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  1. #1
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    Riding on the pavement in the UK

    I know riding on the pavement has been covered in the Advocacy and Safety section but laws and societal norms differ from country to country. I'm interested in people's views on riding on the pavement.

    I ride almost entirely on the country lanes, cycle network paths and cycle routes through parks and parkland. I also ride on the road at the beginning and end of rides to access my house, or on the odd trip into town for groceries, etc. There are a couple of main roads in my area which are just too risky - I wouldn't want to drive a car down them let alone put myself in the middle of the action on my 23lb folder, so I either take a side street and head in my direction of travel on a road running parallel, or nip down the pavement if it is clear. There are a couple of extremely hectic and chaotic roads where it is not unusual to see cars driving down the pavement, making illegal U-turns, double parking, ignoring bus lanes, reversing into one way streets. You name it, if it's stupid and dangerous then it's happening here. (For those in the know I'm talking about Melton Rd in Leicester - a place where red traffic lights are seen as optional or decorative). My actions are illegal but the police don't mind in the slightest - even had a conversation with one of them about my bike recently when I passed on the pavement. I never go quickly, no more than 7mph and ring my bell to alert people of my presence. Incidentally there are a great many cyclists in the area and virtually none use the road, I am unusual in mostly being law abiding. Stand outside the police station and you'll see 20 an hour ride past on the pavement.

    Back to me, in total probably 5 - 10% of my cycling time is spent on the pavement but the fact is that I do it and technically I am breaking the law. Am I wrong? Is the law inflexible?

    What say you?
    Last edited by Chessbored; 07-05-08 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #2
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chessbored View Post
    I know riding on the pavement has been covered in the Advocacy and Safety section but laws and societal norms differ from country to country. I'm interested in people's views on riding on the pavement.

    I ride almost entirely on the country lanes, cycle network paths and cycle routes through parks and parkland. I also ride on the road at the beginning and end of rides to access my house, or on the odd trip into town for groceries, etc. There are a couple of main roads in my area which are just too risky - I wouldn't want to drive a car down them let alone put myself in the middle of the action on my 23lb folder, so I either take a side street and head in my direction of travel on a road running parallel, or nip down the pavement if it is clear. There are a couple of extremely hectic and chaotic roads where it is not unusual to see cars driving down the pavement, making illegal U-turns, double parking, ignoring bus lanes, reversing into one way streets. You name it, if it's stupid and dangerous then it's happening here. (For those in the know I'm talking about Melton Rd in Leicester - a place where red traffic lights are seen as optional or decorative). My actions are illegal but the police don't mind in the slightest - even had a conversation with one of them about my bike recently when I passed on the pavement. I never go quickly, no more than 7mph and ring my bell to alert people of my presence. Incidentally there are a great many cyclists in the area and virtually none use the road, I am unusual in mostly being law abiding. Stand outside the police station and you'll see 20 an hour ride past on the pavement.

    Back to me, in total probably 5 - 10% of my cycling time is spent on the pavement but the fact is that I do it and technically I am breaking the law. Am I wrong? Is the law inflexible?

    What say you?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member twiggy_D's Avatar
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    The law is pretty hardset in regards to what you should and shouldn't do.
    BUT

    Its generally not in the public interest to prosecute cyclists taking quick nips across the pavement, I've been a passenger driving through Leicester, that was scary enough. I can't imagine how bad it'd be on a bike.

    I think you'd get less sympathy riding through the middle of a shopping centre, not that it stops the "yoofs"

  4. #4
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    I had a one of those fake police community officers try and tell me off for cycling on the pavement in london. I had just veered off the road because a bag went over my shoe and pedal and would have likely been disasterous had I needed to unclip so I just told her to pretty much stuff it and carried on..

    I know it's rude but i obviously had a reason for being there.

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    This is an old thread, but anyway: I think it varies a lot between different police men. Some police stop their car and have a right go at people for riding on a totally empty pavement, and I've known people to be fined, and other times you can just ride past some cops and they wouldn't bat an eyelid. Like other things, it depends who you meet and how angry they are.

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    Please don't ride on the pavement.

    I work on the A4, west London. There was an accident last week. A cyclist was riding legally on the bike path that is marked on the foot path. A van came out of one of the the businesses at speed, and struck and killed the cyclist. I don't know the details, but if he hit him hard, he would have flown out onto the A4, so it may not have even been the first collision that killed him.

    Drivers do not expect a vehicle travelling at cycle speeds to be on the foot path, possibly moving in the opposite direction to the traffic. When you are riding on the footpath, you are actually in more danger at most intersections.

    [2 caveats: 1) I have to travel a short way on the A4. I use the footpath/bike lane. At the crossings, I travel slowly and assume every car is going to turn in front of me. 2) Being on the roadway would not necessarily be any safer: a week before the above accident and less than 200 metres away was another - probably fatal - accident, where a mini-cab right turned across the path of a motor scooter. A cyclist would have been equally badly off on the footpath or road]

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    Riding on pavements in the UK

    I don't see why we can't have the system they use in lots of parts of France. Where I spend the summer, outside town and village centres one path is for pedestrians, the opposte side of the road is for cyclists. Where I live here there's hardly anyone ever walking on the pavements whilst the apology for a cycle lane has cars parked on it and is far too narrow for safety. It's got so bad I've had to stop commuting by bike as it's too dangerous. If the government want more people to cycle, they must address this problem properly and not fob cyclists off with totally useless, dangerous "cycle lanes".

    One thing that's essential though is for cyclists to have a bell on their bike and use it. When I'm walking the dog along the local canal towpath, I get totally fed up with the number of cyclists who ride up cose behind with no warning for us to move out of their way. That's what a bell is for. To warn people that you're coming up behind. I use mine - it's a matter of courtesy - so why don't other cyclists? And don't tell me it scares people of makes them jump. Never seen it happen.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mint-sauce's Avatar
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    i think the marked path on the pavement is an absolute waste of time, currently live in ireland, but brought up in london, commuted in london, and still go back a few times a year, both here and in london often see pedestians walking through and along the marked cycle path as if it wasn't there, i often ignore these marked paths and cycle on the road instead

  9. #9
    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mint-sauce View Post
    i think the marked path on the pavement is an absolute waste of time, currently live in ireland, but brought up in london, commuted in london, and still go back a few times a year, both here and in london often see pedestians walking through and along the marked cycle path as if it wasn't there, i often ignore these marked paths and cycle on the road instead
    They're usually full of glass outside of London and to be honest, you're safer on the road and in the mix with the traffic than with pedestrians. Just my £0.02.
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  10. #10
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    Never seen marked paths on pavements for cyclists, either here on in France. As for thinking a juggernaut hammering down the road too close to is somehow less of a threat than dodging a pedestrian or a bit of broken glass - know which I prefer. The fact is that cyclists need to treat pedestrians with respect and they might get some in return. Too many are as ill-mannered as the car drivers they complain about. Sorry but seen to much of bad manners on all sides.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Matt Gaunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbreen View Post
    Never seen marked paths on pavements for cyclists, either here on in France. As for thinking a juggernaut hammering down the road too close to is somehow less of a threat than dodging a pedestrian or a bit of broken glass - know which I prefer. The fact is that cyclists need to treat pedestrians with respect and they might get some in return. Too many are as ill-mannered as the car drivers they complain about. Sorry but seen to much of bad manners on all sides.
    Fair.
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  12. #12
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    Hi

    I am both cyclist and motorist, and I do not think its a good idea to cycle on paths, at normal cycle speeds. I think cyclists should think more about safety. I am encouraging my daughter to cycle and I am looking to fit a flag on a pole to increase visibility, she wears a high vis vest too.
    Altho it would scare me if she went on busy roads, but I am ok.

    G

  13. #13
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    i think it depends where you are; if your in a bisy town centre cycling like a mad man on the path dodging pedestrians thats a big no no. but, if your on a bisy main 'A' road with no houses on it and you think your be safer cycling on the pavement because the traffic is realy bad at certon points [i don't mean slow traffic] then you have a case if the cops pull you over
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    Riding on pavements is dangerous.Lol........

  15. #15
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    An old thread but as a serving UK officer who is into bike safety, I'll give you some info on the subject.

    As stated it is illegal to cycle on the pavement, but a few years ago, Paul Boeteng sent a letter to the Home Office to clarify it. Basically if the roads to dangerous to cycle on, or you don't have the confidence to ride on the road, then you can ride on the pavement, but only if you do so in a safe manner, and don't send pedestrians flying everywhere!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-st...mn-400076.html

  16. #16
    Vegetable Rights! Surfindixon's Avatar
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    I think there's a time and a place for riding on the pavement.

    If a cyclist is on it he/she mustr always give way to the peds. It's the Netherland way of thinking i.e. The ped is 1st, cyclist 2nd (and, even on the road, the car is where it should be, 3rd).

    I have no problems cycling on the pavement for three reasons:

    1. After four years of commuting I'm sick and fed up with the stress of busy town\city traffic and all the poor driving 'standards' on show there. I used to think it was my right as a cyclist to take my place on these roads but after standing and watching the traffic at Glasgow Cross during rush hour one day I had an epiphany. Drivers have no patience for each other so who am I kidding myself that they're even going to have any sort of consideration for a lowly cyclist.

    2. Driving standards are at an all time low. What standards are the Driving 'Standards' Agency and the UK cops trying to uphold exactly? We now have idiots driving two ton planet killers with one hand with the other holding a phone to their ear whilst not paying the blindest bit of attention to what's going on around them. I see mobi phone law broken more than any other but nobody seems to get prosecuted for it. Also, the lack of patience exhibited by drivers is the root cause of every accident on the roads in the UK. Of this I am convinced. The pavement is a a mecca of safety when you take all this into consideration. It has it's own hazards (peds (obviously), driveways, car doors) but.....

    3. The majority of pavements are EMPTY. Every pavement outside a main street, high street, city centre is bereft of people. All the lazy idiots are in their cars for goodness sake!!! Nobody walks anywhere now. The urban\suburban pavement is now ours.

    There's a time and a place to be on the road and I am fully confident on it but I just don't need or want the grief or hassle of ludicrously impatient drivers any more. Likewise there's a time and a place to be on a pavement and if one is on a pavement when peds are about there's a way to conduct oneself as a cyclist. In two years of taking the 'Peds first on the pavement' approach I have only ever been hassled twice and I would say that one of those was my fault. Peds first, cyclists second. Give way to a ped and they'll respect you for it.

    If you are selective about your pavement of choice for your daily commute, you WILL have a safer journey.
    Last edited by Surfindixon; 03-06-10 at 04:21 PM.

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    Glad I'm not the only one!

    Thanks to both MikeH2000 and Surfindixon for their comments and good sense. Perhaps we all should write to Paul Boeteng and the rest of the MP's and candidates in advance of the the coming election to ask that Paul Boateng's letter be acted upon?

    Surfindixon is quite right - pavements ouside city/shoping centres are empty! Why should we cyclsists be denied use of facilities pedestrians obviously don't want and put in danger? Let's stop accepting excuses and start demanding the right to cycle safely. Remember the mass trespass that got walkers rights of access to land? We need a mass trespass of our empty pavements - perhaps this will drive (no pun intended) the message home.

    Time to get writing folks!

  18. #18
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    There's definitely a time and a place for it, illegal as it may be. On hills I'm slow. At turning right major junctions, I hold up traffic if it's on a hill. There's one junction like this on my way home, and I imply get onto the footpath, cross at the lights, go up the tunnel. and get onto the road again at the next set of lights. Trust me, it's MUCH safer than trying to get to the right hand lane approaching the junction, where the choice is to switch lanes late (dangerous and difficult here), or switch lanes ealrly (which can piss some drivers off). Then, if I'm on the road approaching the junction, I'm holding traffic up turning right with me. It's a bloody steep hill start. Footpath in this case is VASTLY the safer/better option. The whole junction/road ain't bike friendly.
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    Cycling on pavements

    Paul Boeteng sent a letter to the Home Office to clarify it. Basically if the roads to dangerous to cycle on, or you don't have the confidence to ride on the road, then you can ride on the pavement, but only if you do so in a safe manner, and don't send pedestrians flying everywhere!
    Time to remind the newbie government about this. Our roads have got even busier with heavy traffic and our pavements are even emptier. With cutbacks coming there'll be no money for more cycle lanes (if they were any good in the first place), so this is the time to get the law changed.

    BTW - when they put in the "cycle lane" down the main road here, at the junction of every minor road with the main road, they erected a cycle lane sign! So there are dozens of them cluttering up the streets at the junctions and causing visibility problems - and at huge cost. The cycle lane has a bike sign painted on it. surely this is enough. Local councils waste millions of our council tax and we see no real benefit.

    Definitely time to get writing.

  20. #20
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    There is a time and place for it. Having had three close shaves with pedestrians walking into the bike lane almost on top of me today, sometimes the sidewalk is safer. One dumb-*** was walking up the road in the bike lane, with his back to the bikes. Utterly oblivious it was a marked bike lane, with bikes swerving around him to get past.

    As are the morons who walk into the bike lane looking away from oncoming traffic. It's not always moving bikes that are dangerous, it's moving peds. Grr!
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  21. #21
    Free Velo Vol! Velo Vol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chessbored View Post
    I'm interested in people's views on riding on the pavement.
    I'd much rather ride on the pavement than ride on the grass.

  22. #22
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    Unless yer arse is glued to the saddle there's no excuse. If for whatever reason i can't cycle on the road I get onto the pavement, get off the bike and walk. Pavements are for pedestrians.

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    Pavements are for pedestrians. I agree

  24. #24
    Senior Member Russcoles11's Avatar
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    If I want to get somewhere fast I ride on the road. If I'm on less of a hurry and there is a cycle path on the pavement I might use it and cycle slower as pedestrians are unpredictable. In a busy pedestrian area where cycling is allowed I will cycle extremely slowly as I take up less room on the bike than off. I do not cycle on normal pavements or any area where cycling isn't allowed.
    There is a cycle path in Bristol where there is a zebra crossing at one point, I even dismount for this even though it means cars have to wait longer for me and I have never seen anyone else do this. Very poor design of a bike route IMHO.

    Why is it that pedestrians are more likely to walk on the cycle half of any segregated pathway? Is there some psychological reason for this? They then expect you to ride over the raised line and use the pedestrian lane to get round them.

    My best example of unpredicatable behaviour of pedestrians was a couple walking up a ramp of a bridge, I was going slowly and the guy noticed me coming up behind so I aimed for his side thinking he would move over. He grabbed his wife who hadn't seen me and pulled her to his side to make room for me resulting in my having to crash into the railings to avoid hitting her. The guy got hit with a handbag

  25. #25
    Senior Member RookieRoadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godders View Post
    Unless yer arse is glued to the saddle there's no excuse. If for whatever reason i can't cycle on the road I get onto the pavement, get off the bike and walk. Pavements are for pedestrians.
    +1
    If you really feel that you must use the pavement, then you should be cycling at a speed from which you can stop pretty much instantly, in the event of an unexpected move by a pedestrian etc. Basically, if you're going faster than the pedestrians using the pavement, you probably shouldn't be on it. This makes it impractical for those of us trying to get anywhere within a reasonable amount of time.
    Distinctly mediocre.

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