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 Post subject: Cycling on footpaths
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:01 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:12 pm
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Location: Leeds
Being a keen off road driving enthusiast who has got back into the mountain bike due to the constant removal of what few legal green lanes (non tarmaced routes with legal right to drive on BOAT) i've stated stuudying my maps for good circular routes in the Dales and NYM only to find that tere are also bugger all bridleways out there (Natural England stats for ROW's show 78% footpaths and only 17% bridleways and I'm not even going to mention BOATS because it's zilch), any way being a bit sad I've done some digging on various legal definitions regarding access on a bike and this seems to be the common answer

"Cyclists have no right to cycle on footpaths away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence. Cyclists can ride on bridleways, but not on countryside footpaths. To do so is a civil tort, ie not a criminal matter, the landowner has to sue the transgressor for damages (of which there’s likely to be none)."

So it would appear it's not against the law to ride on a footpath but the land owner could take you to civil court and try to prosecute you for trespass.

Any contrary info appreciated.
Matthew


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:42 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:32 pm
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Location: Southport, UK Member No:411
I have always chosen to ignore the silly rules around empty footpaths.

If challenged, I would ask if they were also complaining about all the mindless drivers who seem to have started parking their cars half on the pavement, and half on the road - clearly blocking pavements illegally where the probability of pedestrians is significantly higher!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:19 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:10 am
Posts: 4756
Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
If footpaths don't get used the farmers will just plough them in, so better to cycle on them than not - IMHO...

...having said that, when I lived in North Norfolk the farmers were very good at reinstating the footpaths after ploughing and seeding; and never complained about me riding on them 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:03 am 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:45 pm
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only the land owner or its agent can ask you not to ride on a footpath . they can ask you to leave and yes , they could sue you for tresspass , and the damages work out at about £0.20 a mile .

they cant call the police unless you refuse to leave their land .

common sense is best , I mainly ride footpath but not at busy times .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:18 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:28 am
Posts: 1057
Location: Near Gatwick
I go greenlaning[in an old lightweight land rover] but have to go quite a way form my house to get to the nearest lanes. I started riding a push bike a year ago and every afternoon I go round the block on the road and feel hard done by if I haven't managed a few miles back on bridelpaths and footpaths. I have repeatedly been told by horse riders, "bridelpaths are not roads, blah blah" and get off them! People out walking on footpaths say hello, lovely day and that sort of thing, not heard a winge which surprised me as I thought they winged a lot. Well that's my exp' of the bobbled hatted brigade from a land rover, still maybe it helps I sometimes wear a bobble hat while riding;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Cycling on footpaths
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:39 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:25 pm
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Matthews wrote:
So it would appear it's not against the law to ride on a footpath but the land owner could take you to civil court and try to prosecute you for trespass


assuming that he's able to catch you first...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:55 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Location: Moomin Valley
I ride on bicycles, not footpaths. Much easier.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:04 pm
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Location: West Sussex
I'm spoilt down as I'm right on the South Coast cycle route. This is great as walkers/dogs/cyclists/horse riders can all use the paths and everyone seems to get on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:01 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Moomin Valley
MADJEZ wrote:
I'm spoilt down as I'm right on the South Coast cycle route. This is great as walkers/dogs/cyclists/horse riders can all use the paths and everyone seems to get on.


And a damn nice route that is too!


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 Post subject: Re: Cycling on footpaths
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:45 am 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:22 pm
Posts: 7305
Location: Hove
Matthews wrote:
"Cyclists have no right to cycle on footpaths away from the road but only commit an offence where local by-laws or traffic regulation orders create such an offence. Cyclists can ride on bridleways, but not on countryside footpaths. To do so is a civil tort, ie not a criminal matter, the landowner has to sue the transgressor for damages (of which there’s likely to be none)."
So it would appear it's not against the law to ride on a footpath but the land owner could take you to civil court and try to prosecute you for trespass.

This is correct, and very few such prosecutions are made, not least because most landowners don't really care about the cost of path maintenance where it is dealt with by the local authority. So it would only be publicly-owned land where the owner had an incentive, and local authorities haven't got the resources to take legal action over such minor matters.

However cycling on footpaths does have a downside, in that the ideal would be for suitable paths to be reclassified as bridleways but that isn't going to happen if all that the local authority hears is complaints from walkers about cyclists ignoring the rights of way. No cyclist ever seems to say that they have asked the local authority to reclassify a path, so the local authorities tend to view cycling on footpaths as the action of a small minority of hooligans.

Nobody ever mentions their local access forum, which are established to press local authorities to make improvements to rights of way. Nobody ever says they have organised a petition within their local mtb club. Nobody ever says they have approached the British Horse Society to see whether there is any common interest in reclassifying a particular path. Walkers and equestrians are very good at banding together to protect their interests. By comparison, mountain bikers are a dosorganised rabble, so it's no wonder that their interests don't get protected. The CTC takes a lot of subscriptions from mountain bikers, but as far as I can see it does little to protect their interests, and just about nothing about rights of way.


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