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.
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: …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? 😉