UK drivers who use cycle lanes to squeeze past traffic queues are in for a nasty surprise. London transport chiefs are planning a crackdown on motorists who stray into bike paths, with fines of up to £120 for anyone caught in the act.
New laws will be proposed in November which would allow Transport for London to set up roadside cameras to enforce the paths, along with advanced stop boxes for bikes at traffic lights.
While drivers caught by speed cameras normally know they're in trouble thanks to a telltale camera flash, it's likely that the new system will use video recording. Meaning culprits won't know they're due a fine until a letter arrives on their doormat.
London will be the trial authority for the scheme. If successful it's predicted the Government will follow suit with new legislation expanding the power to cover the rest of the country.
These changes to the penalties for flouting cycling safety measures would be the latest aspect of traffic law to be "decriminalised", a move which allows local authorities to act as enforcers, rather than relying on over-stretched police.
Currently police officers have the power to fine drivers £30 for driving in bike lanes, but the power is rarely used.
Only three fines were handed out by London police in the last year to drivers using cycle lanes.
The proposed £120 fine would reduce to £60 with prompt payment, similar to other incentives which already exist to pay fixed penalties for parking and road tax infringements.
The new powers are expected in a bill to be published in November.
The proposal is being supported by London Councils, the body which represents the different boroughs of the UK capital.
The London Mayor's green transport adviser Jenny Jones told Bikeradar: "If London is going to be the cycling friendly city that the Mayor envisages, then cycle lanes and ASL's [advance stop lines] have to be protected space and drivers fined for driving in them.
"One of the biggest barriers to getting more women cycling is the perception of road danger and we have to do all we can to make cyclists feel safer as well as actually reducing the death and injury toll."