Caught on film: the York cyclists breaking the law every day

A cyclist tumbles off his bike after taking off his jacket while riding
7 Apr 2014 @ 10.39 am
| Transport

* UPDATE: Careful cyclist has now taken down this video, but you can see an extract from it here *

They sail past red lights, ride down narrow pavements, ignore one-way signs and even text message while in the saddle.

And now some of York’s regular cycling law-breakers have been framed and shamed by another rider.

Wearing a helmet camera, the man has captured a number of cyclists flouting the law with varying degrees of recklessness.

And he has edited the footage together to create York Cyclists: Episode One which makes for compelling viewing on YouTube.

It shows riders ignoring red traffic lights and riding into oncoming traffic, including one near-collision between a car and a cyclist.

Episode one ends with a cyclist going head over handlebars after attempting to take off his jacket while riding full pelt.

Known by his YouTube name Careful Cyclist, the amateur filmmaker has been cycling around York for 30 years.

What prompted him to start filming his journeys? “Cyclists are taking more risks,” he told YorkMix.

“I have, on a number of occasions nearly been hit by inattentive or poor drivers. if you combine poor driving with reckless cycling more and more people are going to get injured. Some fatally.”

He says the culprits are “a small proportion of repeat offenders, I see the same faces over and over again.

“Young men seem prepared to take the greatest risks, but all types of road users flout the Highway Code.

“I see cyclists running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, but even the most minor indiscretions like cycling on the pavement can have potentially severe consequences if the cyclist is in collision with someone elderly or a child.

“Pedestrians have been killed by cyclists.”

A cyclist ignores the red light on Bootham and rides into traffic turning right
A cyclist ignores the red light on Bootham and rides into traffic turning right
A cyclist tumbles off his bike after taking off his jacket while riding
A cyclist tumbles off his bike after taking off his jacket while riding

‘Is the risk worth it?’

Careful Cyclist, who is 53, believes the situation is getting worse – but cyclists aren’t the only wrongdoers.

“With fewer police available road users seem aware that there is little or no chance of getting caught.

“I am currently working on videos that highlight the recklessness of some York car drivers and the danger York pedestrians place themselves in.”

While the police can’t be everywhere, “there may be a cyclist with a camera ready to record your foolishness”.

By putting his films on YouTube “I hope the families of those cyclists will see what those cyclists are doing, putting themselves and other road users at risk and prevent them.

“The cyclists involved should stop and think, is this risk I am taking worth it?”

Others are doing something similar. “A number of cyclists are using YouTube to increase awareness of road safety issues, Cycle Gaz, Sonofthewindsinc, Cycling Mikey and I hope to encourage York road users to think carefully about how they can improve the safety of themselves and others.”

How to stay safe

Careful Cyclist pointed to the Safeway campaign launched by the Metropolitan police in the wake of six cyclists being killed in London. This aims to re-educate all road users about the need to follow the rules and has claimed early success.

Although many of the problems are due to individuals taking risks, he believes more could be done to improve safety in York.

“Some of the cycling infrastructure is poorly designed and poorly maintained, cycle lanes are too narrow and sometimes bring road users in to conflict,” he told us.

And his top tips for staying safe?

“Respect other road users and follow the rules of the road, expect the unexpected and take your time.”