City council plans to take up powers for enforcement of cycling areas
NOTTINGHAM City Council wants to obtain powers to punish drivers who ignore road markings designed to keep cyclists safe.
Motorists caught encroaching over the "advance stop lines" – which clearly mark out areas for cyclists at traffic lights – face three penalty points on their licence and a £60 fine.
The city council wants to take the powers off the police, who have not handed out any penalties in the last year despite claims by cyclists that there is "widespread abuse".
City council cycling officer Steve Brewer said: "The police are responsible for enforcement but it is not high on their priorities. The city council is pursuing powers to undertake that enforcement ourselves."
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The city council installs about 30 advance stop lines a year, as part of continuing work on cycle routes and road resurfacing schemes.
It is hoped they will encourage more people to cycle in the city for work and leisure.
Mr Brewer said: "Advance stop lines place cyclists in a more visible location ahead of traffic. They allow cyclists to wait relatively free from exhaust fumes. It makes it easier for cyclists to turn right and, if there is an associated feeder lane, it allows cyclists to bypass queuing traffic."
Recent schemes where advance stop lines were created are in Hucknall Road and the route through Strelley. There are plans to add them through Clifton soon.
Trent Barton bus company recently issued a staff notice telling drivers complaints had been received about encroachment, which it said was "dangerous and should stop immediately". Greater Nottingham cycling campaign group Pedals has launched a scheme about the lines. Hugh McClintock, of Pedals, said: "It is not just bus drivers and taxi drivers. Drivers in general need to be aware of these things.
"We find that there is widespread abuse. Partly, it is a matter of ignorance. A lot of people don't know what they are about. People have a duty to find out what they are, like they do any other traffic signs."
Gary Smerdon-White, chairman of the Greater Nottingham Transport Partnership and cycle training group Ridewise, also said it was important to raise awareness.
"The main problem is that there is little or no easy way to enforce and little knowledge by drivers of the illegality or its implications," he said.
A spokesman for Notts Police said: "Enforcing this is particularly difficult as, in most cases, it would require a police officer to be present when an offence was committed. If a cyclist was to report an offence to police, officers would be obliged to investigate it further."