Footpath cycling in the real world

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
thornie1543
Posts: 161
Joined: 12 Feb 2015, 6:30pm
Location: Port talbot.
Contact:

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby thornie1543 » 16 Feb 2017, 6:32pm

Is that the afan valley road to glyncorrwg? theres a brilliant cycle path npt 20 yards from there,i was on it today,i'm guessing it cant be that road but it looks like it

sirmy
Posts: 605
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:53am

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby sirmy » 16 Feb 2017, 8:40pm

Haven't successive home secretaries said that riding on a footway, while illegal, should be ignored unless an accident happens or the riding is dangerous or wreckless?

User avatar
RickH
Posts: 5323
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby RickH » 16 Feb 2017, 9:12pm

It can all be a bit of a muddle - some pavements you are allowed to cycle on, others not.

This Google StreetView link shows one that I've sometimes used, legitimately, on the tandem as a convenient way of linking 2 minor lanes while avoiding riding on a fast dual carriageway & I've never seen a pedestrian using it (I note too there appears to be a horse mounting step but I've never seen a horse there either, or evidence that one has been that way! :? ).

Other times there is a cycle path but I use the road, even though it is busy, as the turns where they make you cross the road are too tight to do safely on the tandem (example) &/or the central refuge is too narrow to fit a tandem (example)

In places you sometimes can follow a shared path but when you meet a junction there is no evidence whether or not the shared use simply stops or whether it carries on beyond the junction. One confusing location is here. There is a dual use crossing. I think the intention is just to link the side road (Bedford St) on one side of the crossing & the park entrance on the other as a legitimate shared use cycling route. The signs are at best confusing, if not actually wrongly used.

thirdcrank
Posts: 30833
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Feb 2017, 9:22pm

sirmy wrote:Haven't successive home secretaries said that riding on a footway, while illegal, should be ignored unless an accident happens or the riding is dangerous or wreckless?


I think not.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18748
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby Vorpal » 16 Feb 2017, 9:25pm

I have occasionally used pavements when they joined a couple of similar sections shared use facility. But I honestly seldom use either pavements or shared use facilities in the UK. They tend not to be well-designed for cycling. There are places where they are okay, and a few good facilities, but other than that....?

Mistik-ka wrote:https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.6446906,-3.6935357,3a,75y,39.08h,77.22t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5YQrsDdhsKiL1rtuNQ-heQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en&authuser=0

Here's my situation: I'm captaining a thoroughly loaded tandem bicycle; our combined team age is 135 years. We can cruise happily on the level at 15mph if there's no wind. Assume, if you will, a speed limit of 30mph or higher, steady traffic in both directions (if you rotate the Google image and look behind, it'll put a bit of power in your pedal stroke :shock: ), and not a pedestrian in sight. (And no alternative cycle-friendly route.)

My inclination is to take to the footpath, pull well to the side or stop for pedestrians, and in the event of confrontation by the constabulary, play the cute-but-ignorant-old-couple-from-Canada card for all it's worth. Do you think this a reasonable tactic?


When I've been inclined to use even shared use facilities (which in theory should be designed for cycling on), I'm pretty much always disappointed. They are bumpy, and narrow, and the greenery often intrudes on them. They seldom go far enough to be worth the bother of getting off the road. Either they peter out, or the footpath goes off across a muddy field, and the footway?shared use along the road stops, or you come to a village and there are driveways crossing it every 5 or 10 metres and....

So no. I just stick to the road. Frankly, I think if you did take the pavement, most places, you'l find it's not really suitable. And drivers are usually pretty good, even if it's busy.

When it comes to the legality, well, you're unlikely to have any problems. Most drivers would probably rather you used the pavement, anyway, and if you're polite to pedestrians, well, you might irritate someone, but nothing worse than that. you can always plead ignorance :lol:
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
ChrisOntLancs
Posts: 527
Joined: 20 Oct 2016, 9:47pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby ChrisOntLancs » 16 Feb 2017, 11:01pm

this certainly isn't gospel but i've been spotted by police loads riding on the pavements and i've never been stopped about it. once in ancoats i apologised to an ossifer and he said it was fine, i was being careful (with the cautious behavior of an adult who is somewhere they shouldn't be)

i think you will be fine with that attitude. sometimes getting on the pavement is the safest and 'right' thing to do and the police have likely seen this to be the case before.

i don't think it's a case of 'not enforced', i think traffic systems are always a work in progress, and going on the pavement for a couple of minutes just makes life easier for a number of people involved :lol:

pwa
Posts: 13884
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby pwa » 17 Feb 2017, 9:59am

ChrisOntLancs wrote:this certainly isn't gospel but i've been spotted by police loads riding on the pavements and i've never been stopped about it. once in ancoats i apologised to an ossifer and he said it was fine, i was being careful (with the cautious behavior of an adult who is somewhere they shouldn't be)

i think you will be fine with that attitude. sometimes getting on the pavement is the safest and 'right' thing to do and the police have likely seen this to be the case before.

i don't think it's a case of 'not enforced', i think traffic systems are always a work in progress, and going on the pavement for a couple of minutes just makes life easier for a number of people involved :lol:


I was stopped by a police officer in Southport in about 1973 for cycling on the pavement. He took my name and address and said he was going to tell my parents. He never did. He was lying.

There is, I think, a widely held view, which I share, that generally speaking footpaths are for walkers and bicycles should not be ridden on them. Exceptions are made for young children but not for adults on a tandem. I'd avoid using the word "never" because I am sure we could come up with exceptional circumstances that might merit a rethink.

thirdcrank
Posts: 30833
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Feb 2017, 10:35am

One of the countless points I've made before was that when David Blunkett introduced fixed penalties for pavement cycling and also made issuing the tickets the original power of his newly created PCSO's, cycling campaigners, including the CTC made a serious tactical error in calling for "discretion" and thereby appearing to condone lawbreaking. Paul Boateng made a bland comment on the subject along the lines that it was expected the police would use discretion which was about as earth-shattering as if he had said trawlers were expected to use nets and that's been built up into an urban myth that they can't touch you for it.

It would have been far better, IMO, had Home Secretary Blunkett been repeatedly pressed to ensure that the police were encouraged to improve conditions for cyclists on the carriageway. Let's not forget that this enforcement policy was introduced in the days of the Notional Cycling Strategy. It might not have made much difference in the long run but we'd have held more of the moral high ground.

User avatar
ChrisOntLancs
Posts: 527
Joined: 20 Oct 2016, 9:47pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby ChrisOntLancs » 17 Feb 2017, 10:51am

haha yes never use absolutes on the internet! @pwa

i do agree with that, it's just not a golden rule for me. i didn't buy a bike to travel at walking speed, i'm not going to go on the pavement unless i have to. i don't even like using shared use paths, but they've been put there for a reason and i might be causing more problems by eschewing them.

i was going off the term "real world" but my official stance on the matter is "absolutely don't do it, but you can probably do it, and you might see me do it"

pwa
Posts: 13884
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby pwa » 17 Feb 2017, 11:46am

Apart from my run-in with the law, aged 12, in Southport, I've not seen the police getting involved in pavement cycling. It is social pressure rather than the police that makes it out of bounds for many of us. It is like spitting in a public place. Some people do it, and nobody confronts them, but most onlookers are irritated and disgusted by it. Cycling on pavements is like that. The cyclist passes people who say say nothing and maybe stand to one side, but that does not mean they find it acceptable. They just think it is not worth confronting the offender.

Having said that, there are some footpaths that are suitable for redesignation as shared use paths. For example, a mile or so of the path alongside the A473 dual carriageway between Pencoed and Coychurch (Bridgend, S Wales) has recently been redesignated as such, and it has had a new smooth surface laid. I would use it now but I would have felt uncomfortable using it when it was officially just a footpath.

User avatar
ChrisOntLancs
Posts: 527
Joined: 20 Oct 2016, 9:47pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby ChrisOntLancs » 17 Feb 2017, 12:02pm

well after balancing the assured inconveniencing of pedestrians with the evident impatience of motorists i'm probably going to carry on as is. safe journies!

it's a bit blunt that. i should have put a face on the end of that. :oops:

Mistik-ka
Posts: 468
Joined: 5 Feb 2012, 10:01pm
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby Mistik-ka » 17 Feb 2017, 7:20pm

Thanks everyone for your range of opinions. I think the overall message boils down to "be sensible".

I had overlooked one aspect of cycling in which Britain (at least outside large population centres) tends to differ from western Canada: bicycles are more common on the roads on your side of the Atlantic, and drivers are a bit more likely to deal rationally and courteously with cyclists. This was our experience on our previous two English tours, but through some quirk of memory (or instinct for self-preservation), we're more inclined to remember the infrequent close passes or blaring horns than the frequent smiles and waves, or the cars, lorries, and coaches lined up patiently behind us on an uphill, curving stretch of road until it was safe to pass.

thirdcrank wrote:How did such a youthful stoker end up with such an ancient skipper? :wink:

I dunno. The usual story, I guess: a moment's indiscretion, a lifetime of regret :wink:
(Mrs. M-k, reading over my shoulder, responded with gales of laughter and a 'big thumbs-up' in your direction :lol: )

Airsporter1st
Posts: 568
Joined: 8 Oct 2016, 3:14pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby Airsporter1st » 19 Feb 2017, 8:42am

I would be surprised to even see a policeman where I cycle, let alone be stopped by one.

Many footpaths are dual use, peds and cyclists, but even where they are not, I still use them where necessary to stay away from traffic if I am concerned about it. I always slow down and even stop, if necessary, where I encounter peds and if I'm coming up from behind will give them a verbal warning so as not to startle them. So far this has worked well for me and I hope it will continue.

sirmy
Posts: 605
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:53am

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby sirmy » 19 Feb 2017, 9:34am

thirdcrank wrote:
sirmy wrote:Haven't successive home secretaries said that riding on a footway, while illegal, should be ignored unless an accident happens or the riding is dangerous or wreckless?


I think not.


I think so - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... olice.html

"Mr Goodwill reiterated guidance from 1999, when fixed penalties for cycling on pavements were first introduced, which states that the goal is not to penalise “responsible cyclists”."

thirdcrank
Posts: 30833
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Footpath cycling in the real world

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Feb 2017, 9:59am

But that's not what you said: read your own words that you have quoted back to me.

Blunkett introduced fixed penalties for pavement cycling - his only possible purpose being to facilitate and thereby increase enforcement. When asked in a parliamentary question, his junior Paul Boateng made the comment about police discretion and that was embroidered by some who should have known better. AFAIK, no subsequent Home Secretary has commented and certainly not successive home secretaries. A junior transport minister with cycling responsibilities reiterated Boateng's original words.

In particular no minister has ever been reliably reported to have said "while illegal, should be ignored unless an accident happens or the riding is dangerous or wreckless? (sic)"

The only practical importance of this is that people come to believe that "they can't touch you for it" when they can and sometimes do. We have had people post on here who have received tickets and have been advised to defend them on the basis of this distortion. The OP was looking for advice on the matter and I for one would not want him to be given unreliable legal advice.
==========================================
PS The term "urban myth" comes to mind.