Are cyclists racing against each other on London’s streets? This was a question raised in a letter to the Daily Telegraph this morning (29/12/2015) by Gareth Hayton following previous letters about speeding cyclists putting pedestrians at risk. His answer was yes because he said if you go to the internet and search for “Strava segment Embankment” it shows you that cyclists are recording their times on the stretch of road along the Embankment from the City to the West End (part of the http://www.strava.com web site).
The “winner” in the Men’s category at the time of writing is Tom Moses with a time of 3 minutes and 9 seconds which it gives as an average speed of 58.7 kph (i.e. 31.7 miles per hour). Apart from the fact that there are several traffic lights and pedestrian crossings on that stretch of road, clearly Mr Moses is exceeding the 30 mph speed limit along that road.
These timings can be recorded automatically by mobile phone apps or GPS products and there are large numbers of recordings being submitted – for example there are 247,000 records on the Westminster to Millbank segment of the same road.
As the writer to the Telegraph said “Many cyclists are racing, not just on roads, but on paths and tracks throughout the country every day, with complete disregard to others“. This activity is of course illegal. Cycle races of any kind have to be authorised by the police, and as pointed out above, speed limits are obviously being broken. Note also that “cycling furiously” is a criminal offence under the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act or under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and there have been past cases prosecuted under those laws.
So if you wonder why cyclists are often the source of accidents to both themselves and others, now you know. They may be competing to get into the record books!