safely remind them of their stupidity.

  15. 30MPH in towns is designed to reduce accidents, if the Lycra louts were exceeding this they should be stopped. And what about outside schools, where a lot have 20MPH speed limits. We are constantly being told that a speeding car will do more damage than one keeping within the speed limit. My personal opinion is that they should have some form of registration so that they can be traced, and vehicle insurance. Also councils should remove all cycle paths from footpaths, then there can be no confusion and the oh I thought it was a cycle path as well”.

  16. We call them Lycra Louts.
    If they don’t have to abide with Speed limits, then the law should be changed.
    Many cyclists around here in Bristol, have absolutely no manners or respect for other road users.
    I know that the implications of enforcing any sort of cycle registration and road licence fee would make it impossible. But society is leaning that way, especially when we consider how much money it costs to provide cycling facilities, cycle lanes, adapted box junctions etc, which the bar stewards don’t use.
    As a minimum all road using cyclists, and scooterists should have compulsory insurance. Even if it was a fixed fee system.

  17. Totally agree cyclists should be prosecuted for exceeding speed limits – I witness on a daily basis cyclists going through red lights, riding in wrong direction in one way streets and riding on pedestrian only pavements. Since the law changed enabling them to ride two, three or more abreast they seem to take great please in being able to hold up following traffic from overtaking for long periods of time.

    • Don’t hate them Adam, just want them to be more respectful and mindful.
      Just as you could stop winding people up with your last comment please. It’s not needed. It was you who started this after all.

    • You are right. There is a terrible, self righteous hatred of cyclists displayed in the majority of comments here, often citing anecdotal examples that are irrelevant to the present subject.
      A lot of gross ignorance and malice is displayed with no apparent understanding of the issues. Mere speed alone is not the prime issue and never should be. Many drivers who observe the speed limits are outright dangerous drivers and I doubt if there is anyone here who has never exceeded a speed limit.
      Each case should be determined on its own factors with regard to all circumstances.

      Many very narrow minded and hypocritical people commenting here.

  18. If you read Moriarty’s Police Law you will find it says “A police officer may exceed the speed limit if to obey the speed limit would impede the course of their duties” therefore the police did not break the law by exceeding the speed limit to stop the cyclists who in their opinion were not riding their cycles safely

  19. Whilst there is no specific law that applies to them for speeding, they can use the “Furious Cycling” charge as a way to day this and it will stick in a court of law too.
    If more cyclists in wales are prosecuted for this then they will likely join those protesting about the stupid insane 20mph limits they now have.

    WIth regard to the POlice breaking the law, with them, its always “do as I say not as I do” and the chief constable and IPCC does nothing, even when you raise a formal complaint. The recent Murder of those two dogs by the met police is just one example, where they discharged a firearm in a public place without authority and where there was no risk to them or the public. We will soon be in a proper POlice State the way things are going.

  20. Look up “‘wanton or furious cycling”. While a cyclist cannot be done for speeding as they do not have a speedo. However riding in a reckless manner is covered by the above offence! (“wanton or furious cycling”)

  21. im with he law on this one, anything on the roads is a potential hazard and should by law have insurance in place, push bikes no exception, its a great sport but they cause havoc and will not adhere to the highway code when traffic comes up behind them and move into single file,a beep of the horn to alert them and all you get is verbal abuse and how many times do they just waltz through red lights, always.

  22. Anyone willing to take out a private prosecution of the self declared breaking of the speed limit laws not in an emercency by the police?

  23. Taser them then pepper spray ,they are all ignorant arrogant shit ! when they start paying road tax carrying fully comprehensive insurance stop riding on the pavement stop at junctions and traffic lights then they can just maybe have some rights.

  24. Note to Adam – please note the correct spelling of “break” in the context you used it !

    A pushbike at 37mph is not thatr controllable in an emergency – just look as some of the crashes in the Tour de Franch….

  25. I have read all the comments here and it has me thinking why bother no one really gives a dam but what we should all be worrying about is the number of stupid and dangerous laws being rolled out half of them a con the other half there to rob us all blind by paying for the balls up of the government and local so called councillor’s who lets face it know silch about any thing just how to waste money and like the government stupid laws that they when out of power will have to follow them selves thus being bike laws new car laws and just about every thing else to either con the motoris or cost him a fortune and don’t for get the parking thieves biggest lying con merchants in the country people who work for them should be ashamed of them selves taking blood money wages every week and the owners living in big houses living the good life when we all struggle

  26. The rules should apply to ALL road users. Cyclists seem to get away with many things, they must be taught to obey the rules like car drivers

  27. I would need more information but you said there is no speed limit for cyclists well thats just not true, if a cyclist is doing 37 mph on a road posted as 30 limit then they are breaking the law. Secondly if the police have to go over the spd limit by a small amount to catch up with these law breakers and do their job then so be it. Stupid email, survey dont contact me again!


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