Cycle Seahaven has been asked about the rules for cycling on pavements, so we’ve compiled this blog to help answer this question.
Click each heading to view the full text –
You mention cyclists on “pavements” and I assume that you mean footways and footpaths. A footway is a pavement or path running alongside a road over which the public has a right of way on foot only. A footpath is a way over which the public has a right of way on foot only and which is not a footway.
The national legislation that you refer to is section 72 of the Highways Act 1835 (as amended), which reads as follows:
72. Penalty on persons committing nuisances by riding on footpaths, &c.
[…] 1 If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway; or shall tether any horse, ass, mule, swine, or cattle, on any highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered animal to be thereon; […] 2; every person so offending in any of the cases aforesaid shall for each and every such offence forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding [level 2 on the standard scale] 3, over and above the damages occasioned thereby.
1. Words repealed by Statute Law Revision (No. 2) Act 1888 (c. 57), s. 1, Sch. 1
2. Words repealed by Highways Act 1959 (c. 25), Sch. 25 and London Government Act 1963 (c. 33), s. 16(2), Sch. 6 para. 70
3. Words substituted by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1982 (c. 48), ss. 39, 46, Sch. 3
4. Short title “The Highway Act 1835” given by Short Titles Act 1896(c.14) Meaning of “carriage” extended by Local Government Act 1888(c. 41,), s. 85(1) Preamble omitted under authority of Statute Law Revision (No. 2) Act 1890(c. 51)
The case of Coates v Crown Prosecution Service  EWHC 2032 (Admin) includes a helpful application of this section, including the meaning of “carriage”, “drive” and “ride”. It is clear from this case that a bicycle is a “carriage” for the purposes of section 72.
Two offences in section 72 of the 1835 Act, namely driving on the footway and cycling on the footway, are designated as fixed penalty offences for the purposes of section 51 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act
1988 (see Schedule 3 of the 1988 Act). Section 54 of the 1988 Act applies where on any occasion a police constable in uniform has reason to believe that a person he finds is committing or has committed a fixed penalty offence. Subject to the provisions of section 54, the constable may give the person a fixed penalty notice in respect of the offence.
Lewes District Council is not the enforcing authority for section 72. You may want to raise this matter with Sussex Police to discuss their approach to offences under section 72, including the use of fixed penalty notices.
The above wordy response from ESCC is correct. The rules for cycling on footways (by the side of a highway) and footpaths (often across fields or between highways) vary, but generally it is not allowed unless there are signs saying otherwise. There are exceptions, though. The landowner of a footpath may grant cycling permission to an individual or group, and some footways have been converted to ‘shared use’, like Seaford’s promenade. There are many bridleways (where cyclists are allowed to ride) that are not marked as such. An example is the route from the junction of Firle Road and Firle Drive in Seaford to St Andrews Church in Bishopstone Village via Costcutters convenience store.
Whether or not you are allowed to ride on a particular footway or footpath can be confusing. Whatever the designation, younger and less able cyclists will often choose to ride on footways as a matter of safety. Motor vehicles cause terrible damage to others whereas cycles are slower moving and rarely involved in incidents. The current penalty that’s referred to in the above text is currently £30 (as of today, 14th Jan 2015), though children up to the age of 16 cannot be prosecuted for doing so.
Always ride responsibly and with respect for others
This article on Cycling and the Law is quite helpful http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycling-and-the-law/
SUSTRANS, the sustainable transport charity that represents walkers and cyclists has published a code of conduct for cyclists riding on footways designated as Shared Paths:
Cyclists tend to be the fastest movers on shared paths, but the paths aren’t suitable for high speeds so it’s important to keep cycling speed under control. Remember that they are for sharing, not for speeding. If you wish to travel quickly, train for fitness or record personal best times, this is better done on quiet roads.
Following this code of conduct will ensure that everyone can benefit from shared paths:
- Give way to pedestrians and wheelchair users;
- Take care around horse-riders, leaving them plenty of room, especially when approaching from behind;
- Be courteous and patient with pedestrians and other path users who are moving more slowly than you – shared paths are for sharing, not speeding;
- Cycle at a sensible speed and do not use the paths for recording times with challenge apps or for fitness training;
- Slow down when space is limited or if you cannot see clearly ahead;
- Be particularly careful at junctions, bends, entrances onto the path, or any other ‘blind spots’ where people (including children) could appear in front of you without warning;
- Keep to your side of any dividing line;
- Carry a bell and use it,or an audible greeting, to avoid surprising people or horses;
- However,don’t assume people can see or hear you – remember that many people are hard of hearing or visually impaired;
- In dull and dark weather make sure you have lights so you can be seen.
Click HERE to jump to the source of this voluntary code