Filthy bridleway

drossall
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by drossall »

basingstoke123 wrote: 11 Mar 2024, 7:15pmI was also thinking of footpaths that are separated from the highway, for example, running through as housing estate.
They are different again. I imagine that the land is in some sense public, because there will often be adjacent play areas and open ground for the use of the public. However, such footpaths are not part of any highway, and hence are not governed by the highway law that keeps footways for the exclusive (at least in theory) use of pedestrians. Generally, council byelaws and the like will govern the use of paths in town, away from the road. Typically, councils make byelaws that exclude bikes.

That's why you'll often see a passage between two houses with a "No Cycling" sign. It's running away from a footway where cycling wasn't allowed in the first place. So why a sign on the passage and, more to the point, no sign on the path alongside the road? Because the latter is covered by a generic law applying to all footways (barring various exceptions such as shared use), whereas the former is governed by a specific byelaw for that path, or a group of paths in which that is included.

And cycling on paths that aren't covered by any of these is a trespass against the landowner. That includes on public footpaths, because the right of way is only for pedestrians, and hence doesn't cover you as a cyclist.
Nearholmer
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by Nearholmer »

Whether or not it’s a trespass is itself a tad complicated, I think, because in order to commit a trespass one has to commit a nuisance, which riding a bike may or may not be. From what I understand, there isn’t really clear case law saying whether it is, or under what circumstances it is, a nuisance, which I understand is why some people feel within their rights to do it.

Personally, I don’t know whether it’s within my rights or not, so I don’t do it, because I’ve no interest in having an argument with a landowner and getting all the fun of testing the law in court - that isn’t what I go on bike rides for.

Pushing a bike on a footpath is another thing that I don’t think is firmly sorted as to whether it’s a nuisance, and therefore a trespass, or not, but that I do do, and have only once ever been challenged over. The landowner was polite and mild about it, but suggested I shouldn’t be doing it; I was mild and polite in return, and fortunately no shotguns or lawyers came into play.
drossall
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by drossall »

Well certainly there is no right to ride a bike on a public footpath.

Pushing one, that's definitely a grey area. As I understand it, we have the right to walk, and to do things normally associated with walking, such as stopping and looking at the view. It's not so clear whether we actually have the right to stop for a picnic, push a bike, push a pushchair, and so on. The only way to find out is to have a case go to court and, rather reasonably, no-one involved in any incident has been inclined to take matters that far.
Nearholmer
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by Nearholmer »

And, as if all that wasn’t muddy enough, there are public footpaths where the landowner has explicitly granted permission for people to ride bikes, which is potentially very confusing.

I only realised this because there is one very close to where I live, which I cycle along every time I go to the “corner shop”, and if I go when I often do, I meet the local PCSO cycling the other way. It’s shown on OS maps as a footpath, and at one end has a finger post saying so, but it’s shown as available for cycling on council maps, and it seems that the land belongs to the parks trust, which has granted cycling privileges everywhere except where signposts forbid.
pwa
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by pwa »

Nearholmer wrote: 11 Mar 2024, 10:46pm And, as if all that wasn’t muddy enough, there are public footpaths where the landowner has explicitly granted permission for people to ride bikes, which is potentially very confusing.

I only realised this because there is one very close to where I live, which I cycle along every time I go to the “corner shop”, and if I go when I often do, I meet the local PCSO cycling the other way. It’s shown on OS maps as a footpath, and at one end has a finger post saying so, but it’s shown as available for cycling on council maps, and it seems that the land belongs to the parks trust, which has granted cycling privileges everywhere except where signposts forbid.
So a legally similar situation to publicly owned forestry estates (NR Wales, around here) where cycling and horse riding on any path or track is allowed as default, except where specifically closed for felling or whatever.
Nearholmer
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by Nearholmer »

Seems to be. But, I’m not totally sure legality actually comes into it, because it’s entirely permissive, a privilege not a right.

Cycling on towpaths is the same, so I learned from this forum, having witlessly cycled on them years back, before the need for a permit was removed and a universal permission granted, without a permit, because I didn’t know you needed one!
rareposter
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by rareposter »

drossall wrote: 11 Mar 2024, 10:35pm Well certainly there is no right to ride a bike on a public footpath.
It gets even more complicated than that - footpath (as in, something that crosses private land, not footway or pavement alongside a highway) only means that higher rights (such as cycling / horseriding) aren't recorded, not that they're not allowed.

The general rule is that where a map shows a way as of a particular category of highway it is conclusive of certain public rights of way over it at the relevant date, but that is without prejudice to the existence of higher rights. So, for example, where it shows a footpath that is conclusive of public rights of way on foot, but not that there are not bridleway or carriageway rights.

There have been various Acts over the years, bits and pieces of which supersede previous Acts, bits of which simply clarify or update as mapping and technology have improved, eg:
The Highways Act 1980 (HA 80)
The Rights of Way Act 1990 (RWA 90)
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW 2000)

A mountain bike club I used to ride with occasionally in the Lakes had zero care over the legal definition of a trail on the map, the general principle was if it was rideable it was fair game but they'd exercise a bit of judgement - there were fully legal trails that they'd avoid at certain times (Bank Holiday weekends, terrible weather where erosion would be a significant concern etc) and there were technically illegal trails up on remote fells that they'd ride any time. I've ridden countless hundreds of miles on FPs and very rarely had any issue - no more so than on BWs. Quite routinely you find that the people who do want to complain will do so regardless of the rights and wrongs of where you are, much like drivers will make up bits of the Highway Code to suit themselves while they're having a go about "road tax" or "two abreast".

Interestingly - in the context of the MTB club in question - they made no secret of their rides, routes, attitude to trail designation etc and there was plenty of photographic evidence of their "transgressions" yet it never once resulted in anything more than a couple of verbal complaints from walkers, always of the muttered grumbled "you shouldn't be here" type rather than full on confrontations.. And they'd have complained regardless so ultimately, no-one really cared.
pwa
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by pwa »

AndyK wrote: 10 Mar 2024, 7:57pm
Mykidsdad wrote: 10 Mar 2024, 8:56am Also read a 1995 Hampshire CC report where it was proposed to redesignate the path as a restricted byway. Loved the determination shown by the landowner:

"I have been quietly working to try to stop cyclists from bicycling over the footpath, and at last the Forestry Commission have padlocked their gate. Mr Rathbone has approached the Administration Manager at the Chilworth Research Centre and asked for co-operation to inform their employees that they are not entitled to cycle along the track and this has had a considerable measure of success. I estimate I have reduced the incidents of bicycling from approximately a hundred a day to a hard core of about ten who dispute their right to cycle over the footpath.”

100 a day... Blimey.
Ah, but things moved on after that.

Here's a formal report to the HCC Regulatory Committee in 2013, recommending that the Definitive Map of rights of way be redrawn to show Lordswood Lane as a restricted byway, ratehr than a footpath. It provides a potted history of the path dating back to 1755 to support its conclusion, which (I believe) was accepted by the Committee - and that's why HCC's Definitive Map now shows it as a restricted byway, as do current OS maps. https://www.hants.gov.uk/get-decision-d ... f&type=pdf

Incidentally, when a council does this, it doesn't mean it's decided to "upgrade" the path's status. What it means is that someone (either the council itself or a "claimant") has amassed enough historical evidence to show that it's always been regarded as a byway (or bridleway etc.) over many years, and should have been shown as such on the Definitive Map to start with. Marking it as a footpath was a mistake, so the Definitive Map needs to be corrected.
This reminds me of an amusing case not for from here, near the village of Blackmill, north of Bridgend, where a landowner fenced off a formerly well used track / lane that older folk could remember having used to walk to school. Barbed wire with big dogs roaming loose really meant that nobody was going to just push through. On the maps at the time I think it was down as bridleway. The case dragged on for about ten years, then the courts decided it was in fact a BOAT! So the landowner, by having tried to keep out walkers, horse riders and cyclists, had ended up having to restore the track to be able to take everything up to and including 4x4s! I found that very funny at the time.

If the track discussed here were just a bridleway, I'd be inclined to say that the mud is just something to put up with at this time of year, if the landowner isn't minded to allow upgrading. The law does not require bridleways to be cyclable. But as it is in fact restricted byway, the legal situation may be different. I don't know.

https://www.google.com/maps/@50.9473616 ... ?entry=ttu
This looks like the area concerned.

Maybe this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhby3SjzsZw
Last edited by pwa on 12 Mar 2024, 11:58am, edited 3 times in total.
Psamathe
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by Psamathe »

I've no idea about the site the OP is raising but as a "Science Park" many are moderately recent and one would have hoped that the planning application/permission would have required sensible active travel connections (eg cycle paths). Whilst such paths cannot connect to everywhere one would have hoped that they would connect to enough of a network to make them useful to the majority of site users.

In a general context I worry about those political parties who propose "Planning Reform" as any solution. What they tend to mean is less scrutiny and less local decision making. Inclusion of active travel facilities is poor enough at the moment but less scrutiny and more central decision making (where profit/cost becomes a major consideration) and provision is going to get even worse.

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531colin
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by 531colin »

Where is "Third crank" when we need him?

As far as I am aware, there has never been a case brought against anybody for cycling on a public footpath, or pushing a bicycle. (as opposed to a footway next to a road)
Also, as far as I am aware, it is (assumed to be?) legal to walk on a footpath taking with you stuff which is "normal" for a pedestrian to take with them, including a pram, pushchair, or wheelchair, although there is no requirement for the landowner to provide a gate for access.
pwa
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by pwa »

531colin wrote: 12 Mar 2024, 1:16pm Where is "Third crank" when we need him?

As far as I am aware, there has never been a case brought against anybody for cycling on a public footpath, or pushing a bicycle. (as opposed to a footway next to a road)
Also, as far as I am aware, it is (assumed to be?) legal to walk on a footpath taking with you stuff which is "normal" for a pedestrian to take with them, including a pram, pushchair, or wheelchair, although there is no requirement for the landowner to provide a gate for access.
It used to be widely said that the "normal" things you could take with you on a Public Footpath might include an umbrella or a dog, though I never saw a list of things you couldn't take, by right. It was also often said that you couldn't take a bicycle on a Public Footpath, by right, even if dismounted. But I have no idea where this comes from, or if it is correct. Personally, I have always taken the view that a dismounted cyclist is in fact a pedestrian, so ought to be okay even where cycling is frowned upon.

But the track in this case is a Restricted Byway, so open to cycling.
Jdsk
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by Jdsk »

"Cycling Offences – Cycling on the Pavement and other Pedestrianised Areas":
http://www.cyclelaw.co.uk/cycling-offen ... ised-areas

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TrevA
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by TrevA »

A work colleague of mine got fined for cycling on the pavement on the Nottingham Ring Road, ironically, on the only part of it that is not a shared use pathway - near St Leodigarius Church in Basford, where there is a bridge over the railway. The cycle path ends just before, and throws you back into the main traffic flow of the Ring Road at one of its busiest and most dangerous junctions.
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drossall
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by drossall »

Nearholmer wrote: 11 Mar 2024, 10:46pm And, as if all that wasn’t muddy enough, there are public footpaths where the landowner has explicitly granted permission for people to ride bikes, which is potentially very confusing.
Not far from us, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation has arranged with landowners the Greenway, where cyclists can ride almost a complete loop, substantially on permissive paths. There are many other permissive paths in the area as well - pretty much, around the perimeter of the town, it's safe to assume that, if there is a clear field boundary, you can walk along it. If there's a clear and well-worn track, you can probably cycle on it too.

Other localities will have similar things of course.
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gaz
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Re: Filthy bridleway

Post by gaz »

pwa wrote: 12 Mar 2024, 1:36pm Also, as far as I am aware, it is (assumed to be?) legal to walk on a footpath taking with you stuff which is "normal" for a pedestrian to take with them, including a pram, pushchair, or wheelchair, although there is no requirement for the landowner to provide a gate for access.
The terminology is "usual accompaniments". Whilst, as you say, there is no definitve list of items, such lists as there are agree that a bicycle is not something people usually take with them on a walk.

Similarly a pram holding a baby is a usual accompaniment, whereas one full of bricks that is functionally a wheel barrow is not.
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