'CometGirl', a trainee solicitor, has sent a thought-provoking letter to West Mercia police, the force that booked a cyclist for failing to show 'reasonable consideration', a clause in the 1988 Road Traffic Act, ignoring two cars which passed the cyclist by illegally straddling solid white 'no overtaking' lines. PLUS: Listen to an audio interview about the Daniel Cadden case' with the CTC's Yannick Read

Telford police taken to task by trainee solicitor

‘CometGirl’s’ letter, previewed on the Cycling Plus forum, may seem flippant to some, but she raises some important points in an ironic way. Here’s her letter:

Further to the decision of Monday 7 August 2006 of Judge Bruce Morgan in the case of R v Cadden, I am writing to obtain clarification of the legality of cycling on the road. I visit Telford regularly and as a trainee solicitor I am anxious to avoid any criminal activity.

Therefore would you please clarify the following points: 1. Which roads are illegal to cycle on in Telford? 2. Is cycling on the road banned just in Telford, the whole area covered by West Mercia police force, or nationwide? 3. How close does a cycle route have to be to a road in order that I have to leave the road and use it? Where there is, for example, a National Cycle Network route, am I obliged to use it even if it doubles the length of my journey? 4. Where the route is not continuous, please confirm that I may use the road to travel between them. 5. Where a car is parked in a cycle lane or path, am I permitted to use the road to overtake, or must I dismount and walk the bike along the pavement? I note that the judge in this case found that Mr Cadden’s actions had forced the drivers behind him to overtake illegally. I would therefore like to know whether I am at risk of prosecution when driving. I drive very rarely, but my car is an elderly Seat Marbella which accelerates very slowly and will not go fast. I frequently notice that drivers behind me become impatient and they often overtake me, sometimes illegally. If by driving my car at 25mph on a stretch of road I force drivers behind me to overtake illegally, will I be prosecuted? Finally, I am concerned about the effect of forcing people to commit an illegal act. I find, both when I am cycling or driving, that my presence on the road forces drivers behind me to commit a s.5 public order offence. Could I be prosecuted for this?

I look forward to my next visit to Telford with some trepidation.

You can email West Mercia Police on contactus@westmercia.pnn.police.uk

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