Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

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

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jan 2013, 1:00pm

Brucey wrote: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.

(My emphasis.)


This is, of course, correct and it's easy to see these legal arguments as theoretical mind games between BOF's in fancy dress. The reason I've highlighted a bit in red is that to get to the point of a case becoming a legal precedent, some real live person has to be nicked and then have their case go up the legal escalator. Even if they are cleared at the magistrates' court, the prosecution can take a case by way of case stated through several appeal stages.

That can cut both ways of course. In the cyclist-walking-across-a-zebra case, the driver was cleared by magistrates of failing to give precedence to a foot passenger and the High Court sent it back to the magistrates telling them they had got the law wrong.

Talking of real live people, I've wondered aloud before on whether the cycling folk hero, "The Telford One" AKA Daniel Cadden would have preferred to be allowed to ride his bike in peace. (And his case never got beyond the Cown Court so it dets no legal precedent.)

It's also easy to see all this as a bit of a joke and lawyers love a bit of humour, but it's usually at somebody else's expense, in more than one sense.

Anybody getting beyond the mythical cattle engine in the Corkery v Carpenter report I've linked several times will know that the defendant was arrested for being drunk in chage of a carriage (viz, to wit, and hereinafter referred to as a bicycle) and while he was in the cell, smashed it up and so he was charged with malicious damage, a felony in those days. The appeal was based on the argument that a bicycle isn't a carriage (even though statute and case law says it is) so his arrest was unlawful. If he was unlawfully arrested, he was entitled to do what damage he liked to the place where he was unlawfully detained. When the case was heard in the King's Bench Division of the High Court, the legal humour was provided by the defence lawyers including the music hall song "Daisy, daisy" in their evidence. The report says that no reference was made to that in in the law reports. I suspect that when the defence team realised they had drwan the short straw in the form of Goddard, LCJ, probably with his black cap at the ready, they decided to leave the jokes out of their submissions. The phrase "short shrift" comes to mind, but I've never heard of a long one. :wink:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/a-c ... 69087.html

(Edit to correct this week's howler. Corrkey v Carpenter was decided by the King's Bench Division :oops: )
Last edited by thirdcrank on 17 Jan 2013, 6:24pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby john_ellison » 17 Jan 2013, 3:35pm

ianr1950 wrote:Is there really a point to this debate.


The point under debate is a hypothetical point - so therefore no, there is no "point"; but then when was there ever a point to any debate of a hypothetical?

It was merely a discussion which I was trying to clarify - if we don't ask questions, we never find anything out. I don't know about you, but I have an equiring mind - I prefer to know, rather than not know.

ianr1950 wrote:To me if I am on the pavement pushing my bike then why should I feel the need to stop?


To me, if I am driving my car in a 30mph zone, why should I feel the need to obey the speed limit? Simple answer is because if I don't and I get caught, I will be punished. I wish to avoid that scenario, so I try to obaey the prevailing regulations.

I was trying to establish the legalities of proceeding past a red light whist pushing a bicycle along the pavement. Should it transpire that it is a requirement to stop at a red light whilst pushing a bicycle along the pavement, then a) I will have learned something; b) I will be able to jump up and down, shouting "Ha! In your face!!!" at my protagonist; and c) In future, I will be able to make an informend decision on how to proceed.

ianr1950 wrote:I am a pedestrian, what red lights are on pavements, I don't know of any where I live but maybe there are some, but does that mean that people who not not pushing anything have to stop as well?


Try reading my original post properly. My question was, "If I am pushing my bicycle along the pavement, and I come to a traffic light which is showing red, am I obliged in law to stop and wait until the lights change to green?"

My OP does not mention pedestrians who are NOT pushing bicycles or other carriages, such as baby buggies, wheelchairs, etc. It appears that you have either misunderstood the original question, or completely lost sight of it.

Thank you everyone for your input. From the intelligent responses that have been posted, it would seem that there is no definitive answer.

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

Postby Mick F » 17 Jan 2013, 3:58pm

john_ellison wrote:........... it would seem that there is no definitive answer.
Which annoys me greatly! :evil:

I'm a "black and white" sort of person, and I reckon that a bike is a vehicle (by definition) and as such should obey vehicular rules, but I'm no expert or lawyer ...... and should/could never be! :D
Mick F. Cornwall

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

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jan 2013, 5:17pm

john_ellison wrote: ..., it would seem that there is no definitive answer. ...


First, thanks for coming back and giving us your views and conclusions. I've been known to get edgy about first time posters with a question which provokes a big discussion but who are never heard of again.

I'm sure you are right that there is often no definitive answer. They say that ignorance of the law is no excuse but if the law were straightforward, some of the brightest people in the land would be signing on. Parliament passes a statute; the lawyers interpret it and it's inevitable that the people with the deepest pockets can get the brightest lawyers who can sometimes convince a higher court that even if black isn't white, most things are a different shade of grey than had previously been accepted.

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

Postby Ellieb » 17 Jan 2013, 5:38pm

The trouble with this thread is that an attempt to 'comply with the law' might lead to a dangerous situation: I am pushing my bike along the pavement. The light is red at a crossroads so I stop. Then the pedestrian light goes green, but that is for pedestrians and doesn't apply to me so I wait until my traffic light goes green. I then walk forward and get taken out by someone driving up behind me and turning left.

I appreciate that this is a hypothetical discussion but I also think that if you take commonsense out of a discussion of this sort someone might end up squished.

Adam S
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Re: Red Lights - Pushing a Cycle and the Law

Postby Adam S » 17 Jan 2013, 5:53pm

Ellieb wrote:The trouble with this thread is that an attempt to 'comply with the law' might lead to a dangerous situation: I am pushing my bike along the pavement. The light is red at a crossroads so I stop. Then the pedestrian light goes green, but that is for pedestrians and doesn't apply to me so I wait until my traffic light goes green. I then walk forward and get taken out by someone driving up behind me and turning left.

I appreciate that this is a hypothetical discussion but I also think that if you take commonsense out of a discussion of this sort someone might end up squished.


I think this thread is concerned with wheeling your bike around signals. I don't think anyone is suggesting that you can't push your bike across pedestrian crossings. The Highway Code rule 79 makes specific allowance for this:
"Do not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing. Dismount and wheel your cycle across"

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

Postby Ellieb » 17 Jan 2013, 6:00pm

From the OP

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.

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

Postby Ellieb » 17 Jan 2013, 6:03pm

Added to which I think the discussion is a little absurd: You have a puncture, you are pushing the bike along the pavement next to the road. The road has a pedestrian crossing. The light goes red. Do you stop on the pavement while people cross the road next to you?

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

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jan 2013, 6:18pm

Ellieb

The discussion pobably is absurd, but you seem to have misunderstood one small part of it. If you are walking and pushing your bike, you are a foot passenger AKA pedestrian. The reasons for that are set out above and were established by decision of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.

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

Postby Ellieb » 17 Jan 2013, 6:25pm

If you are walking and pushing your bike, you are a foot passenger AKA pedestrian. The reasons for that are set out above and were established by decision of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.


Understood that bit TC. I'm just not sure at what part of the discussion leads to there being no definitive answer. I'll have to r-read the thread. :evil:

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

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jan 2013, 6:35pm

The criminal law doesn't really create rights - it imposes prohibitions and duties.

"Which is why in England we can do as we like,
- So long as we do as we're told."

The lack of clarity is over the question of whether somebody pushing a pedal cycle (which is defined by statute as a carriage) is driving it, although, in respect of traffic signs such as traffic lights, the prohibition includes "propelling."

It common sense against the law. The former rarely comes out on top.

(Edited to add "and duties")
Last edited by thirdcrank on 17 Jan 2013, 7:42pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Ellieb » 17 Jan 2013, 6:43pm

If you are walking and pushing your bike, you are a foot passenger AKA pedestrian. The reasons for that are set out above and were established by decision of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.


The lack of clarity is over the question of whether somebody pushing a pedal cycle (which is defined by statute as a carriage) is driving it, although, in respect of traffic signs such as traffic lights, the prohibition includes "propelling."

Hmmm. You've confused me now :(

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

Postby gaz » 17 Jan 2013, 7:01pm

In which case you have a firm grasp of the legal position on the matter.
2020 : To redundancy ... and beyond!

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

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jan 2013, 7:21pm

Ellieb wrote:
If you are walking and pushing your bike, you are a foot passenger AKA pedestrian. The reasons for that are set out above and were established by decision of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.


The lack of clarity is over the question of whether somebody pushing a pedal cycle (which is defined by statute as a carriage) is driving it, although, in respect of traffic signs such as traffic lights, the prohibition includes "propelling."

Hmmm. You've confused me now :(


Sorry, The prohibition imposed by the criminal law is that the drivers of vehcles may not run pedestrians over on a pedestrian crossing, or more accurately a duty to give them precedence. Pedestrians have a right to walk anywhere on a road (unless it's a special road eg motorway, or there is some sort of ban eg traffic regulation order.) On a pedestrian crossing, drivers must give them prededence. The case law quoted decided that somebody on foot pushing a pedal cycle was a foot passenger ie pedestrian. That bit at least seems logical.

One of the prohibitions imposed in respect of footpaths alongside roads, AKA pavements, "the footway" in technical jargon, is that you can't wilfully drive a carriage there. Bearing in mind that this was enacted in 1835 and also says you can't drive cattle there either, it's arguably nothing to do with mirror, signal manoeuvre.

In other words, the Highways Act doesn't confer any rights on pedestrians (the civil law does confer a right of way on foot along a footpath) so somebody on foot doing one of the prohibited things eg wilfully driving cattle, would be breaking the law.

So, I'd suggest one clear bit is that a cyclist pushing their bike is propelling it, in terms of the requirements of specified traffic signs. The bit that might be open to the full wig and gown is whether a cyclist pushing a bike is "driving" it, within the terms of the Highways Act, 1835, rather than the more modern Road Traffic Acts.

Probably as clear as thick mud. :oops:

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

Postby snibgo » 17 Jan 2013, 10:39pm

And, to put thread to needle (if I may borrow or even steal the phrase), my contention on page two was that the 1954 HC authors regarded wheelers of bikes as propellers but not drivers, and hence they considered that we are not prohibited from wheeling our bikes on pavements.

For practical purposes, the outcome of this discussion wouldn't change my behaviour even if someone proved conclusively that wheeling on pavements was prohibited, or that when doing so we must obey traffic lights. True, I do try to follow laws, but if nobody cares even about the existence of a law, I don't bother about it.