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  • Is there any case history of cyclists being prosecuted for riding on a footpath
  • Premier Icon edward2000
    Free Member

    As per the title, im just interested to know if there is any history of a cyclist being prosecuted on riding on a footpath. I don’t mean the pavement next to the road, I mean a footpath as opposed to a bridleway as seen on an OS map

    Premier Icon nbt
    Full Member

    It would be a private prosecution as it isn’t a criminal matter unless there’s a specific by-law in place (as there is in the Peak District)

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    As above, if you mean a “rural” type footpath, its civil trespass, not a criminal act. Been touted on here that no one has been sued for it either, the landowner has to prove some sort of loss, I believe.

    Edited when I read your post properly

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    If you mean normal roadside pavement/footways, then lots of people get ticketed. Usually for Rule 1 as much as the actual offence, from the one guy I worked with who got done.

    Prosecution I believe/understand only occurs if you don’t pay the on the spot fine.
    Then it gets complex as under 18’s can’t be made to pay on the spot and can’t be held without a parent or guardian.

    Not really looked into this but that was what was being said when they tried to give PSCO’s the power to fine kids for riding on the pavement. Passed through the commons no problem but was stopped by the Lords… (and I’d always thought they were useless)

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    Bylaws are where there potentially will be something, MOD usually have them for their land and other area’s have them as well

    I imagine some retired barrister with a footpath in his backgarden may have done something but finding out about it will be hard unless you work in the legal profession

    Premier Icon towzer
    Free Member

    If there is a tro (traffic regulation order, by local council) prohibiting cycling or a local byelaw that would make it a criminal offence.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    the landowner has to prove some sort of loss, I believe.

    That, or can sue simply to get an injunction against you doing it again. I can’t imagine many circumstances in which that would happen. Obviously, if you are asked to leave, and fail to do so, then the landowner I suppose could get police involved, but you’d have to be telling the police you won’t leave before the actual criminal offence of aggravated trespass becomes relevant, and you are far more likely to be committing separate public order offences at that point.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Even the late simonfbarnes of this parish who was famously dismissive of anything so parochial as rights of way legislation never managed to get done for riding on footpaths, in spite of regularly leading Bogtrotters rides of sometimes 20+ riders on all manner of trails in the Lake District (and posting photographic evidence of it all).

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Even the late simonfbarnes of this parish who was famously dismissive of anything so parochial as rights of way legislation never managed to get done for riding on footpaths, in spite of regularly leading Bogtrotters rides of sometimes 20+ riders on all manner of trails in the Lake District (and posting photographic evidence of it all).

    I’d like to see much, much more of this sort of behaviour.

    Premier Icon r8jimbob88
    Free Member

    Nope, never known of anyone have more than an angry walker shout at them.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    I know this isn’t what the OP was talking about but since it’s been mentioned:

    If you mean normal roadside pavement/footways, then lots of people get ticketed. Usually for Rule 1 as much as the actual offence, from the one guy I worked with who got done.

    I was under the impression now that, for a long time, the guidance from the ACPO has been to “use discretion” rather than just blanket fine people for pavement riding. https://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/support-for-police-discretion-when-responding-to-people-cycling-on-the-pavement
    I actually do it all the time, when I consider it genuinely safer i.e. avoiding busy road/junction/roundabout etc. Rarely see a PC/PCSO these days tbh and never been stopped but I’d definitely mention this if that happened! If the pavement had people on it I’d probably wait or hop onto the road briefly so I don’t think I could ever be accused of pavement riding in an unsafe way.

    Premier Icon edward2000
    Free Member

    Interesting responses so far. I’ve just made an FOI request of this nature just now. Will post the response.

    Premier Icon Blackflag
    Full Member

    Yes, I believe Alan Parker made a film about it called Midnight Express. You have been warned.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    I’ve just made an FOI request of this nature just now.

    To whom? Who would hold information of that detail about civil matters?

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Waits impatiently for Bez…

    I don’t think landowners (in theory at least) have to prove you’ve damaged anything (to accuse you of trespass), just that you’re on their private land and it’s private and you should therefore get off. I think the complexity comes from that fact that a footpath is obviously a public space, so you’re not really on their private land. You’re just crossing it. next up is the fact that you’d have to prove that riding a bike is “against the public good” (or some such legal term) In theory it says that “in a public space a member of the public can do anything that a reasonable member of the public can expect to do” and riding a bike is obviously something that you could expect to classed as reasonable behavior on or in a public space

    The “passing through” argument has been tested in court (3 times I think, one involving protesting) and in each case as been found in favour of the member of public rather than the landowner.

    There’s a reason that no-ones been prosecuted, it’s because it’s not at all clear that a jury would find in favour of the landowner, and any judgement would become precedent…

    Premier Icon edward2000
    Free Member

    FOI made to the CPS

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Free Member

    I think this shows that while our access laws are bit flawed in practice they actually work pretty well most of the time. Yes you can’t ride on a footpath, but if you do nothing will happen, other than maybe get shouted at by a grumpy rambler. It gives quite a nice hierarchy and most riders temper their riding to suit the rules. Trail centre > bridleway > footpath > cheeky. I’d still prefer open access but I’m pretty happy with what we have.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    FOI made to the CPS

    Asking specifically about trespass, which is a civil matter, and outside its remit? Or something else?

    I can confidently predict that the number of cyclists prosecuted for trespass has been pretty steady at zero for the past few years.

    Premier Icon edward2000
    Free Member

    Well let’s see what they say, no harm in asking

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Full Member

    Nope, never known of anyone have more than an angry walker shout at them.

    Rather OT because we were on a bridleway at the time, but last autumn we had an angry farmer come charging up a farm track towards us after we’d gone around a field boundary on said BW. She shouted that we weren’t on the right of way. I pointed out that we were as close to the BW as possible, and if we’d strayed off it, maybe she should make the BW clearer. I also added that she could do nothing whatsoever if we had strayed a few metres off it, so why the shouting. She got angrier, accused me of being very rude and told us that the police were waiting at the bottom of the lane. We rode away laughing at her. (Partly because one of our guys had pocketfuls of mushrooms collected in the fields just over the ridge, and we were heading to another of our guy’s houses before we got to the end of the lane for beer. There were no police. It was an enjoyable day. 😀 )

    I’ve found that when people start making a fuss, it’s when they don’t know their ROWs.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    I was under the impression now that, for a long time, the guidance from the ACPO has been to “use discretion” rather than just blanket fine people for pavement riding.

    It’s all weird … there was the time the transport Minister said people should if they feel safer and a near instant response from some police body saying “we will prosecute if you do”.

    As usual I suppose it is who you are not what rule you are breaking

    But Johnson’s official spokesman said the mayor was “unaware that he was apparently in contravention of the Road and Traffic Act”.

    Oh, so that’s OK..I mean where could he possibly find a legal opinion at the time?
    Oh, wait sat on his bike with him….

    Premier Icon lucky7500
    Full Member

    There almost certainly is a long case history. However, you will need to read some legal textbooks covering the correct areas of law to find out.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I was under the impression now that, for a long time, the guidance from the ACPO has been to “use discretion” rather than just blanket fine people for pavement riding.

    Hence you only actually get done if you break Rule 1 and ride on the pavement like a dick, the point I obviously failed to get across very well.

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    From the CyclingUK link above ^^

    A user only has lawful authority whilst actually passing along the right of way, or doing something directly associated with passing such as stopping to consult a map.

    I like this. It means that stopping for a chat on a footpath is exactly as illegal as riding a bike on one. That is to say, not illegal.

    The test of ‘reasonableness’ is interesting too. Would a ‘reasonable’ person think it OK to ride a bike on a footpath? The ‘reasonable person’ is ill-defined in law but it doesn’t mean a consensus or average person. It just means a person who is reasonable could come to the conclusion that <cycling on a footpath> was OK. I consider myself to be reasonable, I consider most of you lot* to be reasonable too, and I’m sure others ride on footpaths. By this rationale, I’m sure I can find any number of ‘reasonable’ people that would attest that footpath-riding is OK.

    * Obvious exceptions may apply!

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    The test of ‘reasonableness’ is interesting too. Would a ‘reasonable’ person think it OK to ride a bike on a footpath?

    If this ever does get to a court I think the crux will be how the person was riding. I think we can imagine what a jury would consider reasonable.

    I have something to get off my chest. I was sure shocked by this. I was googling rights of way. Did you know we have the right to ride on a bridleway but must give way to horses and pedestrians?

    Of course I’m careful around pedestrians. But when you come up behind some one you can let them know. But you can’t actually give way can you. I’m assuming it’s narrow

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    paton
    Free Member
    https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/campaigns-guide/cycling-on-footpath-trespass

    I do love a link Paton’s found on Google that doesn’t answer the question.

    Premier Icon AdamT
    Full Member

    Omg. Paton’s link shows the following offence. I think that would catch a few of us out!?

    “Road Traffic Act 1988, S30(1): Riding cycle whilst unfit”

    Premier Icon ThePinkster
    Full Member

    I’m just wondering how many here tick the box ‘riding cycle while unfit’?
    I’m certainly fitter than I used to be but what’s their measure? 😉

    Premier Icon ThePinkster
    Full Member

    😂 @AdamT – great minds…

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    Did you know we have the right to ride on a bridleway but must give way to horses and pedestrians?

    Yes because they tend to remind you of it if particularly snotty. Most however are fine if you are not hooning down a trail like you have a right to barge everyone out of the way.

    Be nice, say hi

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I was sure shocked by this. I was googling rights of way. Did you know we have the right to ride on a bridleway but must give way to horses and pedestrians?

    I’m shocked you would be shocked by this

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I’m shocked you would be shocked by this

    I’m shocked that you’d be shocked that they’d be shocked.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Its obvious that cyclists give way to pedestrians and horses. common sense and politeness

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    Its obvious that cyclists give way to pedestrians and horses. common sense and politeness

    As I say I’ve never not given way. But I’ve certainly heard cyclists who were outraged that pedestrians didn’t get out of there way.

    Premier Icon cloggy
    Full Member

    We are johnny come lately on Bridleways, not included in the original post war legislation. We were allowed on through the 1968 Wildlife and Countryside Act section 30 with the proviso that we do not inconvenience other users, hence giving way and not being allowed test of speed events.
    The surface of any road or PROW is invested in the Local Authority not the landowner thus damaging crops is not illegal if one is on the correct line. If there is no clear line on the ground and one can’t see the exit ‘The route is where the user deems it to be’.
    If a footpath is dual status but unsealed ie if it is also an ORPA then it is legal up to horse and carriage and also for mechanically propelled vehicles used to reach property or land adjacent to the route. However it will not show as such on OS mapping.
    Furthermore there has never been case law for pushing bicycles. Say I was walking my bike in a pedestrian precinct. That’s fine as I’m walking thus a pedestrian, just as someone pushing a pram would be. Footpaths are for pedestrians so surely as I’m one whilst pushing my bike I’m legal. Never been tested and won’t be as a case would be prohibitively expensive.
    Lastly there is currently no law of trespass. Boris was rather keen on one until he was recently found to have trespassed whilst camping with Carrie. However if illegal usage has damaged the footpath then a criminal damage case could be brought by the council. But one man’s wear is another man’s damage. For such a case to stick one would have to damage the substrate.

    Premier Icon mattkkitch
    Full Member

    I can see why cyclists dont have the right of way over pedestrians and horses but I do think walkers should be made more aware of the possibility of a bike being on a bridleway. In general I think a pedestrian is less aware of when they are on a footpath or bridleway as in terms of ROW it doesn’t really matter to them. This leads to some serious shock from pedestrians when a cyclist comes past when it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Full Member

    As I say I’ve never not given way. But I’ve certainly heard cyclists who were outraged that pedestrians didn’t get out of there way

    Giving way isn’t the same thing as allowing someone else to make your passage impossible – and there are dicks on both sides of that “argument”

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    Just as on the roads, where I would expect car drivers to yield to pedestrians and cyclists, I would always get out of the way of walkers on any footpath or BW – I treat them just the same. I’m not going to risk charging into a group of pedestrians, however much of a ‘right’ I have to be riding there. The one exception to this is dedicated bike trails – walkers should probably expect riders to be there and they may have to get out of the way. However, if we are in favour of bikes on footpaths, it’s pretty shaky logic to deny walkers the right to use bike paths.

    It just comes back to rule #1.

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