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  1. #1
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    UK bridleways and footpaths.

    UK folk. What gives with this? You can ride a bike on a bridleway, but you can't on a footpath. No problem with this. But I was told that you are not allowed to walk with your bike on a footpath, and if you want to take a bike on a footpath, you have to carry it?

    Another person, said ride on the footpath, it's generally OK. As I understand the law, a footpath is just that. You are not allowed to ride a bike or a horse on a footpath. Maybe that jerk was just a chancer. I can see some really nice rides in a forest near where I live, but a number of bridleways are punctuated by footpaths. Anyone got a clearer (factual) explanation for me.

    Thanks.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  2. #2
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bokkie
    UK folk. What gives with this? You can ride a bike on a bridleway, but you can't on a footpath. No problem with this. But I was told that you are not allowed to walk with your bike on a footpath, and if you want to take a bike on a footpath, you have to carry it?

    Another person, said ride on the footpath, it's generally OK. As I understand the law, a footpath is just that. You are not allowed to ride a bike or a horse on a footpath. Maybe that jerk was just a chancer. I can see some really nice rides in a forest near where I live, but a number of bridleways are punctuated by footpaths. Anyone got a clearer (factual) explanation for me.

    Thanks.
    Okay - for a start the following only applies to England & Wales, Scotland has it's own law (maybe Chewa can advise?).

    Secondly my law degree was sometime ago and things may have changed (I don't know the intricacies of the Criminal Justice Act of a few years back, other than it did make trespass a criminal action in very limited circumstances).

    Basically though you have a legal right of way on bridleways with a bicycle due to act of parliament, not under common law.

    You don't have legal right of way on footpaths with a bicycle.

    Riding on a public footpath is generally a civil matter not a criminal matter - i.e. you won't be prosecuted but you could be sued if you don't have the landowners permission - it counts as trespass. Of course if you damage crops etc. then it becomes criminal damage.

    Technically walking a bicycle on a public footpath is still trespass, because a bike isn't classed as something that would normally accompany a person, carrying it may be a way of avoiding this issue, but as far as I know it's not been tested in a court of law.

    In reality if you avoid riding on public footpaths, and get off and walk the bike you're unlikely to upset anyone. I wouldn't recommend riding on footpaths because it damages fragile relations with walkers.

    In addition to bridleways you may have a right of way on other lanes and byways - your local council should have a rights of way officer who could advice.

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  3. #3
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rich. It is much clearer now.

    But does that mean the footpath is the property of the landowner and is granted by decent permission only? Something which could be taken away without notice?

    I also see some footpaths that skirt around and sometimes through farms. Are they clearly marked in all cases?

    What is, or who is Latakiahaze - the slow moving commuter?
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  4. #4
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bokkie
    Thanks, Rich. It is much clearer now.

    But does that mean the footpath is the property of the landowner and is granted by decent permission only? Something which could be taken away without notice?
    The physical footpath belongs to the landowner but generally the right of way is fixed for all, providing it appears on the county definitive map (there are some exceptions !)
    Originally posted by Bokkie

    I also see some footpaths that skirt around and sometimes through farms. Are they clearly marked in all cases?
    Frequently they're completely unmarked, and difficult to spot on the ground. Some landowners even remove signs...
    Originally posted by Bokkie

    What is, or who is Latakiahaze - the slow moving commuter?
    An old username
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  5. #5
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    In reality if you avoid riding on public footpaths, and get off and walk the bike you're unlikely to upset anyone. I wouldn't recommend riding on footpaths because it damages fragile relations with walkers.
    How fragile are those relationships?

    You might recall that particularly nasty character in Uckfield, called Nick van Hoogstraaten (who would ever take on a name that means Nick of the High Street?) and who has just been convicted of manslaughter where he apparently arranged a 'hit' on a rival businessmen? He vehemently opposed ramblers insisting on their legal right (if I recall correctly) to walk across his land. He used a riding crop on some, threatened others with a loaded shotgun, and he already has a conviction for throwing a hand grenade throw a window and is implicated in a house fire that killed 5 people or so in Brighton.

    If he is the norm, then anyone else on a footpath will surely be saintly in comparison?

    Coming back to my point though, I know walkers are passionate about protecting the footpaths they use and are very opposed to any being upgraded, but have you personally ever had any problems yourself?
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  6. #6
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bokkie


    How fragile are those relationships?

    Coming back to my point though, I know walkers are passionate about protecting the footpaths they use and are very opposed to any being upgraded, but have you personally ever had any problems yourself?
    I don't ride on footpaths, so haven't personally had problems on footpaths but I have been asked what I was doing on a bridleway...
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  7. #7
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    but I have been asked what I was doing on a bridleway...
    Was that an official enquiry? Or was it something you were asked by someone who does not understand the regulations concerning rights of way? What answer do you give, that establishes your rights to use the bridleway without causing offense or upsetting the other person too much?

    Another things comes to mind. I hear a lot about RUPP (roads used as public paths?). What on earth are those that a footpath and bridleway are not? I'm probably being very silly, but are not all roads public paths in a way? Can't see what is it about a RUPP that needs a special name.

    While I'm on a roll. What about BOATs (Byways Open to All Traffic)? Are these not just roads by another name?

    I guess all of this takes a bit of explaining as if I did not have enough on my plate grasping the differences between Freeride, XC, DH, BMX, CycloCross, Hucking, Hits, Titanium-this, Scandium-that, piss-pots, Super-D-Nitrate-Neon-Glowing-Particle-Accelerating-Xenon-Filled-Front-Shock. Aaaaaargh!
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  8. #8
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Bokkie - try:

    http://www.highwayman.demon.co.uk

    (when it's back up)

    or

    http://www.countryside.gov.uk/access/accesspage03.htm

    for the Government view.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  9. #9
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rich. The Countryside Agency links explain what I'm after.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

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