Police threaten 4-year-old caught riding on the pavement

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In a classic example of ‘elf and safety gone mad, police in Grantham have threatened to confiscate a 4-year-old’s bike (with stabilisers attached) after she was caught riding it on the pavement.

Is schralping the gnar the only option for kids these days?

Cycling on the pavement is, of course, a criminal offence, which can carry an on-the-spot fine. (This is not the same as cycling on a footpath, which is a civil offence.) But, as pointed out by a CTC spokesperson in the BBC report, a child under ten years of age is “below the age of criminal responsibility”.

The action goes against advice issued by the Home Office in 1999:

“…the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so.” – Paul Boateng MP

This advice was reiterated last year by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (and Minister for Cycling) Robert Goodwill, and supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which emphasised “the importance of police discretion in taking a reasonable and proportionate approach, with safety being a guiding principle” when it comes to cycling on the pavement.

We’ve a fair number of parents among our readership and obviously there’s already a forum thread on the topic – in fact there are two. And, because our forum users are (mostly) lovely, they’ve been quick to give the offending officer the benefit of the doubt:  policebox…as well as offering him some handy advice for the future:


Let’s hope he makes it to the forum to read your advice for himself, eh? 😉

Comments (13)

    just on my lunch, saw a copper on a mountain bike riding on the pavement……

    Did you get a picture, mrback? 😉

    The police also ride on the pavement around Coventry too.
    I thought it was accepted that sensible cycling on the pavement was tolerated these days, obviously not in some areas.

    ANYONE can ride on the pavement, as long as they do so in a considerate and responsible fashion.
    Let’s keep it that way, huh?

    was the Policeman wearing his helmet? Saw this on the news – I notice they had mentioned that the 4 year old now has an irrational fear of people in high vis tops! We have a cycle path – newly built – which you can’t access or exit without riding on the payment – another quality local council scheme spending national money – methinks they will be enforcing it heavily at either end doling out tickets left right and centre

    STW think I’m lovely 🙂

    Lincolnshire police, the muppet constabulary, running away from real crime, tackling non-issues as usual.

    Marvellous clickbait, but in reality the story is of course unsubstantiated codswallop

    @ greatape behind your back they call you a pleb 😉

    saw a policeman cycling on the pavement up from earnshaws in Huddersfield forcing everyone else to jump off the pavement and into the line of traffic as he wobbled about everywhere.

    JY – should have known 🙁

    STW think I provide handy advice 😯

    The police did not threaten the girl, as stated by your headline. The police are not mad or unreasonable, but the context of the warning is not explained; we don’t know why the officer decided to act. Frankly, I’m more offended by the terrible journalism.

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