Cyclists fined by PSNI for 'drink and drug-cycling'

The figures come as people are increasingly being encouraged to swap their cars for bicycles
Brendan Hughes

CYCLISTS have been reprimanded by police almost 200 times in the past five years for dangerous cycling – including riding while on drink and drugs.

A total of 186 fixed penalty notices and discretionary disposals were issued between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

The offences include cycling dangerously and an increasing number caught on bikes while unfit through drink or drugs.

Cyclists were reprimanded 57 times for dangerous cycling, 52 times for cycling without due care and attention, 11 for cycling while unfit through drink or drugs, and five times for cycling without reasonable consideration.

The most common offence was no lights on a bicycle, with police issuing 61 fines or discretionary disposals over the period.

The figures were disclosed by the PSNI through a Freedom of Information request.

Although the numbers were small, cases of cycling on drink and drugs jumped to six in 2015-16 from the three offences recorded in 2013-14 and two in 2014-15.

Dangerous cycling also hit a five-year high with 14 people reprimanded by police in the past year.

Non-endorsable offences carry a fine of £30.

The figures come as people are increasingly being encouraged to swap their cars for bicycles in a bid to improve health and reduce traffic congestion.

In the year since Belfast introduced its own version of the London 'Boris Bikes', the scheme has amassed almost 6,000 regular users who have made more than 190,000 journeys.

Jonathan Hobbs, writer of the blogs NI Greenways and Bikefast, last night allayed concerns that the police figures could signal an increase in dodgy cycling.

"Over the last four years there have been over 125,000 fixed penalty notices and discretionary disposals, of which just 186 were cycling related. That's a paltry 0.14 per cent of all traffic offences," he said.

"Given that cycling accounted for around one per cent of all journeys made in Northern Ireland during that time, it's good to see PSNI figures confirm that people who use bicycles are so considerate and safe. We need more road users like that."

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