If you attempted to cycle down Queen Street today you may have had a big surprise. South Wales Police has been “conducting a cycling operation” on one of Cardiff’s key retail areas.
As we’ve discussed before, cycling on Queen Street is against the rules. There has been talk of lifting that ban over the years since it came into force, but it remains banned to this day.
City Centre NPT conducting Cycling Operation on Queen St today warnings, tickets and advice to be issued DJH pic.twitter.com/Urf5zOoPA8
— SWPCapitalCity (@SWPCapitalCity) May 18, 2016
Unlike some of Cardiff’s other wide paths that are occasionally branded “shared paths”, Queen Street appears to fall under the “pavement” classification where law enforcement is concerned. This means a maximum fine of £500 (…which believe it or not is £400 more than the fine for careless driving…but that’s an argument for another day).
— Road Safety Wales (@RoadSafetyWales) May 18, 2016
We’re still in two minds about whether cycling along Queen Street, law aside, is a good idea. When we did a poll there was a general consensus that it should be allowed, but the “allowed, but within designated lanes” option was the most popular. However, until that happens and until the rules change, it’s probably best you don’t cycle on Queen Street, even if commercial vehicles appear to be just fine.
(It’s not as if they are at all dangerous to pedestrians, is it…)
However, in the absence of alternative arrangements that offer the relative safety from motorists that Queen Street provides, it smacks as a little heavy-handed to go fining people for just trying to get around safely.
Carrot & Stick
It won’t shock you to hear that we love cycling and we want more people to do it. Other cities like London have proved that there is pent-up demand for more cycling, but the infrastructure –the carrot if you will, needs to encourage people to do it. People need to feel safe cycling around Cardiff and protected bike lanes are clearly the way to go.
Currently we’re only really seeing the “stick” here in Cardiff. You can count the number of cycling-related developments embarked upon by the council in recent years on one hand. Frustratingly, much of it has been of poor quality and below the standards expected by the Active Travel Act.
This makes it more than a little frustrating that the police are cracking down on the relatively small number of Cardiff’s population that is daring to make the best of what we have. Even so, until the council conducts its review of cycling on Queen Street, currently in the transport plan for 2019/20, it’s probably best you re-evaluate your route through town. We’re happy to provide advice on how, should you need it.
What we CAN do is write to our local councillors and ask that they bring that review forward. Power rests in the councillors hands, so nothing happens without pressure from residents.