Cycling on footpaths

micksimm
Posts: 19
Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 4:44pm

Cycling on footpaths

Postby micksimm » 25 Aug 2016, 5:26pm

I was recently berated by a rambler who told me that CTC (or CUK)'s policy was to campaign for use by bikes of all footpaths. Surely not? So I checked and yes, it's policy. Is anybody else aware of this? I don't remember any discussion or publicity in "Cycle".

Labrat
Posts: 168
Joined: 3 Mar 2014, 11:58am

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Labrat » 25 Aug 2016, 6:52pm

Its not quite that is it?

http://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/ ... s5ebrf.pdf


edit - PS, its not a new policy, see also this extensive discussion from two years ago:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=85109

Mark1978
Posts: 4912
Joined: 17 Jul 2012, 8:47am
Location: Chester-le-Street, County Durham

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Mark1978 » 21 Sep 2016, 12:39pm

micksimm wrote:I was recently berated by a rambler who told me that CTC (or CUK)'s policy was to campaign for use by bikes of all footpaths. Surely not? So I checked and yes, it's policy. Is anybody else aware of this? I don't remember any discussion or publicity in "Cycle".


I'm sure this is what you mean but before you have any discussion of this type it's important to note the difference in that 'footpath' here does not refer to a footway, i.e. what you would normally call the 'pavement' at the side of the road. But a pedestrian right of way across open land.

iviehoff
Posts: 2411
Joined: 20 Jan 2009, 4:38pm

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby iviehoff » 21 Sep 2016, 1:25pm

Mark1978 wrote:
micksimm wrote:I was recently berated by a rambler who told me that CTC (or CUK)'s policy was to campaign for use by bikes of all footpaths. Surely not? So I checked and yes, it's policy. Is anybody else aware of this? I don't remember any discussion or publicity in "Cycle".

I'm sure this is what you mean but before you have any discussion of this type it's important to note the difference in that 'footpath' here does not refer to a footway, i.e. what you would normally call the 'pavement' at the side of the road. But a pedestrian right of way across open land.

Given it was a rambler, I imagine the understanding of footpath was clear.

But it is evident that the CTC policy document is much more nuanced than that. They are not asking for a blanket right to use footpaths, they are asking to be permitted to use suitable footpaths when it does not cause too much of a problem to the pedestrians. This is just sensible. The present distinction that cyclists and pedestrians share bridleways, purely on the basis of the history of those rights of way, and without regard to the development of usage and surface, is a substitute for thinking.

Flinders
Posts: 3010
Joined: 10 Mar 2009, 6:47pm

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Flinders » 21 Sep 2016, 7:25pm

Many bridleways are far too muddy or rough for bikes, even for horses- just as many have gates that can't be opened if you are on a horse.
:(
So good luck using bikes on mere footpaths.

Adam S
Posts: 606
Joined: 15 Nov 2012, 8:53pm

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Adam S » 21 Sep 2016, 7:53pm

iviehoff wrote:The present distinction that cyclists and pedestrians share bridleways, purely on the basis of the history of those rights of way, and without regard to the development of usage and surface, is a substitute for thinking.

Cyclists share bridleways purely on the basis of legislation. That legislation was a welcome substitute for the previous situation - cyclists being unable to use almost any path without being trespassers. Many thousands of miles of paths were instantly opened up to cyclists. Councils can already choose to upgrade individual footpaths to cycle tracks or bridleways if they wish. Most either do not wish or have far bigger priorities. A systematic case-by-case review of all public rights of way based on suitable usage is not a realistic prospect.

Labrat
Posts: 168
Joined: 3 Mar 2014, 11:58am

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Labrat » 22 Sep 2016, 11:06pm

Adam S wrote:Councils can already choose to upgrade individual footpaths to cycle tracks or bridleways if they wish. Most either do not wish or have far bigger priorities. A systematic case-by-case review of all public rights of way based on suitable usage is not a realistic prospect.


I agree, it is also clear that the likelihood of a blanket extension of cycle rights to footpaths is also unrealistic, and years spent campaigning/discussing this by the cycling community have been wasted.

There is a strong argument that members of the public should be allowed to apply for creation/upgrades where this would be to the benefit of a significant section of the community (rather than leaving the process of doing this to the LA under S26) instead of restricting it to applications based on historic use or prescription (eg. 20 years use) in the same way that landowners can apply for downgrades

I also believe that the immediate campaigns need to focus on small incremental increases, such as access to tracks and paths on CROW land, as discussed here: http://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/davidmurr ... ountryside

Adam S
Posts: 606
Joined: 15 Nov 2012, 8:53pm

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Adam S » 23 Sep 2016, 10:41am

We mostly agree. I was defending the decision to allow cyclists to use bridleways.
The extension of access land to cyclists is much more realistic than a blanket extension of cycle rights to footpaths. A huge proportion of the footpaths cyclists actually want to ride are in these areas.
The idea of allowing the public to apply is a good one but if it would still cost the council in compensation they might be just as unlikely to create/upgrade the ways as under the present system. I worry that it could also result in a flood of wishful applications further burdening rights of way staff who are already years behind with DMMO applications.

Labrat
Posts: 168
Joined: 3 Mar 2014, 11:58am

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Labrat » 23 Sep 2016, 12:38pm

Agree, I suspect from recent discussions I have had that if riders raise funding for particular upgrades (crowdfunding, events etc) and turn up and throw £5-10 k on the table to pay for a couple of upgrades, most councils will bite their hands off

Compensation is repeatedly put out there as a block, but for an upgrade is often fairly nominal (the loss of value attributable to added distubance of horses and bikes over existing caused walkers on a FP being pretty minor, unlike creating an entirely new right of way, this may well be further offset if it was demonstrated through strava records that the route was already in regular use by cyclists anyway)

pwa
Posts: 9616
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby pwa » 23 Sep 2016, 1:43pm

I'd not want to see cycling rights on every Public Footpath. But if that is not what is being sought, it is something we don't have to discuss. There are two Public Footpaths around here that could be designated as Bridleways with no problems. They are farm tracks, surfaced with compacted stone chippings. You have no right to drive your car along them but you can walk them because they are Public Footpaths. Neither of the two examples I am thinking of pass through farmyards. And both exit onto pleasant lanes at each end.

Labrat
Posts: 168
Joined: 3 Mar 2014, 11:58am

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Labrat » 23 Sep 2016, 1:57pm

pwa wrote:I'd not want to see cycling rights on every Public Footpath. But if that is not what is being sought, it is something we don't have to discuss.


Unfortunately I think that we (cyclists as a group) have been far from clear on this, and for many years our own rhetoric very much reinforced this idea. Having been 'behind the scenes' on some of this stuff I have also witnessed that if we even mention footpaths in passing it is like throwing a bucket of petrol onto the fire, because both the opposition and our own protagonists assume that is what we are saying even if we don't. That says to me that we have to either clearly and specifically state that is not what we are calling for when we mention access, and (or?) change the debate entirely and talk about access land as above

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 16840
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Vorpal » 23 Sep 2016, 2:16pm

Cycling on footpaths is legal in many places, including Sweden and Norway. Of course there are some places where cycling isn't suitable, and for the most part, cyclists just don't use them. Where it is a problem (usually due to high volumes of pedestrians and/or cyclists), they ban it in those specific locations. Also, although cyclists can ride on footpaths, outside of populated areas, this falls under the right of access laws, which require that users leave the land as they found it. Cycling in ecologically sensitive areas can be very damaging, and cyclists have been prosecuted for this.

Personally, I am in favour of general open access. Failing that, I think it would be better to generally allow cyclists to go where pedestrians do, and only limit access for cyclists when there is a demonstrable problem (conflict, risk of ecological damage, etc.)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Labrat
Posts: 168
Joined: 3 Mar 2014, 11:58am

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Labrat » 23 Sep 2016, 3:20pm

Vorpal wrote:Cycling on footpaths is legal in many places, including Sweden and Norway. Of course there are some places where cycling isn't suitable, and for the most part, cyclists just don't use them. Where it is a problem (usually due to high volumes of pedestrians and/or cyclists), they ban it in those specific locations. Also, although cyclists can ride on footpaths, outside of populated areas, this falls under the right of access laws, which require that users leave the land as they found it. Cycling in ecologically sensitive areas can be very damaging, and cyclists have been prosecuted for this.

Personally, I am in favour of general open access. Failing that, I think it would be better to generally allow cyclists to go where pedestrians do, and only limit access for cyclists when there is a demonstrable problem (conflict, risk of ecological damage, etc.)


I don't necessarily disagree entirely with the points you make

However, politically, footpaths is an argument that we have not, cannot and will not win in anything approaching the short to medium term, and I believe that perpetuating the discussion/argument significantly damages our cause as it both significantly fuels opposition and drowns out the discussion of incremental and more politically acceptable increases in access that we can achieve in a more realistic timescale.

We need to change the debate and concentrate on them instead.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 16840
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Cycling on footpaths

Postby Vorpal » 23 Sep 2016, 5:41pm

Labrat wrote:I don't necessarily disagree entirely with the points you make

However, politically, footpaths is an argument that we have not, cannot and will not win in anything approaching the short to medium term, and I believe that perpetuating the discussion/argument significantly damages our cause as it both significantly fuels opposition and drowns out the discussion of incremental and more politically acceptable increases in access that we can achieve in a more realistic timescale.

We need to change the debate and concentrate on them instead.

Fair enough.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom