For many, the new year marked the start of a healthier lifestyle, with cycling becoming a popular choice for improving fitness.
Yet with the surge in enthusiasm about losing weight, some are overlooking the rules and regulations that could land them in hot water.
Mark Brown, owner of a bicycle insurance provider ProtectMyBikewarned that even minor infractions can “result in hefty fines”, which could “put people off cycling”.
Here he describes nine cycling offenses and their penalties.
Using a mobile phone – fine up to £50
Although it’s not illegal in the UK to use a mobile phone while cycling, Mark warns it could land you with a hefty fine.
Mark says: “Using a phone while cycling can distract you from the road, leading to potential accidents. » Although it is not illegal in the UK, Mark notes that “this may be considered careless or inconsiderate cycling, punishable by a potential fine of £50.”
Driving on pavements – fine up to £50
Mark explains: “The Highway Traffic Act 1988 states that cyclists must travel on the road unless there are specific exemptions, such as designated cycle lanes.
“The law also applies to children, but those under 10 cannot be prosecuted. Be careful, however, in Scotland, where criminal liability begins at eight years. That didn’t stop a Lincolnshire police officer from threatening to confiscate a four-year-old’s bike in 2015.
Crossing pedestrian areas – fine up to £1,100
Although many cyclists avoid obvious pedestrian areas, Mark says: “Some smaller, less marked areas can surprise cyclists.
“Fines generally range between £50 and £100. However, a female cyclist was ordered to pay more than £1,100 in fines and costs for cycling through Grimsby town center in June last year.
High-powered electric bikes – fined up to £200
To be allowed on the roads, Mark says e-bikes must have “a set of working pedals, an electric motor of less than 250 watts, and a maximum speed of 15.5 mph (25 km/h).” If it exceeds those limits, he says, you’ll need a license and insurance to “enter motor vehicle territory.”
Mark adds: “Riding without insurance is the biggest financial problem, with on-the-spot fines of up to £200 and potential prosecution leading to higher penalties.
While many will avoid crossing obvious pedestrian areas, Mark warns that “smaller” and “less marked” areas can surprise cyclists.
Carrying too many passengers – fine up to £50
Mark explains that overloading can “affect the stability and handling of the bike, increasing the risk of an accident”.
Fdifficulty displaying a front and rear light – fine up to £5
Mark says: “Increasing your visibility by displaying front and rear lights, particularly in bad weather or at night, is an essential step in preventing accidents. »
Ignoring “no cycling” signs: fine up to £30
The expert explains that no-cycling signs are placed in specific areas where cycling may “present a safety risk, such as busy pedestrian areas.” He says: “Ignoring these signs not only breaks the law, but also disregards the safety and comfort of others. »
Jumping a red light – fine up to £50
According to Mark: “Jumping a red light, whether on a bicycle or any other vehicle, is a serious traffic offense. Obeying traffic lights is crucial for the safety of everyone on the road.
Reckless or furious cycling – fine up to £2,500
Mark says these offenses “cover a range of reckless behavior, from crossing traffic to speeding.” It adds: “Fines can be up to £1,000 for careless cycling and £2,500 plus potential points on your driving license for furious cycling. Riding your bike recklessly can even land you in jail, depending on the severity.
For more information, visit protectmyvelo.fr.