Cyclists exceeding 20mph speed limit labelled "anti-social"

Riders can't be punished for breaching a limit intended to protect them

A city crime commissioner has identified a new trend of cyclists breaching the 20mph car speed limit – a law intended to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists.  

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright told Radio Cambridge: "Now we've got a new issue. Now that we've got a 20mph limit in the city, it's more than possible. I've seen it myself, by driving at 20, you get cyclists overtaking you."

Currently UK speed limits apply to motor vehicles only – with a couple of exceptions – and mean cyclists can't be punished for breaching the limit. However numerous cities around the UK are introducing widespread 20mph zones, meaning the phenomenon of cyclists overtaking cars could spread.

However, Rod King, founder and campaigner of 20's Plenty for Us, which campaigns for lower speeds in residential areas told BikeRadar that cyclists exceeding the limit could be considered anti-social.

He said: "Community and society generally sees the danger primarily coming from motor vehicles rather than vulnerable cyclists [but] I think we should all be aware of our actions and how they are perceived by others.

"My feeling, as a cyclist myself, is that where a community has set 20mph as a speed limit in order to protect vulnerable road users, then while technically that does not apply to a cyclist, I would have thought cycling at what is above the speed limit for motor vehicles could be considered as anti-social."

Bright's comments – made last week – angered a local bike blogger, the Cottenham Cyclist, who wrote: "It is unbelievable that Graham Bright has started to think about targeting cyclists who cycle at more than 20mph when we have had so much inaction on 20mph for motor vehicles. For anyone who walks around the city it is very clear where priorities should be on 20mph. What we have here is a throw-away comment to try to garner some support."

The phenomenon of cyclists travelling faster than cars is likely to spread as increasing numbers of local authorities roll out 20mph speed limits in a bid to reduce road casualties and improve residents' quality of life.

Over the summer, Sustrans identified a trend for 'reckless cycling speed demons' riding anti-socially on bike paths in bids to record fast Strava times  

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