We are deeply concerned to have heard from members about another spate of violent attacks on people cycling in London and the South East in recent weeks, including this past weekend. In response our Policy Manager, Nick Chamberlin, has pulled together the update below for members and concerned cyclists in the region, including our work to tackle the issue.
Last year there was a wave of publicity about criminal gangs using mopeds, scooters and motorcycles to target lone cyclists in Richmond Park in London. After we raised the issue with colleagues in Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police, swift action was taken to tackle the issue and bring the thieves to justice.
Over recent weeks, it appears that there has been a wave of similar attacks on people across the south and east of London, and close to the Surrey and Kent borders. Areas of particular concern are Beddlestead Lane between Addington and Limpsfield and various more urban roads around Orpington, but incidents have been reported in other areas of London too.
It primarily seems to be lone recreational road cyclists that are being targeted, with mopeds and electric scooters increasingly used knock the cyclist off their bike.
Our advice for clubs and members
We have heard from lots of clubs and individuals who are rightly very concerned about going out for a ride. It is extremely hard to discuss these sorts of issues without causing panic and the last thing any of us would wish is to deter people from cycling this summer through a fear of being attacked.
The sad reality however is that when these spikes in violent crime occur, and while we try to understand the pattern of incidents better, it is prudent for individuals, clubs and groups to discuss these concerns together and think carefully about the rides they have planned.
As with the incidents that occurred in Richmond Park last year, we know that by working together as a cycling community to quickly pass relevant information to the police we can support them to quickly and effectively tackle the issue.
Therefore, if any incident of this sort (including threatening behaviour that stops short of a crime being committed) occurs to you, your club or group, please report it to the British Cycling incident helpline after first informing the police so that we can better understand the scale of the problem.
It is unclear to what extent, if any, the role of online training and tracking apps have played a part in these crimes or whether it is rather specific locations that are popular with local riders that are being targeted. However, we would encourage everyone to be mindful of their privacy settings on all electronic devices.
What British Cycling is doing
Since being alerted to this latest spate of incidents we have raised the issue once more with the relevant police forces and Transport for London to highlight known flashpoints and urge them to take swift action to protect and reassure local riders.
With the data available to them police forces across the country are now better equipped to respond to such incidents, and we continue to share information we receive from members to support the response process. We will also use this information to ensure that our members are kept abreast of spikes in cases through updates like this.
Colleagues working in the region will be contacting clubs to arrange a further discussion about mitigation measure that we can consider. This conversation will aim to ensure that as many people as possible across the local cycling communities are aware of the danger.
This issue also again highlights the importance adequately resourcing road policing to keep people on bikes safe – something which we have campaigned on over a number of years, and will continue to do so.
For any other questions relating to this issue, please continue to use firstname.lastname@example.org.