Has anyone ever ‘been done’ for riding a cheeky trail?

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  • Has anyone ever ‘been done’ for riding a cheeky trail?
  • Not even been frowned at but usually late and subtle about it thanks to our “leader”.

    tim41
    Member

    Don’t think you can be prosecuted, as it’s a civil, not criminal ‘offence’. You can only be asked to leave, and at worst be sued for ‘damages’ to the path, whatever that would be worth.

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    AFAIK – riding on a footpath would constitute trespass, which is a civil offence and not prosecutable as such, but you could be fined.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Been told off a few times by walkers but very rarely. No-one has ever mentioned getting the police involved or suing.

    Yes but how on earth is someone going to give a to fine to a cyclist who is not willing to hang around and give his/her details?

    coffeeking
    Member

    Not sure it could be trespass, I was under the impression (and I’m no lawyer) that you had to cause damage in order for it to be trespassing?

    Edit – a quick search online says its only criminal if its aggrivated, otherwise its civil.

    uplink
    Member

    Some local by-laws may well make it an offence

    retro83
    Member

    anyone got a link to the actual law on this? (not somebody elses interpretation of it)

    I was told off very thoroughly by the STW massive for posting pics of us riding on Stanage Edge, and was reported to the National Park Authority by an outraged biker, but nothing came of it (there is a byelaw with a fine of up to £500).

    Another time I got a stiff letter from The Lakes PA, implying that they might take out an injunction against the club chairman to prevent him using the FP past Beacon Tarn:
    ,
    but I think that would have been very expensive for them

    which is a civil offence and not prosecutable as such, but you could be fined.

    no, you could be sued for any damage you were proved to have caused. It’s called a tort

    From what I understand a bicycle causes about 20p/mile of trail damage.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Coffeeking – it’s trespass, but if someone was suing you for trespass they would have to establish the damage you had caused.

    If this is a variant on the SFB style argument of “I can ride where I like ‘cos what can they do about it?” then consider this. You won’t be carted off and arrested. However access to cheeky trails can be closed off at any time. Round my way land managers block trails using stiles and fences, branches or even cut down trees. Vindictive nutters also take matters into their own hands and leave logs across the trail for you to ride into. So no, you aren’t going to get arrested, but there may be other things to think about.

    Premier Icon dave360
    Subscriber

    so no then

    z1ppy
    Member

    IIRC you can only be asked to leave private land (or footpath) by the land owner or his agent (going by the quickest way), if you are accussed of causing damage to the path, offer ‘there and then’ to pay compensation (£1 each?).
    If you are taken to court, you have offered reasonable compensation for any damage you ‘might’ have caused.

    If anyone other than the land owner or his agent approaches you, you can tell em to f*ck off.

    If this is a variant on the SFB style argument of “I can ride where I like ‘cos what can they do about it?”

    It’s more a matter of the meaning of land ‘ownership’, which confers the limited right to exploit the argricultural resources of the land but does not exclude the passage of others. In the absence of a right of way you may be liable to make good damage you cause on private land. It’s still our country though.

    GaryLake
    Member

    This is pretty lazy I know but has anyone got any links to info on what you can and can’t ride? I’ve just moved out into the country a bit more and am looking for some ‘from the doorstep’ riding…

    It’s more a matter of the meaning of land ‘ownership’, which confers the limited right to exploit the argricultural resources of the land but does not exclude the passage of others

    Very very well put.

    djglover
    Member

    A rambler once shouted at me, “Hey you, its illegall to cycle on the footpath”.

    Shouting back – “Thats nothing, I murdered someone here last week”, seemed to shut them up.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    It’s still our country though.

    It’s not though is it? If you ripped out a fence or barrier that was stopping you from riding, it would be trespass and criminal damage.

    Gary, have a look here for the “official” rules

    http://www.imba.org.uk/WhereToRide/RulesOfTheTrail.html

    And here for the unofficial

    http://www.cheekytrails.co.uk/

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    You can be arrested for building a trail without permission too.

    http://www.timesandstar.co.uk/1.58271

    Obviously, the law is an ass and it’s ridiculous to arrest people for doing something that’s harmless (and even beneficial) to society. But the idea that land managers are powerless is a bit misleading – it might be true in SFB’s experience but not for most people.

    RudeBoy
    Member

    I’m with Barnes on this. We suffer from some of the most restrictive access to the countryside, in Yerp. Possibly the World. In other countries, such as Norway, you can ride a bike more or less anywhere, bar cultivated fields, areas with livestock with young, and within a certain distance of anyone’s home. Anything else is more or less fair game.

    They don’t have a significant problem with damage caused by bikers (granted, less people), and they see restricting access as bizarre. Many other nations have similar, and their trails and footpaths aren’t being ripped apart by cyclists.

    How much damage does cycling really do anyway? I’ve seen landrover/tractor tracks in rural areas, that proper gouge the earth out. But that’s considered necessary. Ok, but I can’t see as how mountain bikes cause much more erosion than rugged soled walking boots.

    That pic above; what **** harm would bikes actually do?

    I’ll ride wherever I feel it’s suitable to. As SFB says, ‘it’s our country’.

    If you ripped out a fence or barrier that was stopping you from riding, it would be trespass and criminal damage.

    I’ve never felt any need to do this. We did once break a fence on the Ribble, but it was completely rotten. Usually we just climb over stuff.

    We’ve all done it (some more than others) but has anyone ever be prosecuted for riding on a footpath? What would have to happen? Would the landowner have to physically restrain the cyclist while calling the police?… surely not?

    RudeBoy
    Member

    A rambler once shouted at me, “Hey you, its illegall to cycle on the footpath”.

    Shouting back – “Thats nothing, I murdered someone here last week”, seemed to shut them up.

    LOL! Nice one!

    ‘You shoon’t be riding here’

    ‘You shoon’t be so ugly’.

    BruceWee
    Member

    Not really the same thing but someone did threaten to call the police for people washing their bikes in the river after a race at Inners.

    tomlevell
    Member

    I’m with Barnes on this. We suffer from some of the most restrictive access to the countryside, in Yerp. Possibly the World

    See the USA and New Zealand among others for why that is very far from the truth. Flip side is our right to ride Bridleways and upwards is enshrined in law. Footpath riding isn’t and if you have an ounce of common sense you know where and when to avoid certain paths.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    We suffer from some of the most restrictive access to the countryside, in Yerp

    We’re a much more densely populated country than most of Europe, with a wet climate, more user conflict, and a prevailing view that the countryside is somehow too precious to jeopardise by letting people explore it in the manner they see fit. You’ve put across a point of view, but one which is not shared by most of the people who determine access rights in the UK.

    RudeBoy
    Member

    So you’ve mentioned just two countries…

    Of course footpath riding requires common sense. But I’ll be the judge of that, not someone in an office, or some miserable bugger with red socks,

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    if you have an ounce of common sense you know where and when to avoid certain paths.

    Exactly. I avoid certain BWs/RUPPs at peak times never mind FPs but that’s just cos round here (Peak district) is has a tendency to get very crowded sometimes and, no matter the legality of it, it can ruin a nice fast descent if there’s hundreds of walkers all over it.
    On the other hand, mid-week or when everything is bone dry or frozen solid and I’m not going to cause any obvious sign then pretty much anything is fair game!

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I’ll be the judge of that, not someone in an office

    What makes you more qualified to judge the environmental impact of your riding then? The fact that you work from home? 🙄

    higgo
    Member

    I’ve heard (but have no evidence) of a group of riders being ‘done’ in the Dark Peak, where there is a byelaw. Something about encountering rangers on a footpath and either telling them where they were parked or it being pretty obvious and then getting nabbed in the car park. Dunno in what way they were ‘done’ though.

    All very vague obviously.

    RudeBoy
    Member

    Well, where’s the evidence that mountain biking is causing serious widespread damage to the environment, then? Compared to that caused by cars and industry? Eh?

    I agree that there is a need for people to use trails responsibly. But some of the restrictions are just bloody ridiculous.

    If people can walk in an area, as long as there’s space for cyclists, what’s the big problem?

    but one which is not shared by most of the people who determine access rights in the UK

    you’re missing the point that ‘access rights’ only determine where you may go without liability for damage to the land surface. Common law allows you to go anywhere you’re not specifically excluded, like motorways and places where you have to break something to enter, provided you have no criminal intent.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    One of the very few times I’ve come into conflict with a group of walkers was on a bridleway. Most folk either don’t know, or don’t care what the rules are about where we should actually be.

    Now, I ride pretty much where I want to, but even then I’m self policing: Not in big groups, rarely at peak times near obvious honey-spots. Just needs a little thought really.

    As an aside, I did run into a Warden at the bottom of a FP descent that I did one evening. We had a “discussion” that went along the lines of “Look I know it’s a great piece of singletrack, just don’t take the piss, OK?”

    Which struck me as about the right attitude, TBH

    In answer to the original post, never been “done” but in answer to the question

    Would the landowner have to physically restrain the cyclist while calling the police?

    I have had one interesting encounter about a decade (if not a bit more) ago pushing along a footpath between two bridleways. Basically about 3 of us were out in the snow, and as one of the group didn’t want to continue we decided, instead of retracing our route to go back we used a couple of km of footpath to link together 2 bridleways. About halfway we were confronted by one of the local gamekeepers. We claimed we had “had a mechanical” and needed to get back asap. Anyway, he wasn’t having any of it and told us he was getting the police, and we had to go with him (although in a more ‘threatening’ manner). We pointed out that the nearest police was at least 45 minutes away, and in the snow he had no chance of getting them out. He then tried to make us tell him where we were parked, claiming he would go and wait there (with the implicit suggestion that he had something in mind for when we turned up). Obviously we laughed at this (anyway, none of us had parked anyway, we were all local so hadn’t driven and he hadn’t recognised us). Clearly he was just trying to intimidate us. However, the guy has since been investigated for threatening with an offensive weapon (shotgun) or somesuch offence with regard to a disagreement with a horserider, though nothing came of it as there was no proof (the guy has a reputation as a bit of a psychopath locally, unlike his other colleagues).

    However… I couldn’t agree more with tomlevell and MrAgreeable.

    Regardless of “the law” and what you think of it, your actions will impact on other people. For example, if I lived at the bottom of Stanage and tried to maintain good relations with local landowners, authorities and various others only for a group to come in and ride a route which is extremely visible and likely to engage some form of conflict I would be rightly pissed off. Even if someone isn’t tapping you on the shoulder to complain, doesn’t mean that people don’t form negative impressions on entire user groups based on the actions of a minority. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.

    Great, if you ride in a differing area every week, ride where you want, sod the consequences and leave everyone else who don’t have this oportunity to deal with any negative impacts you might have caused. If you like, top it off with some faux-intellectual posturing on an internet forum as justification.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    your actions will impact on other people.

    I think the point that SFB (and others) have made about this, is that it’s not actually true is it?

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    Rudeboy, I hope you’re not trying to deny that mountain biking has an evironmental impact, because that would be ridiculous. It does, as does all human activity, and in certain conditions it can be the most noticeable form of damage to the landscape. Whether it causes more than other forms of use is difficult to say as it depends on so many factors, but over time even the most benign use will have a noticeable impact.

    Aside from erosion, there can be problems with user conflict (which is pretty much inevitable when walkers and bikers share a route – it’s no good telling them “a miss is as good as a mile”), overall volume of use, disturbance to wildlife, damage to habitats, landowner liability (bearing in mind that landowners can’t choose who sues them) and more.

    You probably don’t have to worry about any of this though, because after riding a footpath you can bugger off back to London, to your rented flat…

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    A colleague of mine was stopped a few years ago by the police for riding on the footpath. They confiscated his drivers licence and ordered him to appear at the police station to pay a small fine (£30 IIRC).

    In his own words he was flying, but that the footpath was wide and empty, but he is short fat and unfit. Apparently the police were very patronizing (no surprises there) and told him he was lucky they didn’t arrest him reckless endangerment but they would give him a speeding ticket instead as he was going over 30mph in a 30mph zone,despite not being on the road. Quite amazing really when you consider he was on a coiler with 2.5 super tacky tires on a flat piece of road but I suppose you can’t argue with the lazer beam eyes of a police man.

    This was in NI by the way and I’m convinced the police here just make things up as they go along.

    I’ve ridden where I wasnt supposed to on countless occasions, had numerous arguments with rangers, walkers, horseists etc and never really stopped or been swayed from my path. If I ever see a police helicopter chasing after me, I’ll know the game is up.

    What makes you more qualified to judge the environmental impact of your riding then?

    I think this is more about territoriality than the environment. In 2007 I got told off by Fizzer for posting a new route on Longridge, which he said would be ruined by the ignorant masses. Well, some of it HAS been ruined, by vandals chopping down acres of trees and destroying the lovely forest – probably these same ‘land managers’ mentioned above 🙁

    I AM qualified to observe that bikes cause about the same amount of environmental damage as boots.

    top it off with some faux-intellectual posturing on an internet forum as justification

    I don’t think I need to justify complying with the Common Law. We ride our bikes in the countryside, it’s no big deal, and most of the time no one even notices.

    As for Stanage I’d be interested to hear what effect (if any) our ride there had, beyond causing a minor storm in an internet thimble ?

    Keva
    Member

    been moaned at a few times but that’s about it. I ride pretty much where I like and don’t any notice of what anyone else has to say about it.

    Kev

    RudeBoy – Member
    So you’ve mentioned just two countries…

    That’d be double the number you did… 😉
    In any case Allmannsretten (sp? not too hot my Norsk) doesn’t neccesitate the same access rights for cyclists as other users (hikers, skiiers…).

    Premier Icon 40mpg
    Subscriber

    There are byelaws on a lot of open access private land and national parks whereby you can be fined for riding on footpaths, the New Forest is one. I’ve not heard of any cyclists being caught, but a kite boarder was fined £300 bacause his kite was over the 6ft (IIRC) max size allowed.

    I’m not sure who can enforce the fine though – whether the Forestry Commission could, or if it has to be police.

    Anyway, if youre on a bike and off-road, its going to be pretty difficult for them to catch you.

    I have been given a talking-to by the FC a couple of times, but on other occasions we’ve been spotted they say Hi or want to talk bikes 🙂

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I AM qualified to observe that bikes cause about the same amount of environmental damage as boots.

    That might be true for where you ride.

    vandals chopping down acres of trees and destroying the lovely forest

    That would be the right to exploit the land agriculturally which you mentioned above? If you object to that sort of thing, perhaps you should club together with some mates and buy a piece of moorland, which can then be managed in the way you see fit? Or maybe think of some other way to give the land owner a financial return?

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator
    Subscriber

    In terms of being done you have:

    Trespass – an offence against the land owner
    By-law – such as the ones mentioned above. Generally a fine for carrying out an activity which has been prohibited.
    Environmental damage – damage to sensitive sites either ecological such as SSSI (site of special scientific interest) or archaeological such as scheduled ancient monumnents.
    Disturbance – it is an offence to disturb certain species, most commonly be birds during the nesting season.

    I’ve not heard of any mountain bikers being done. Even with illegal MX riding and off roading prosecutions tend to be for road road traffic rather than environmental reasons.

    Mr Agreeable … because after riding a footpath you can bugger off back to London, to your rented flat

    not SO agreeable then ? Or are you only agreeable with people who do what you want ?

    I AM qualified to observe that bikes cause about the same amount of environmental damage as boots.
    That might be true for where you ride.

    I cannot observe where I don’t ride…

    That would be the right to exploit the land agriculturally which you mentioned above?

    good point, but why do they have to be so destructive? This isn’t a cheery lumberjack with an axe, it’s heavy plant which chews up the trails into massive ruts and leaves behind a blasted wasteland of shattered branches 🙁 But in any case, clearfelling doesn’t exactly respect the environment…

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