Could cycling be ok on a footpath?

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  • Could cycling be ok on a footpath?
  • timba
    Member

    Saw this article, legal argument that cycling could be ok on a footpath
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/article/campaigns-guide/cycling-on-footpath-trespass

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    Ride wherever you like but don’t ride like a dick – there you go, my #1 rule in a nutshell.

    tomkerton
    Member

    Soma funk has it right.

    yossarian
    Member

    Ride with respect wherever you like.

    ricky1
    Member

    Yes ride with respect anywhere you like,who’s there to police it anyway?

    cynic-al
    Member

    Trouble is differing concepts of respect

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Ride wherever you like but don’t ride like a dick

    That’s basically the Scottish outdoor access code in a nutshell .

    Basil
    Member

    Where I live, if I did not ride on foot paths I may as well buy a road bike.
    As above I give way, stop and let walkers by. Occasional problem but I use the standard STW response!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    What is a “foot” path?

    ricky1
    Member

    Does anyone know a “freeman”?

    ricky1
    Member

    Interesting people basil……

    scuzz
    Member

    There is no logical basis for believing that the right of access to a footpath should be limited to access on foot.

    There is no logical basis for believing

    🙁

    ninfan
    Member

    Jebus – thats hardly a radical thought, I recall discussions on the intricacies of applicability of the reasonableness argument in DPP vs jones on here at least four years ago:

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/row-question-is-pushing-or-carrying-your-bike-on-a-footpath-legal/page/3

    I’m happy that you could easily push the Jones argument for wheeling a bicycle on a footpath, however I’m confident that you’d be pushing it too far by claiming that riding a bicycle on one was a reasonable use re. Jones – and I’d suggest that it couldn’t be supported if ever taken to a Pepper V Hart discussion on the basis of the the parliamentary sessions http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1968/jun/24/new-clause-d

    Frankly, I’m disappointed that he’s both given the history and gone on to discuss the nuisance test without a single reference to R V Mathias (1861) which would interpret nuisance through the tests of reasonable accompaniment, size and weight, and injury to the soil – but then only a real geek would know where to find such an obscure judgement – ahem: http://www.commonlii.org/int/cases/EngR/1861/97.pdf

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    Has anyone been prosecuted for trespass for cycling on a footpath?

    The bridleways round here are gradually being “improved”, meaning sanitised with tarmac and gravel. This is forcing more MTBers onto footpaths. I’ve never had a complaint from a walker. They all seem happy to share the paths. “Don’t ride like a d!ck” is, indeed, the best advice.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Good to see the issue being knocked about in the CTC, but not a great article IMHO – seems to infer that a good solid test case could put this to bed in our favour, which is miles away from reality.

    Has anyone been prosecuted for trespass for cycling on a footpath?

    I don’t know but I doubt it. It’s difficult to conceive of a real-life case where a passing cyclist could be held to legal account.

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    Has anyone been prosecuted for trespass for cycling on a footpath?

    no, because it’s not a criminal act – it’s a civil matter and the landowner would have to take you through the civil courts. It just doesn’t happen.
    Which makes us question – why does anyone take any notice at all of the “no bikes on footpaths” lie?
    We should have the right to ride wherever there is a public right of way,subject to the One Rule quoted above, without feeling guilty about it.

    dannyh
    Member

    Yep I’m another one voting for ‘ride where you like (assuming there is some right of way) but don’t ride like a dick’.

    Note that this applies to bridleways as well, where we are ‘allowed’ to ride. Slow down for horses, walkers and other users, be cheerful and say ‘hello’. Being reasonable generally brings out the best in others. There’ll always be someone with an axe to grind, but that’s their problem, they are probably just angry in general.

    no, because it’s not a criminal act

    Criminal Justice Act 1994. Legislation introduced to give the police the power to shut down illegal raves on private land, but could just as easily apply to any person being on private land without permission. In practice, and for obvious reasons, prosecutions are rare.

    jekkyl
    Member

    All the stiles make it a pita.

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    This is from CTC’s policy on riding on footpaths. {Perhaps we should all refer our MPs to it and garner their views?

    CTC believes that it is acceptable for cyclists to use footpaths, provided they do so in a manner which respects the safety of other road users and their peaceful enjoyment of the outdoors, and with regard for the environment and its ecology. These are the circumstances in which CTC believes it is acceptable for cyclists to ride on footpaths:
    Where the surface and width of the path make it eminently suitable for safe cycling without causing disturbance or risk to pedestrians; or
    Where the path is lightly used, such that the likelihood of disturbance or risk to pedestrians is minimal; or
    Where a path is unlikely to attract such high levels of cycling that it will cause environmental damage (notably erosion); or
    Where there is a reasonable belief that the footpath in question might already carry higher rights – for example:
    where there is historic evidence (e.g. through enclosure award maps) demonstrating past use either by horses or by vehicles
    where the path is shown on OS maps as an ‘Other Road with Public Access’ (ORPA), indicating an assumption that higher rights may exist;
    where there is regular use by equestrians, motor vehicles and/or by other cyclists.
    Where the relevant landowner is a public body or a charity and/or accepts or appears to accept use of the path by cyclists.

    butcher
    Member

    I use footpaths all the time. Even on the road bike sometimes 😳

    Where I live I can ride on them all day and barely see see anyone.

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    Criminal Justice Act 1994. Legislation introduced to give the police the power to shut down illegal raves on private land, but could just as easily apply to any person being on private land without permission. In practice, and for obvious reasons, prosecutions are rare.

    Not applicable to bicycles on footpath: you have to be tresspassing “with others” and with the intent to reside on the land or hold a rave:
    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn05116.pdf?

    sbob
    Member

    ricky1 – Member

    Interesting people basil……

    You spelled “massive bellends” incorrectly.

    To be perfectly honest, and to take somafunk’s post a step further, you could replace almost all laws with one: don’t take the piss.

    During the most boring work experience ever (two weeks at St Edmundsbury council legal department) it was explained to me that the term “footpath” refers to paved foot paths i.e. the pavement. Hence the bit in the legal text about other road users. So cyclists are not allowed to ride on the pavement i.e. foot path. (The road is also referred to as pavement as has been paved).

    Out in the sticks footpaths don’t have any paving. So they don’t count as “footpaths” under the law. Which is why no one has been prosecuted for riding on a “footpath” in the country. The rules are different for horse riding as this was a common activity when the rules where originally drawn up.

    Now this was nearly 20 years ago, but I’m not aware of any change in the law. Or anyone being prosecuted for riding on a “footpath”. As opposed to riding on the pavement where lots of people have been fined.

    In short I do as Somafunk suggests.

    All the bridleways round here have been churned up by horses. You’re better off riding on footpaths.

    Trimix
    Member

    Just leave the law as it is.

    Start making a fuss and it will end in tears.

    I think I’ve asked this before, but not got an answer.

    As I understand it, CTC membership includes third part insurance, so if I’m riding my bike on the road and I crash in to a car and damage it and it is proved to be my fault, then CTC’s insurers will pay for the damage.

    What if I’m riding on a footpath though, a proper footpath across a field, not a pavement alongside a road, and I run someone over and injure them and they claim damages. Would the CTC insurance cover that ?

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    I think that’s precisely the point of third party insurance Graham, it protects other people in the event of your negligence. So if I was drunk driving and crashed, the third party aspect of my insurance would pay for any damage I’d caused to other people’s property, but my insurers almost certainly wouldn’t pay for MY damage or injury.

    I shall do battle with PDNP wardens today and see where this argument gets me on a busy sunny Saturday 😆

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Has anyone been prosecuted for trespass for cycling on a footpath?

    I can remember a prosecution of a couple of local cyclists for riding, I think, on Kinder around ten or more years back, but I think it was under a Peak District National Park bylaw that specifically forbids cycling on footpaths and open country rather than as a ‘trespass’.

    I can’t find any trace of it using google, but it made the local press at the time and the PDNPA generally now seems anxious to promote cycling rather than prosecute mountain bikers.

    Oddly I quite like the rights of way system as it stands, it stops magazines and guide book writers from promoting riding on local footpath routes and prevents them getting trashed, but if you do want to ride them, using a bit of discretion, politeness and common sense – small groups, sympathy for ground conditions etc – no-one seems that bothered bar the odd dirty look from grumpy old ramblers.

    There’s a sort of myth that somehow rights of way designation has something to do with suitability for use. It doesn’t. There are footpaths that are paved – big swathes of the Pennine Way round here – and basically indestructible, but technically not suitable for bikes and equally bridleways on boggy peat that are very vulnerable to erosion over winter, but totally legal for bikes.

    But on balance, I’d rather just leave the whole can of worms alone.

    woody200, that’s sort of what I was getting at.
    I’ve heard the warnings that if you drive a car without an MOT it invalidates your insurance, so I wondered if riding on a footpath, if it was proved to be illegal, would invalidate your CTC insurance.

    Greybeard
    Member

    woodlikesbeer wrote:

    was explained to me that the term “footpath” refers to paved foot paths i.e. the pavement.

    Agree with your post except the word is “footway” (as opposed to “carriageway”). Thus avoiding having 2 types of “footpath”.

    wrote:

    if you drive a car without an MOT it invalidates your insurance

    I think that’s because it says in the insurance policy that the car must be roadworthy, ie, MoT’d. If the CTC policy says it’s only valid when riding on roads and bridleways, you would be right, but I would be surprised because that would contradict CTC’s policy as posted above.

    rayyoung
    Member

    I now live in Scotland so don’t have this problem but I firmly believe that open access should be available to all in England and Wales. When I did live in England I never used footpaths because it is illegal. Just because a walker doesn’t seem bothered by your presence doesn’t mean he will then not go and complain to the council or the ramblers association. Even if you don’t come across walkers doesn’t mean you haven’t been seen and tyre tracks can sometimes be visible for weeks after you have passed. If enough people starts riding on footpaths then I gaurentee the ramblers association will start shouting about it and want you banned altogether. Lastly, how would you feel if 4×4 vehicles and trail bikes started to illegally use bridleways, don’t think you would be too happy about that would you.

    What a load of twaddle. We’re already “banned altogether”. So long as it’s not damaging to wildlife, I’ll ride wherever I please, in a sensible manner.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Here’s an alternative view: if walkers get used to meeting polite, friendly, responsible mountain bikers on trails of all types, they will accept us as fellow trail users, which is my experience on my local trails.

    The whole ‘walkers hate us’ thing gets dragged out repeatedly on here, but I’ve yet to see any concrete evidence of that being the case bar the odd grumpy individual who basically hates everyone and anyone. Show me some concrete evidence and I might start to believe you.

    rayyoung
    Member

    I wouldn’t call access to 1/3 of all rights of way in England and Wales being banned altogether. You want legal access then start fighting for it.

    I really don’t want legal access. As above, I already have full access and don’t care a stuff for the legalities of it. No need for a fight.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t call access to 1/3 of all rights of way in England and Wales being banned altogether. You want legal access then start fighting for it.

    If the Kinder Trespassers had thought like you – ‘When I did live in England I never used footpaths because it is illegal. Just because a walker doesn’t seem bothered by your presence doesn’t mean he will then not go and complain to the council or the ramblers association.’ – we’d have bugger all access.

    Not trying to pick a fight, just seems oddly contradictory and, like user-removed above, I don’t want a change to the RoW system. I like it just as it is.

    ninfan
    Member

    Of course the big discussion that we all avoid is that if we, as a bunch, got organised, there’s plenty of footpaths and common land that we’ve all been riding without a problem for twenty years now that we could apply to be upgraded and secured in perpetuity

    But of course, organising mountain bikers is like herding cats!

    But really, why bother? I don’t know of a single person (other than the unverified tale on page one) who’s been arrested for cycling somewhere they shouldn’t. I’ve been kicked off a private estate whilst walking (map reading fail) but still wasn’t arrested.

    Just can’t see the need for it.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    The Duke of Westminster and someone who owns the Duchy of Lancaster have game keepers that turn anyone back – walkers runners cyclists and horse riders if it is nesting season or shooting season on most of the Trough of Bowl and.
    I’m impressed with the CTCs attitude and the general consensus of anywhere with respect. Perhaps we should get one of those Parliamentary petitions and see if we can get enough signatures to get it debated?

    tomaso, is that on Public Rights Of Way or Open Access Land ?

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