Tory baroness, 84, uses handbag to whack cyclist who jumped a red light

    Last updated at 21:57pm on 14th January 2008

    Hurtling through the traffic, the cyclist probably thought he had got away with jumping a red light and nearly knocking over an elderly woman.

    But the pedestrian in question was 84-year-old Tory peer Baroness Sharples who perhaps inspired by Lady Thatcher, swiftly delivered her own form of retribution. The veteran peeress swung her handbag and landed a sharp blow to the cyclist as he whizzed past outside the House of Lords.

    And she said her only regret was that she didn't hit him harder.
    She added that cyclists were becoming an increasing menace to pedestrians by ignoring traffic signals such as red lights and riding on pavements.
    And she called on cycling groups to do more to encourage courteous behaviour on the roads.
    Her comments reinforced calls for laws requiring cyclists to put registration plates on their bikes.
    Lady Sharples said she had narrowly avoided being knocked down by cyclists three times in London. Describing the most recent incident, she said: "I had a bag and I swiped him. I did not hit him hard enough. They are a ruddy nuisance.

    "I know they need to get to work and a lot of them behave properly, but there are an increasing number that just don't obey the lights and it's not fair on pedestrians."
    The widowed baroness, whose first husband Sir Richard Sharples, former Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam, was assassinated while serving as Governor of Bermuda in 1973, suggested a licensing scheme for cyclists but conceded that such a law might not be workable.
    "It's up to cycling organisations - they should tell their members," she said.
    "Laws have got to be good. If they don't work they are worse than useless."
    Lady Sharples said she believed male cyclists were more likely to be a menace. "Women do, in general, stop at the lights when they see somebody crossing."
    She raised the issue in the House of Lords during a debate on road safety.
    She asked the government's transport spokesman Lord Bassam: "Can the Minister say whether I am within my rights when, at a pedestrian crossing, a cyclist rides straight at me when I have the lights in my favour?
    "I swiped one with a bag the other day. Would I be in trouble?"
    Lord Bassam replied: "I will be careful on this. I am a great admirer of the noble baroness, and I think she probably did the right thing."
    London Mayor Ken Livingstone has sought to clamp down on dangerous cyclists with police issuing £60-on-the-spot fines for riding on pavements or jumping lights.
    Tory MP Mark Pritchard urged ministers to consider a registration plate system for bikes to make it easier to identify cyclists riding dangerously. He said: "Cyclist etiquette would improve if they could no longer remain anonymous."


    I love the expression on her face in the picture!

  2. Good for her! And she said her only regret was that she didn't hit him harder. Haha, that part cracked me up. I'm glad she stood up for herself!
  3. Too right! Yesterday I saw a cyclist go into a bus lane the wrong way, then go on the pavement and back onto the road and over a red light straight into Piccadilly Circus, one of the busiest junctions in London!
  4. you know, i might get flamed for this, but i HATE HATE HATE people that ride bikes. hate. it's verrrrrry common around here (we're a small college town that also, for some reason, hosts several pro cycling teams) and they're always in the way, disobeying traffic laws, going the wrong way down one-way streets (which is an issue when pedestrians are only looking in ONE direction before they cross the street), and clogging super-narrow roads at rush hour because the streets are too narrow to pass them safely and too crowded to enter the opposite lane to do it. around here, they create a lot more traffic problems and safety hazards than just having a couple fewer cars on the roads helps.
  5. I think a lot of bicyclists just drive dangerously and I like the idea of them needing to be registered and have some sort of plate. Why NOT? If they are on the road and have to follow the same rules as a car, then they need to be held responsible for their actions too.

    I will never forget about 10 years ago I knocked a bicyclist off his bike. I think he was a courier service guy. It was rush hour, the roads were PACKED and my husband was dropping me off. We were at a stoplight and we were the first car, I looked out the mirror beside the car before opening the door, but I didn't see him. I opened my car door and he came smashing into it while trying to swerve away. He didn't get really hurt, but I felt SOOOOOO bad! But really, what could I have done differently? You don't expect to have a bicyclist to come WHIZZING by you at high speeds when you are stopped at a stoplight!

    I also worry for their own safety... I would be TERRIFIED to ride my bike in the city - too easy to get hit. I really like the cities that have created bike lanes - it solves a lot of problems.
  6. this reminds me of last year when the bikers in Athens got all in a tizzy because, when coming out of a certain parking lot on campus, cars had to pull up too far to see if anyone was coming and several bikers had hit the cars from the side and been thrown over the hoods.

    well, turns out the cars weren't pulling THAT far forward, all the cyclists that had been thrown were wizzing down the hill that meets up with the parking lot exit on the SIDEWALK in a PEDESTRIAN-HEAVY area, creating a much larger safety risk to everyone around them than a car pulling up to the edge of the road (as is normal) to turn out of a parking lot. not to mention, breaking the law.

    and if i ever saw someone on a bike actually STOP where they were supposed to at a red light instead of riding all the way to the front, i think i might die of shock.
  7. What a fabulous old gal. Bless her.
  8. Go granny!
  9. Hahha! This is hilarious and fabulous. Love it!
  10. :bagslap: That old lady is a GANGSTER!!!! Her only regret is that she didn't hit him harder? LOL!

    A good point was made about registering the cyclists, but would EVERYONE with a bicycle have to register or just bike messengers? Would that include children?
  11. I love grannies. :nuts:
  12. I'd love to see bicyclists have to get liscenses to operate their bikes on city streets. Take a test and everything drivers of vehicles have to do. Maybe if they LEARN the rules of the road, it would slow down stuff like this.

    Motorcyclists do a lot of this same "I own the road" type of stuff as well. Scares me that bike riders don't hardly even take the precaution of wearing a helmet.
  13. Good for her but blimey I'm surprised she got away with it - I'm surprised the police didn't arrest her for assault and then the cyclist sue her for unspecified injuries to his person and dignity such is the world we live in today.
  14. i totally lol'd at per picture! hahaha!
  15. Hahah, love stories like these.