Public Footpaths - cycling?

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thirdcrank
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Jul 2020, 10:00pm

Dictionaries don't come into this.

It was decided that a pedal cycle is a vehicle in the case of Ellis v Nott Bower (1895)

viewtopic.php?p=34561#p34561

It's interesting to note who posted on that old thread from 2007.

It's irrelevant to the Highways Act offence, however, which bans carriages on certain footpaths.

Here's something I prepared earlier about pedal cycles being carriages

viewtopic.php?p=319380#p319380

There's plenty more on here about the law on cycling on footways compared with footpaths.

I think there's a reason why the Highways Act provision was enacted. Incidentally, I don't know if it was a new provision or just a re-enactment of earlier laws. Rights of way developed by use. So, if a route was regularly used for crossing land on foot it eventually became a footpath and so on. By far the greater part of the use of all rights-of-way was utilitarian. There were few if any ramblers. When pavements were laid alongside urban roads to make things better for "passengers on foot" they were often attractive to other road users who could have acquired a right to use them through regular use. It's not possible to acquire a right to commit a criminal offence so that was the obvious way to reserve pavements for pedestrians.

lbomaak2
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby lbomaak2 » 19 Jul 2020, 10:02pm

Since lockdown, I have encountered many people cycling on the footpaths where I walk or run in the countryside near my home. Without exception, the ones I have met have been careful and considerate, so I have not so much as given them a glare. Quite a few of them have been families with young children.

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Mick F
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby Mick F » 20 Jul 2020, 8:07am

Good morning guys!

If cycling on a public footpath is tolerated and not strictly illegal, then all footpaths may as well all be a bridleways.

What's the point of having a difference?
Mick F. Cornwall

thirdcrank
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Jul 2020, 8:18am

It's historic and not easy to change. If the bicycle had preceded the Industrial Revolution, which is obviously technically impossible, and had been the standard way of agricultural labourers getting to work, then I'm confident that cycling on footpaths would have been the norm.

Another thing about those bygone days is that there were no dogwalkers in the form that we are familiar with today.

philvantwo
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby philvantwo » 20 Jul 2020, 8:27am

Went to The Summerhouse yesterday afternoon with the Mrs for a couple of pints, went on the mountain bikes as it's too far to walk. Nice ride over the fields, some footpaths, some bridleways, never had a problem and we passed quite a few walkers!
Rode over there loads of times with our Springer spaniel, had a job keeping up with him sometimes! But sadly he's too old now.
Bit hot for taking a dog out yesterday anyway Mick F.

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Mick F
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby Mick F » 20 Jul 2020, 9:43am

thirdcrank wrote:It's historic and not easy to change. If the bicycle had preceded the Industrial Revolution, which is obviously technically impossible, and had been the standard way of agricultural labourers getting to work, then I'm confident that cycling on footpaths would have been the norm.

Another thing about those bygone days is that there were no dogwalkers in the form that we are familiar with today.
All very true I'm sure.

Our latest dog does NOT like roads and traffic, so I'm finding that I'm walking on footpaths hereabouts that I very much knew existed, but never walked on before. I think I've done them all now and some are very narrow and not suitable for cycling or even pushing a barrow.

Over the border in English Devon, there are mile upon mile of tracks and paths all open to cyclists and walkers alike. All over Blanchdown Woods and Morwell Woods. Tamar Trails.
http://www.tamartrails.co.uk

I reckon that some cyclists feel that because they can ride all over the woodlands over the other side of the river and are encouraged to do so, they can do the same here ............. even though these are Public Footpaths (and labelled as such) and not "trails".
I sympathise in a way I suppose as there's not much in the way of physical difference.

Maybe I'm too old-fashioned and the day of the Public Footpath and rules about them are now out-dated and pointless.
Doesn't stop me complaining though! :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

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mjr
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby mjr » 20 Jul 2020, 11:47am

Well, no. When has being slightly wrong ever stopped a dog walker complaining about cyclists? ;)
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

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Mick F
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby Mick F » 20 Jul 2020, 12:20pm

:lol: :lol:
I never complain about cyclists.

It's riding bikes on public footpaths, and footpaths in general, that gets up my nose.
Mick F. Cornwall

pedals2slowly
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby pedals2slowly » 20 Jul 2020, 2:43pm

Since lockdown I've been cycling along a lot of public footpaths, private drives, private tracks, bridleways and river banks and I've discovered miles of peaceful byways (in the non-legal sense) I've never explored before.
Without fail the people I've met (and chatted to as everyone seemed to want to natter) have been accepting, and some encouraging of cycling on footpaths, even some landowners.
There are bound to be some clash points if there are too may dog walkers/cyclists and there are bound to be idiots of both sorts.

Think of it in the road context - if everybody behaved sensibly there would be no problem.

I look forward to when a much greater % of 'rights of way' are opened up to cycles, already underway in Scotland and Wales.

In the meantime just be sensible MJR, try and have a chat with the cyclists you meet and slip in the comment about passing walkers with care, it'll save on the blood pressure tablets

Pete Owens
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby Pete Owens » 20 Jul 2020, 4:44pm

Mick F wrote:Good morning guys!

If cycling on a public footpath is tolerated and not strictly illegal, then all footpaths may as well all be a bridleways.

What's the point of having a difference?


You need to understand these things in terms of "rights of way" - which is all they are - rather than "paths" which may or may not exist and may or may not be suitable for pedestrians or cyclists.

The existence of public footpath grants you as a pedestrian the right to pass along it, whatever the landowner might want, but no more than that. There is no responsibility on the landowner to maintain the path - just not to actively obstruct it. Indeed there may be no path at all just a route across the fields - though there must be means to cross fences and walls on foot. This could legitimately be a stile or kissing gate or a cattle grid - which would obstruct passage of horses.

A bridleway gives greater rights - this means horse riders also have a right of passage which means that any fences or walls need to be provided with gates big enough for a horse to pass through.

There are other rights of way that give different rights such as allowing you to drive animals or carriages and so on. The thing is none of these rights are exclusive. Just because you are there by right you cannot expect the landowner to exclude others that you would prefer not to share with - though the landowner could choose to exclude all users other than those with a specific right.

thirdcrank
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Jul 2020, 5:16pm

Over the years I've devoted quite a bit of time to explaining my interpretation of this bit of the law. I've now realised I might just as well have gone and shouted down Queensbury Tunnel.

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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 20 Jul 2020, 5:22pm

Mick F wrote:Good morning guys!

If cycling on a public footpath is tolerated and not strictly illegal, then all footpaths may as well all be a bridleways.

What's the point of having a difference?

I agree. Our four-fold classification of non-highway rights of way: footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic -- is frequently not fit for purpose. It needs simplification and in many cases reclassification.

lbomaak2
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby lbomaak2 » 20 Jul 2020, 7:00pm

Mick F wrote::lol: :lol:
I never complain about cyclists.

It's riding bikes on public footpaths, and footpaths in general, that gets up my nose.


It upsets me when people cycle on public footpaths after wet weather, so that they churn up the mud. Or if they don't slow down when passing on a narrow path. But both of these are things they could do on a bridleway, where they have a legal right to be.

On the other hand, I am tolerant of people doing activities that may not be strictly legal, if they are hurting no-one and doing no damage. [So I would be hopeless as a lawyer. :) ]

pete75
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby pete75 » 20 Jul 2020, 7:05pm

Pete Owens wrote:
Mick F wrote:I read it that it is illegal ................. to ride on any footpath ............ or causeway by the side of the road.

Highlighted the bit you seem to have missed.


Yes and that's why some footpaths away from roads have "No Cycling" signs to make it illegal to cycle on them. It's not illegal to ride on any such path which is not signed.

Pete Owens
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Re: Public Footpaths - cycling?

Postby Pete Owens » 21 Jul 2020, 2:00am

Bmblbzzz wrote:I agree. Our four-fold classification of non-highway rights of way: footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic -- is frequently not fit for purpose. It needs simplification and in many cases reclassification.

First off - all those things are examples of highways.
And the system has been fairly recently simplified - there used to be a lot more obscure categories.
We now have:
Rights of way for pedestrians.
Rights of way for the above + horses and cycles.
Rights of way for the above + non-motorised vehicles (this one was introduced because of abuse of inappropriate rights of way by 4x4 drivers)
Rights of way for the above + motors.
I'm not sure what simplification you would want to achieve.