A CYCLIST who used the M65 hard shoulder as a shortcut home from work has been slammed by safety campaigners and politicians.

Police came across the 25-year-old man riding along the hard shoulder of the westbound carriageway between junction five and six.

His actions have been branded "extremely dangerous" and he has also been criticised for putting the lives of other road users at risk.

Police said the man was using the motorway to travel home from work in Accrington to Blackburn.

The man was not arrested but fined and warned about his "reckless" behaviour.

Nobody was injured in the incident but safety campaigners warned it could have easily resulted in a fatality.

Hyndburn council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: "You wonder where the common sense is.

"Cycling you may just be doing 10, 15 or 20 miles per hour but anyone who has ever broken down on the hard shoulder will have seen exactly how fast vehicles on the carriageways are going.

"Fortunately nobody was injured in this instance but if there had been a crash it could have resulted in a multi-vehicle pile up and a number of fatalities.

"He could have also prevented a motorist needing to use the hard shoulder in an emergency from doing so."

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: "This is a reckless act that not only endangered his life but the lives of other road users. I am just glad to hear nobody was injured.”

Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for RoSPA, said: "Cyclists, pedestrians and motorbikes under 50cc are not allowed on the motorway – and this includes the hard shoulder – for good reason.

"By cycling on the hard shoulder the rider was placing his life in extreme danger. If a collision were to occur it would result in almost certain death. The rider is also by his action putting other motorists’ lives at risk as it would act as a major distraction.”

A police spokesperson said: "Road policing officers came across a pedal cyclist riding along the westbound carriageway of the M65 close to the junction exit at around 1.55pm on Sunday.

"A 25-year-old man had been riding home from work in Accrington to his home in Blackburn and decided to use the motorway.

"He was picked up by officers and given a fixed penalty notice, as well as a severe warning about his behaviour.

"This could have been extremely dangerous for both the cyclist and other motorists and thankfully no one was hurt.”

Lancs Road Police Tweeted: "For those not sure, pedal cyclists are not permitted to cycle down the hard shoulder. This rider was taken off the M65 and given a fine."