Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

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john_ellison
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Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby john_ellison » 16 Jan 2013, 2:27pm

I'm currently engaged in a debate in another (non-CTC) forum regarding the legalities of pushing a bicycle through a red traffic light whilst dismounted.

I maintain that the red light still applies to you even if you are on the footway - i.e., if you are pushing a bicycle or other wheeled conveyance (e.g. wheelchair, baby buggy) along the pavement, you are still required to stop at a red light.

My protagonist maintains that this is incorrect, as when on the pavement you are a pedestrian and therefore not subject to the lights.

Can anyone give us a definitive answer?

snibgo
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby snibgo » 16 Jan 2013, 3:27pm

Red lights apply to "vehicular traffic" (TSRGD s36).

These days, I don't think that pushed buggies or bikes are regarded as "vehicular traffic", but I can't supply a legal reference.

I say "these days", because I think that when I was young (in the 1960s), wheeled bikes were regarded as "vehicular traffic", and hence were technically supposed to obey red lights.

Brucey
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby Brucey » 16 Jan 2013, 3:38pm

for it to be a 'definitive' statement, it will have to be explicit in the relevant regulation, and/or proven in case law.

If either, someone will know.

If neither, no one will.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

kwackers
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby kwackers » 16 Jan 2013, 3:46pm

I'm sure thirdcrank has answered this on a number of occasions...

IMO it's difficult to see how a pedestrian pushing a bicycle can possibly behave as a vehicle particularly if they're not even on the road! (There are no stop lines to wait at for a start...)

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meic
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby meic » 16 Jan 2013, 3:58pm

They write laws from many different perspectives but they havent written one from this, so you have to see how the others apply.
My money is on the ruling given in the famous Zebra crossing case which established that a pedestrian pushing a bike is a pedestrian not a cyclist.

I have been thinking about this on the lines of pushing other vehicles.

I think that I can push my motorcycle along the pavement (if the engine is not running) and would then not be under the control of a traffic light but if I was pushing it on the road I would not take that chance but I would not think I was actually under the control of the traffic light if the engine was not running.

On the other hand I think that the helmet law is written so tightly that I would have my helmet on!
Yma o Hyd

stewartpratt
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby stewartpratt » 16 Jan 2013, 4:04pm

If the red light applied to people walking on the pavement (by "footway" you mean the pavement, I assume?) then surely it would be illegal to walk past a pelican crossing whilst the red light was showing, which would be patently absurd. Have I misunderstood the question?

The usual debate is around whether it's legal to push a bike on the pavement.

kwackers
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby kwackers » 16 Jan 2013, 4:05pm

That's right, it's the zebra crossing case I was thinking of.
Difficult to see how it wouldn't have relevance.

Overall though it'd be absurd to prosecute someone for not obeying traffic lights whilst pushing a bike on a pavement.

john_ellison
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby john_ellison » 16 Jan 2013, 4:09pm

stewartpratt wrote:If the red light applied to people walking on the pavement (by "footway" you mean the pavement, I assume?) then surely it would be illegal to walk past a pelican crossing whilst the red light was showing, which would be patently absurd. Have I misunderstood the question?

The usual debate is around whether it's legal to push a bike on the pavement.


I think that you may have misunderstood.

As a pedestrian, you are not under the control of traffic lights - therefore you can walk past a pelican crossing with the light at red.

What I'm getting at is, if you are on the pavement, pushing your bike (or wheelchair, baby buggy, whatever) then yes you are a pedestrian, but you are in charge of a carriage or conveyance.

All carriages and conveyances are required to stop at a red light - therefore my question is, does this apply if you are on the pavement rather than the roadway?

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meic
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby meic » 16 Jan 2013, 4:11pm

All vehicles are obliged to stop at a white line which is controlled by a traffic light.
Rather than obliged to stop at a red light, there is a difference.
Yma o Hyd

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meic
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby meic » 16 Jan 2013, 4:19pm

I have seen roads where there is a solid white line about two feet from the kerb which is NOT a cycle lane but many are driven to cycle into it.
There is one traffic light junction with a road joining from the right only, the white line for that traffic light does not go into that two foot "not a lane" on the left. I have often wondered if cyclists in that have a legal defence in ignoring the traffic light. They will at all time have a solid white line between themselves and any vehicles involved in the junction.
Similar situations exist intentionally for motor vehicle on busy traffic roundabouts, this one occurred by accident or bad road markings.
Yma o Hyd

stewartpratt
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby stewartpratt » 16 Jan 2013, 4:30pm

I can't imagine how anyone could construe the relevant parts of the Highway Code (175-178) to apply to the pavement: they specifically mention the road.

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Mick F
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby Mick F » 16 Jan 2013, 4:43pm

Not "road".

Highway.

"Highway" has a legal definition, and from what I can remember when this was debated on here before, the pavement is part of the highway.

You cannot push a motorcycle - or any other mechanically propelled vehicle - without a valid licence along the highway.
Mick F. Cornwall

irc
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby irc » 16 Jan 2013, 4:46pm

The meaning of traffic light signals is covered by The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002

36.—(1) The significance of the light signals prescribed by regulations 33, 34 and 35 shall be as follows—
(a)subject to sub-paragraph (b) and, where the red signal is shown at the same time as the green arrow signal, to sub-paragraphs (f) and (g), the red signal shall convey the prohibition that vehicular traffic shall not proceed beyond the stop line;


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002 ... on/36/made

So I believe that passing a traffic light on the footway is not an offence. At least not the offence of failing to comply with a red light. As the paragraph above states it isn't passing the red light that matters, the offence is passing the stop line. There is no stop line on the pavement. The stop line on the road shows that the red light only applies to traffic on the road.

stewartpratt
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby stewartpratt » 16 Jan 2013, 4:53pm

Mick F wrote:Not "road". Highway.


No, "road". The term "highway" doesn't appear in the pertinent text at all. It specifically mentions the road.

thirdcrank
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Jan 2013, 4:55pm

For anybody to be convicted of an offence, it has to be fully proved, in the terms of the legislation.

Failing to comply with specified traffic signs is an offence contrary to s 36 of the Road Traffic Act, 1988. Here's my edited version of the relevant bit:

(1)Where a traffic sign ... has been lawfully placed on or near a road, a person driving or propelling a vehicle who fails to comply with the indication given by the sign is guilty of an offence.

I'll suggest that "propelling" has a some significance in our context.

The whole of s 36 is here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/36

The meaning of a red traffic light is:

the red signal shall convey the prohibition that vehicular traffic shall not proceed beyond the stop line;

Again, that's my edited version, full wording here with all the exceptions for filter signals and emergency service vehicles etc: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002 ... on/36/made

A red traffic light is specified for the purposes of s 36RTA 1988 by :

10.—(1) Section 36 of the 1988 Act shall apply to each of the following signs— ( ... )

(g)the red light signal when displayed by the light signals prescribed by regulation 33 or by regulation 35;


Again, that's edited for clarity, full text here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002 ... on/10/made

As to whether mounting the pavement where there is no STOP line creates a loophole, I would doubt it. The legislation refers to the road, rather than only the carriageway, and I don't think anybody would expect to be able to pass a traffic signal on their wrong side of the road - where they would cross no stop line - and be able to ignore the signal lawfully. It's hard to see that going around the back of a traffic sign is any different.

As to whether this applies to pedal cycles, it was established by Eliis v Nott Bower (1895) that a pedal cycle is a vehicle.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4846#p34561

Note that the word "pedestrian" isn't mentioned anywhere in the linked legislation.

I can't see something like this attracting official attention these days, let alone getting as far as the Queen's Bench Division for a definitive decision, but in the unlikely event that somebody got nicked for it, I'd say their main hope was that the NIP had been overlooked.

This is based on my interpretation of the law, not philosophy or the unalienable rights of cyclists.