Commuting cycle path law questions
Down the pub yesterday for a mid evening relaxant I was chatted to by a local cement truck driver. Knowing me to be a cyclist – bib tights at the bar are always a giveaway- he proceded to tell me about being held up by a middle-aged woman cycling up Oxford’s Woodstock road and delaying traffic whilst next to her was a cycle lane. Fair enough, I think in that situation she should be on the cycle lane. But then it gets weird…
He claims a cop car overtakes them both and stops her and the driver. He then asks the driver how long he had been stuck behind her and the told her the council had spent a fortune on the cycle path and she had to use it, She claimed she was doing nothing wrong and the cop allegedly got angry and asked her if she had a driving license, she replied yes and he said she should be careful or he’d do her for dangerous driving.
Obviously this could all be a fantasy by the trucker but a couple of questions.
Do you HAVE to use a cycleway (as opposed to it being commonsense)?
Can your driving license ever be affected by cycling offences – my coming back from the pub is certainly open to prosecution if that is the case?
I’m sure the second is bollocks but am uncertain about the first.Posted 4 years agojon1973Member
If you don’t need a licence to cycle, I don’t see how they can endorse it.
Don’t know anywhere in the highway code which says that you have to use cycles paths when available. On my way to work there is a cycle path which they never bother gritting or clearing so it’s dangerous to use when it’s icy or it’s wet and there are lots of leaves about.Posted 4 years agocynic-alMember
There was a case where a cyclist was found liable for an accident because he was on the road when the judge thought he should have been on the adjacent cycle path.
It was overturned on appeal (by the CTC IIRC.)
AFAIK the accepted law is that there is no obligation on the cyclist to use the cycle path.
That cop was clearly making it up – he can’t do her for dangerous driving when she’s riding a bike.Posted 4 years ago
As far as I’m aware, that’s all nonsense.
You don’t have to use a cycle lane just because it’s there; ie, the presence of a cycle lane does not mean you’re prohibited from using the roads. A ‘no cycling’ sign would, however. No sign, ride where you like.
If a copper told me he was going to do me for dangerous driving, I’d say “off you go then pal.” I expect that “I wasn’t driving” would be a fairly watertight defence against that charge.Posted 4 years agomaccruiskeenSubscriber
That cop was clearly making it up
or the truck driver was embellishing.
Whether the cycle path exists or even what it cost is irrelevant. You can’t really police on the basis that more convenient options exist otherwise he’d also be having a go at the truck driver for not using the bypass, built at great expense so that Cement Trucks didn’t need to get stuck behind cyclists
Can your driving license ever be affected by cycling offences
Generally no – the weird exception is ‘Going equipped to steal a car’ can result in getting your license endorsed, even if you are going equipped on foot, on roller skates or in a pram. So if you happened to be on a bike in those circumstances then your license would be endorsedPosted 4 years agospangelsaregreatMember
Licence bit is definitely rubbish. Endorsements are only relevant to driving offences. Hence why you don’t get points for going through red lights on your bike.
The bike lane bit is not totally straight forward. If the bike lane is not part of the road then there would be no compulsion to use it. You are entitled to ride on any unrestricted road.
However if it is part of the road you could consider her for careless cycling. As in her riding could be without due consideration for other road users. This would be in the same way a slow driver on a single track road can be reported for careless driving if they don’t pull over to let faster vehicles pass.
Not using the cycle lane would be part of the scenario but the main thing would be has she positioned herself such that no one can get past. This would be balanced by her own perception of whether she did it for a genuine reason. Cycle lane had broken glass in it, it was too dangerous for other vehicles too pass etc.
RegardsPosted 4 years agoconvertSubscriber
Slight thread hijack…..
Anyone know of law/case history/guidance about cycling speeds on a cycle path?
There is a bit of road I use from time to time with a mixed use cycle and footpath running alongside it. At 20mph on the road you are defiantly impeding traffic progress (a mile and a bit long dead straight bit of 40mph road which is very busy both ways – the only way to overtake a bike is to wait for a gap in the traffic the other way which will rarely come during daylight hours) and as Scotroutes mentions above it might be polite to move to the cycle path even if not ‘the law’. But on that mixed use path 20mph might be considered reckless when flying past bus shelters and pedestrians and the like (its not got a walking and a biking lane – just a free for all). Me slowing down to a reasonable speed for that cycle path would see only me inconvenienced rather than a load more other people but not ideal for me. I guess it depends how ‘entitled’ you feel – cycling militants would probably say cycle where is most convenient and sod everyone else but then again cycle militants tend not to have many friends!Posted 4 years ago
Convert – not specifically for cycle paths, but you can read about Rhiannon Bennett, Peter Messon or Darren Hall for cases where pedestrians have been killed by cyclists. While there is obviously a difference in that cyclists are allowed on the cycle path, I would suggest that it’s the manner of the cycling that is the issue, rather than the presence on the pavement, although being where you shouldn’t, or where pedestrians aren’t expecting you, is a factor.Posted 4 years agodrlexMember
As to the OP’s second Q about cycling offences and driving, I’d say technically “yes”, but you’d be very unlucky or have really mucked up big time. According to Bike Hub’s page on Cycling and the Law, cyclists caught riding while intoxicated can be fined up to £2,500 and while that cyclists found guilty of such an offence do not have their licences endorsed, under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, “the courts have the power to disqualify a cyclist from driving a car for any offence.”
Relevant section:”The court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence committed after 31st December 1997 may, instead of or in addition to dealing with him in any other way, order him to be disqualified, for such period as it thinks fit, for holding or obtaining a driving licence.”Posted 4 years agoIanMunroMember
I guess it depends how ‘entitled’ you feel – cycling militants would probably say cycle where is most convenient and sod everyone else but then again cycle militants tend not to have many friends
Tricky though isn’t it. As a society we seem to take driving a large box with a single occupant taking up the whole lane as an acceptable entitlement, and anything that reduces the movement of these things as an unacceptable entitlement.Posted 4 years agobrooessMember
John Franklin in Cyclecraft, the basis of the national standard Bikeability training is of the general view that most cyclepaths are not fit for purpose and sometimes put the cyclist in more harm – and you’re better off riding properly in the road.
There’s no legal compulsion to use a cycle path. Drivers need to be aware of this…Posted 4 years agoninfanMember
Tricky though isn’t it. As a society we seem to take driving a large box with a single occupant taking up the whole lane as an acceptable entitlement, and anything that reduces the movement of these things as an unacceptable entitlement.
Hmm, I’d say that as a society we’ve been more than happy to create an offence of obstructing the highway since long before cars – whether we’re talking about s28 of the Town Police Clauses act 1847:
who does not, in meeting any other carriage, keep his waggon, cart, or carriage to the left or near side, or who in passing any other carriage does not keep his waggon, cart, or carriage on the right or off side of the road (except in cases of actual necessity, or some sufficient reason for deviation) or who, by obstructing the street, wilfully prevents any person or carriage from passing him, or any waggon, cart, or carriage under his care:
or, currently – Highways act 1980
137(1) An offence is committed if a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway.Posted 4 years agopdwMember
The cycle path in question used to be part of my commute, and it’s an absolute menace. The surface is appalling, it crosses countless driveways, including several busy ones, a handful of side roads (including one where the kerb hasn’t been dropped properly), and requires you to give way to a tree.
It obviously safer, not to mention faster and more comfortable to stay on the road. Unfortunately, because the council have squeezed in a bus lane, the traffic lane is very narrow and is up hill, so if you stay on the road, you’re like to delay some traffic’s progress towards the queue at the Wolvercote Roundabout.
Given a choice between a dangerous cycle path, and grief for not using it, I quite often added 1/2 a mile to my journey to avoid it completely. Cycling provision at its finest…Posted 4 years ago
An offence is committed if a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway.
If you’re cycling, you’re not obstructing the highway, you’re slowing it down a bit.
Useful to know when there’s a halfwit stood in the road waving his arms about so that his mate can reverse his van out at glacial speeds, though.Posted 4 years ago
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